Since same-sex marriage is illegal in Singapore, gay couples must either purchase flats in the private or resale (HDB) markets or wait until they are 35 years of age when they become eligible to buy new HDB flats under the Joint Singles Scheme (see below). Two housing schemes are open to you. But that was only on condition that they waited and rented till they were 35. Although this demographic has seen positive gains as of late, in both marriage rights and employment equality, there is still a long way for them to go to achieve the same equality that those who only have opposite sex attractions face. The majority of the residential housing developments in Singapore are publicly governed and developed, and home to approximately 78.7% of the resident population. The Housing and Development Board (HDB) used to justify its discriminatory policy towards singles (both gay and straight) by stating that land was scarce in Singapore and there was a high demand for flats. In the past, while there was no restriction to 2 unrelated persons buying private property in joint names, they could not utilise their CPF savings in the purchase. In 2008, the number of singles in Singapore was 918,700. The situation was much easier for, say, a straight, married 27-year old Singaporean couple. To give yourself more peace of mind, you can propose to remove the phrase on improper activities while negotiating your tenancy agreement. Singapore as a city state does not exactly resemble a concrete jungle at all unlike other cities. Ending the Relationship. After the easing of the home ownership policy, some 3,007 LGBT and other singles bought resale HDB flats between October 1991 and January 1993. There is also no income ceiling unless one applies for a housing grant from the Central Provident Fund (CPF) or a HDB loan. When she’s not dreaming of cheesecake, she can be found in the dance studio, working on craft projects, or curled up with a good book. Thanks to an archaic little law known as 377A, sex between men is technically illegal; other queer sexual activities may easily be judged ‘improper’ as well. This is useful for a nation that lies on the equator, as the trees and shrubbery help in reducing the heat, albeit slightly. Room near: Singapore North, Singapore Central, Singapore Central Singapore, Singapore North-East & Singapore South West. While the age requirements were relaxed, the revised policy also tightened one other eligibility criterion to ensure that only Singaporean singles from age groups with low marriage rates benefited from the scheme. So 35 is absurdly far away for you, but you don’t have the dough for a private property (who does?). Education Minister Ong Ye Kung has also weighed in on the issue, stressing that there is no discrimination against the LGBTQ community "at work, housing (and) education" in Singapore… Gay couples could also take advantage of the scheme. Thankfully for the LGBT community, most, but not all, Singapore landlords would not ask questions about their sexual orientation. LGBT flat buyers could also get the same loan when they finally qualify to buy a flat, that is, up to 90% via a HDB loan. The Board's priority was to house families so only married couples who would likely produce children should be entitled to subsidised public housing. Resale HDB flats aren’t tied to restrictions on flat size, location, or income ceiling, so your budget’s the only limit. Some people write off Singapore as staid. The scheme was implemented soon after then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong announced in his inaugural National Day Rally speech in 1991 that the government was looking into reviewing the housing policy to help singles own or rent HDB flats. As long as you’re a first-time homeowner with a monthly household income of below S$9,000 (JSS) or S$4,500 (SSCS), you’ll be eligible for the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant. For instance, under laws related to buying or owning a property in Singapore, same-sex couples are considered two private individuals (rather than a family nucleus), even if you got married overseas in a country that recognises such marriages. A 2013 rule change allowed singles to buy BTO flats for the first time, and income ceiling criteria for grants have been raised progressively over the years. From August 2001, singles could buy resale HDB flats located in any area in Singapore, and from September 2004 onwards, they were allowed to buy resale HDB flats of any size, including executive flats and maisonettes. The two grants were replaced by the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) in September 2019. There is a growing and increasingly open LGBT community in Singapore. The Housing and Development Board (HDB) used to justify its discriminatory policy towards singles (both gay and straight) by stating that land was scarce in Singapore and there was a high demand for flats. Housing Options For Those Above 35: HDB BTO Flat Photo courtesy of Muhd Asyraaf on Unsplash. There are LGBT nightclubs, bars, and a yearly gay pride event called Pink Dot. The small city-state is much more than its reputation for cleanliness, safety and predictability. The rules of the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme were further revised and relaxed over the years. Single rooms in a non-central area can start from as low as S$600 per