Singapore law change improves developer transparency

Photo: HenryLeongHimWoh

In April 2013, the Singapore parliament approved amendments to the Housing Developers (Control and Licensing) Act to improve and update legislative safeguards for buyers of uncompleted private residential properties. From this week, the changes begin to be enforced, as Singapore strives to improve safeguards and provide more information to buyers.

The legislation has been worked on by the Ministry of National Development (MND), including the implementation of a new set of rules on show units, the Housing Developers (Show Unit) Rules.

The legislative amendments, which were finalised through a series of consultations with members of the public and industry stakeholders, enhance market transparency by providing the public with more comprehensive and timelier information on the private residential property market, allowing them to make better-informed purchasing decisions.

As of Monday 25th May, housing developers must submit detailed transaction information to the Controller of Housing every week. This information will include sales volumes and transacted prices of individual units in their building projects, and the value of any benefits extended to buyers.

Developers will be required to submit this information to the Controller within five days of the end of each preceding week. This information will be published on the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) website weekly from 5th June 2015.

The Option to Purchase and Sale & Purchase Agreement, which are standard forms prescribed under the Housing Developers Rules, will also be amended to enhance the safeguards for purchasers of private residential properties. For example, developers must indicate the value of any benefits offered to buyers.

The amendments to both forms will take effect on 20th July 2015. This is to provide developers sufficient time to comply with the amendments.

MND is also introducing the Housing Developers (Show Unit) Rules to ensure that all show units provided by developers are accurate depictions of housing units offered for sale.

For example, one rule requires the floor area of the show unit to be the same as that of the actual housing unit. Another rule requires all external and structural walls to be built in the actual unit to be depicted in the show unit.

These rules will also take effect on 20th July to provide developers sufficient time to comply with the new requirements.