month, while a three-room non-central flat might hover around a very pocket-friendly S$2,000. This requires that your average gross monthly household income be S$7,000 and below. HONG KONG: Hong Kong's high court ruled Wednesday (Mar 4) that married same-sex couples should be allowed to apply for public housing after a government ban was found to be unconstitutional. I find the living situation untenable. A landmark regulatory change was made in October 1991 when the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme was introduced to allow single Singaporeans aged 35 years and above to purchase resale HDB flats. On 19th July 2005, Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development made an announcement in Parliament in his Ministerial Statement on Policy Changes Affecting The Property Market which had a direct effect on gay and lesbian couples. As most of the housing needs of families had been met by 1991, the Government acknowledged the fact that some Singaporeans chose not to marry and would prefer to live on their own. Property experts felt that with the number of LGBT and other singles growing in tandem with the rest of the population, it was important that housing policies ensured that this group continued to be catered to. Besides a Facebook group for LGBTQ-friendly property listings (Singapore LGBTQ Property Listing – Buy, Sell and Rent), he’s also the brains behind Prident – an LGBTQ+ collective producing content on financial matters like property, investment, and insurance. Between six- to ten-years of age, resale ECs may not be significantly more pricey than new ECs; past their tenth year, they appreciate sharply since they can now be sold to foreigners in addition to Singaporeans and PRs. Ready to chase down your home sweet home, somewhere over the rainbow? For private properties and bank loans, individuals could only borrow up to 75% of the valuation or price (whichever was lower). Non-related singles would henceforth be allowed to use their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings to jointly purchase private residential property. Prior to this, non-related parties were not allowed to use their CPF savings jointly in the purchase of private properties. No laws exist specifically protecting LGBT Singaporeans from discrimination in the workplace, housing or any other relevant areas. The scheme was a revision and renaming of the Senior Citizens Scheme. Singapore’s public housing makes up about 80% of all housing, according to the city-state’s department of statistics, and is hailed as a successful model. Saying that it is in Singapore’s DNA to be inclusive, he added: "The fact is they (the LGBTQ community) live in Singapore peacefully, no discrimination at work, housing (and) education. Furthermore, 5% of the domicile must be paid for in cold, hard cash. The most immediately accessible option, renting a room or entire house is the way to go when you don’t have the deep pockets for an EC. SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Buying a house together is a rite of passage for most Singaporean couples, with the question “BTO?” tantamount to a marriage proposal, if not a prelude to one. If you and your partner want to legally own a home together, there’s the Joint Singles Scheme, which allows between two to four singles to jointly own a BTO flat and use their CPFs for payment. In this case, your only bet for property-buying is a resale EC. Driving up prices is the golden combo of high demand plus low number of new launches each year; you can check out HDB’s list of available and upcoming EC projects here. The change was introduced in response to public feedback to lower the minimum age so that more singles could qualify for public housing. In September, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said that when it came to “work, housing [and] education” there is no discrimination against the LGBT community in Singapore. Today, up to 4 applicants may purchase a flat together. Applicants also need not be related or be of the same gender. This free e-book is a goldmine of legal info for LGBTQ+ couples and families on everything from cohabitation contracts to CPF, housing to health insurance. Welcome to Living Abroad, a new series that shows you what expat life is like in cities around the world.Our first interview is with Sarah, an American expat living in Singapore with her husband and 15-year old daughter. What’s more, renting gives you plenty of flexibility to move around, upgrade, or downgrade as you please. However, it should be noted that single applicants have to be at least 35 years of age. They were even given subsidies to do so. Under the new ruling, the age limit for women was lowered from 40 to 35, and for men, it was reduced from 50 to 40. LGBT Rights in Singapore: homosexuality, gay marriage, gay adoption, serving in the military, sexual orientation discrimination protection, changing legal gender, donating blood, age of consent, and more. Another key difference is that CPF family grants are available for ECs – however, note that these grants are not open to singles or joint singles. Participants of Pink Dot, an annual event organized in support of the LGBT community, call for the repeal of Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code, June 29, 2019. There’re a few restrictions to note: you and your partner (if applying jointly) must be Singapore citizens and first-time home buyers. Once you hit 35 years old, you can (finally) partake in the grand Singaporean rite of passage that is applying for a BTO flat. We’re on a never ending quest to discover the best urban culture has to offer, often via the less well-trodden and invariably, more exciting paths. The new scheme stipulated that all applicants had to be Singapore citizens and satisfy the minimum age requirements. Similarly to new EC purchases, you’re on your own when it comes to money matters. LGBT or not, it could be unbearable for many to live at home till 35. The Joint Singles Scheme also included other conditions that were unchanged from the Senior Citizens Scheme. They were frustrated when they always only managed to get the unwanted leftover flats. It sucks when your own flesh and blood doesn’t acknowledge your sexuality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkrRk_x090w, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nROTeHhl1l8, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUnU42n0PMI, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39K4xW1LoAM, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXnbvsHHRsw, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC7ElS-ikqc, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Un7Srj6pXU, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZCPeIzo7fE, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAPGyJuJsb4, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h45d13e1JMA. There’re a couple of resale-exclusive grants you might snag as well. Pink Dot told Yahoo News Singapore that the livestream had a peak of 6,800 live views during its live broadcast. While the ban on gays serving in the Singapore Armed Forces was only lifted in 2000, the Armed Forces adapted the Category of 302 from the International Classification of Diseases (9 th revision) and continued to inquire into the sexual orientation of all prospective enlistees. Alternatively, you might want to be the sole owner of your BTO flat, even if you’re planning to live with your partner or friends – that’s where the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme comes in. City Nomads is designed for those curious about the world and people who share an appreciation for the good things in life. But, these “protections” act as rights without any enforcement power behind them. These restrictions did not apply to joint applicants who purchased flats on the resale market. Demand was high in the early years of the rule change. There were 37.6 applicants on average vying for a single flat in 2013, but the number since tapered to 2.4 in 2019. Even for two-bedders, prices might soar upward of a million for condos in the city centre, falling to around S$800,000 for less central locations. Singaporean citizens also enjoy one of the relatively lowest tax rates in the world but the country also suffers from a severe lack of press freedom and LGBT rights. But for the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community, this rite … Singapore’s attitude towards its LGBT population and their rights has often been a topic of debate and concern. Among its efforts to support affordable flat ownership among singles, the HDB said that those who bought a new flat before 11 September 2019 would receive up to $40,000 in housing grants comprising the Additional Central Provident Fund (CPF) Housing Grant (up to $20,000) and the Special CPF Housing Grant (up to $20,000). More recently, a survey of 1,798 LGBT Americans conducted in April 2015 by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and the … Assuming it cost $2,000 a month to rent an HDB flat, someone who rented from the age of 25 to 35 would be pouring a whopping $240,000 down the drain. Despite the relaxation of regulations, LGBT and other singles still faced problems and disadvantages compared to their heterosexual married counterparts. If you’re just starting to think about getting your own place, here’s our handy outline of housing options open to you – from renting to buying, under to over 35. The programme was targeted at some 67,000 singles aged between 35 and 49. This is because the flat supply for 2-room Flexi BTO flats in non-mature estates has remained steady at an average of about 4,000 units per year since 2014. It probably also realised that many were gay but did not mention this explicitly. Public housing in Singapore is managed by the state Housing and Development Board (HDB) under a 99-year lease. This doubles up as a good gauge for how LGBTQ-friendly your landlord might be – it’s best to sound this out before you sign on the dotted line, after all. Singles are also limited to new 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates, i.e. With the relaxation of this rule, gay and lesbian couples who wished to purchase private property jointly, could use their CPF savings. To find ECs in that sweet pricing spot, you can track when their 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) is up through the HDB platform or on helpful sites like resaleec.sg. A ruling by Hong Kong's High Court on Wednesday, 4 March 2020 that the Hong Kong government’s policy of denying legally married same-sex couples the right to apply for public housing was unlawful and unconstitutional raised hopes among their Singaporean counterparts that the same situation would one day apply in the island republic. There’s also the question of size – if you’d like more space for your furbabies or home office, the two-room restriction might not suit you. ECs can be resold on the open market after five years, making them a free-for-all – you won’t need to apply under schemes or face income restrictions. The majority of the residential housing developments in Singapore are publicly governed and developed, and home to approximately 80% of the resident population. Initially, applicants could buy resale 3-room or smaller flats in any area except densely populated estates such as Bukit Merah, Geylang, Kallang, Whampoa, Queenstown, Farrer Road, Tanjong Rhu, Mountbatten, Outram Park and Beach Road. People can request a change in gender, but only if they comply with stringent circumstances that deprive them of other civil liberties. The next tier up on the housing price ladder is an executive condominium (EC). In early 2020, the HDB announced that more such flats would be offered in Choa Chu Kang, Tengah and Woodlands for upcoming BTO exercises in May and August 2020. They could receive this grant whether they bought a new or resale flat, and with no restriction on flat type and location. There’s always the resale market to consider. The Government was also of the view then that the use of space would not be fully optimised if singles were allowed to occupy a whole flat. Should you use a bank loan to pay, you’ll need to pay at least 25% of the purchase price as downpayment, in contrast to only 10% downpayment with HDB loans. Public housing in Singapore is restricted by official policy, favouring family units including newlyweds. One thing you will notice when arriving in Singapore is how much greenery there is. A validly married couple may, upon divorcing, apply to the court for ancillary … User @aborxmal recently wrote on Twitter, “My sister is a full-time tutor and recently a Singaporean Chinese student’s parent complained to the head of the tuition centre that she did not want her child being taught by an Indian. In 1990, the Joint Singles Scheme was established allow single Singaporean men and women from the ages of 40 and 35 years respectively to jointly purchase or rent a HDB flat. It’s worth noting that the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) you get is essentially halved – EHG grant amounts range from S$2,500 to S$40,000 for singles earning below S$4,500, in contrast to S$5,000 to S$80,000 for joint singles earning below S$9,000. Singles had to wait till they were 35 years of age to bid for a HDB flat and often encountered difficulties getting their preferred location. The dark side of flexibility, of course, is instability – LGBTQ folks tend to be at higher risk of (perfectly legal) eviction. Public housing in Singapore is restricted by official policy, favouring family units including newlyweds. For those planning to rent, another spot where you can search for queer-friendly property listings is Roomies. residential areas less than 20 years old such as Choa Chu Kang, Woodlands, and Punggol. Since HDB housing loans aren’t available for ECs, you’ll likely need a bank loan instead. Thus, most Singaporean LGBT people, couples or otherwise, opt to buy a HDB flat under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme or Joint Singles Schemes. Singles can buy a new EC only under the Joint Singles Scheme, again at the ripe old age of 35 and above. Prior to the 1990s, no single Singaporean of any age was able to purchase even a resale HDB flat anywhere on the island. Two-room Flexi flats generally hover around the S$100,000 to S$150,000 range, though they can dip to as low as S$75,000. Racial discrimination in Singapore? The LGBTQ+ Guide to Housing Options in Singapore: Renting, Buying, and Queer-Friendly Resources, Best Basque Burnt Cheesecakes in Singapore, 9 Groundbreaking Singaporean Writers to Read in 2021, Best Premium Japanese Restaurants in Singapore for Sashimi, Kaiseki, Robatayaki and Omakase Pampering, A Dining Guide to Clarke Quay: Best Restaurants and Bars in Singapore’s Riverfront Entertainment Enclave, Best Wanton Noodles In Singapore: Top Hawker Stalls & Eateries For This Iconic Noodle Dish, © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED MULTIKULTI PTE LTD 2020, Virtual Restaurant Review: Grammi by Beppe De Vito Does Affordable Italian Dining Right, Freshly Shucked: The Best Restaurants and Bars to Eat Oysters in Singapore, Men’s Suits in Singapore: Where to Get A Ready-To-Wear, Made-to-Measure, or Bespoke Piece. This rental site allows landlords to add an LGBTQ-friendly tag to listings, so you can be assured of their inclusivity. One man explained that he had to move out because: “My mum still hasn’t accepted the fact I’m gay, despite coming out to her eight years back. He’s a real estate agent with wide-ranging expertise in HDB sales, apartment rental, and more; many of his clients have been LGBTQ+, and his good name has certainly spread among the community. Since LGBT couples are not eligible for marriage in Singapore, they are excluded from such HDB schemes. To qualify, your collective monthly household income cannot exceed S$9,000 during the 12 months before your flat application. Since then, the country has been ruled solely by the People’s Action Party (PAP). And if you’re ready to make concrete plans, we’ve also put together a handful of LGBTQ-friendly property resources. Discrimination against LGBT and other singles, Landmark ruling change for resale HDB flats, Joint use of CPF for buying private property, More The Singapore LGBT encyclopaedia Wiki, Section 377A of the Penal Code (Singapore), The Online Citizen interviews the organiser and participants of the inaugural Pink Dot, 16 May 2009, Pink Dot 2010 Focusing on Our Families (Part 1), PINK DOT 2011 SUPPORT THE FREEDOM TO LOVE - 18 JUNE 2011, Archive of judgment of High Court judge Lai Chiu Siu, 15 March 2011, Archive of Lianhe Zaobao feature article on Loo Zihan (12 February 2012), Archive of performance score for Loo Zihan's re-enactment of "Cane" (19 February 2012), Discrimination against homosexuals in Singapore, https://the-singapore-lgbt-encyclopaedia.wikia.org/wiki/Public_housing_for_LGBT_Singaporeans?oldid=29796, Stephen Netto, "99.co launches new initiative against LGBTQ discrimination in Singapore’s housing and property industry", The Online Citizen, 20 September 2019. All these add up to make your resale flat a tad budget-friendlier. From July 2013 to December 2019, about $251 million in such grants was disbursed to about 11,400 singles buying new BTO flats. LGBT Rights in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: homosexuality, gay marriage, gay adoption, serving in the military, sexual orientation discrimination protection, changing legal gender, donating blood, age of consent, and more. But it’s 10 times worse when living under their roof forces you into a tacit, unspoken agreement that you will tolerate their attitude.”. As there was no restriction on the use of CPF savings by non-Singaporeans, it meant that non-related singles, Singaporean or not, would be allowed to use their CPF savings to jointly purchase private residential property. While there’re a ton of buying and renting resources out there, we’ve sifted out a few LGBTQ-specific ones that might come in handy. However, a glut of public housing during the trough phases of economic cycles usually influences the HDB to liberalise their policy towards LGBT Singaporeans and singles, including single mothers,,. As with resale HDBs, the size and location of your EC is entirely up to your budget – though you might have to fork out a higher downpayment. Singapore is a young country, having only gained independence from the British in 1965. And while private property was always an alternative, the minimum down payment on a $1 million condo was $250,000 (25% of the property price or valuation), which put it out of most people’s reach. South Korea’s constitution prohibits discrimination based on sex, religion, or social status, which the Ministry of Justice has said applies to LGBTQ people. Under the Senior Citizens Scheme, only one applicant had to meet the upper age limit while the other joint applicant need only be 21 years and above. If you’re living near your parents (within a 4km radius), the Proximity Housing Grant will net you an additional S$10,000 in grants as well. It often feels like those who don’t fit the conventional ‘family unit’ in Singapore have to poke around in the bargain bin of housing options, long after everyone has had their pick. The star attraction of the BTO route is, of course, the price tag. As for the suggestion that LGBT singles should just stay with their families, anyone with a finger on the pulse of reality would know it was naive. The couple, however, didn't officially become same sex until after the marriage. Under the Singles Grant, joint singles with a monthly household income not above S$14,000 and singles with a monthly income not above S$7,000 can receive subsidies of up to S$25,000 each. The LGBT community is statistically one of the most discriminated against demographics in the world today. However, the Nor… Indeed, Section 377A has long been a catalyst for galvanizing the LGBT community here, having inspired repeal campaigns in 2007. Sensing their dissatisfaction, the HDB changed the rules in 2013 to allow singles aged 35 and above to buy new 2-room or smaller BTO (build to order) flats in non-mature towns as first-time applicants. Ahead of the livestream, organisers called for people across Singapore to light up their homes with pink lights, in lieu of Pink Dot’s traditional night light-up of Hong Lim Park. They just aren’t looking hard enough. Singapore recognizes transgender people, but does not allow for same-sex marriage. As you’ve probably heard from straight friends, the downsides are insane balloting stress and a waiting time of three to four years for flat completion. The age limits for single or divorced women and men is set at 35 years, while that for a widowed person or orphan is 21 years. The new grant gave eligible first-timer singles, aged at least 35 years and earning not more than $4,500 a month, up to $40,000. View Vivien's room Featured $750 inc. The monthly income ceiling criterion was also raised in September 2019 - from $6,000 to $7,000 for eligible first-timer singles aged 35 and above to buy a flat from the HDB, to buy a resale flat on the open market with the CPF Housing Grant, and to get a HDB housing loan for the purchase of a new or resale flat. Here, she shares about what living in Singapore as an American is really like and offers insight into the pros and cons of life in Singapore as an expat.
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