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22,000 households await BTO key collection: COVID-19 delays continue, interim solutions offered

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 delays, 22,000 households remain affected by incomplete BTO projects. While HDB is expediting the completion of these projects, interim housing solutions and reimbursements have been arranged to alleviate the inconvenience caused to these Singaporean families.



SINGAPORE: Of the total 71,000 households affected by delays in the Built-to-Order (BTO) projects, 22,000 are still awaiting the completion of their homes, with key collection expected by Q1 2025.

The Minister for National Development, Mr. Desmond Lee, provided these figures in response to an oral question from Mr Yip Hon Weng, MP for Yio Chu Kang SMC, about the 28% of Housing Development Board’s (HDB) BTO projects that are still under construction due to COVID-19 delays.

Mr Yip sought details about the number of affected residents, available interim housing options, and the reimbursement sums for these delays.

In his written reply on Wednesday (2 Aug), Mr Lee revealed that HDB has managed to complete 72% of the delayed BTO projects, enabling approximately 49,000 households to either collect or be invited to collect their keys.

HDB, cognizant of the anxieties and concerns of affected residents, assured that efforts are underway to expedite these delayed projects without compromising on safety or quality.

Eligible flat buyers in immediate need of accommodation can apply for interim housing under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS). For low-income households without family support or other housing options, HDB will consider the possibility of offering Interim Rental Housing (IRH) on a case-by-case basis.

Addressing the issue of reimbursement, Mr Lee referred to Part 8C of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act. HDB is offering monetary reimbursement to households experiencing delays beyond the originally promised Delivery Possession Dates (DPD).

To alleviate inconvenience, affected flat buyers will be paid the maximum sum they are eligible for, without the need to submit any claims or proof of the costs incurred.

Mr Lee reiterated HDB’s commitment to working closely with contractors to address BTO project delays, promising to deliver homes to Singaporeans in a timely manner without sacrificing safety or quality.

The Waterway Sunrise II project in Punggol, launched in February 2017 and originally slated for completion by mid-2021, serves as a significant example of the delayed BTO projects.

HDB had set the DPD, the legal deadline for delivering possession of the flat, between March and June 2022. However, the project encountered multiple setbacks, including the failure of its original contractor, Lian Ho Lee Construction, and subsequent manpower shortages and supply disruptions caused by the pandemic.

The Waterway Sunrise II project, along with Anchorvale Village in Sengkang, has been among the most severely affected, with delays exceeding one year.

Crossing the DPD obligates HDB to compensate the affected flat buyers. In total, nearly 900 households who had booked their flat in the Waterway Sunrise II project by October 2021 are now eligible for reimbursement, an amount that HDB estimates will total S$5.1 million.

The reimbursement process is typically complex, with flat buyers generally required to submit proof of out-of-pocket qualifying expenses. However, to minimize inconvenience, HDB will pay the maximum eligible reimbursement sum to all Waterway Sunrise II flat buyers without requiring them to submit any claims or proof of expenses.

Flat buyers who have completed their purchases and accepted the settlement agreement can expect to receive their reimbursements within two months. The agreement stipulates the exact reimbursement sum each flat buyer is entitled to, based on the actual delay period and the selling price of the booked flat.

As of March 2023, the first four completed blocks have already seen their buyers reimbursed. For all seven blocks of the project, the estimated reimbursement per flat ranges from S$1,000 to S$10,500, with an average sum of S$5,750. In total, HDB estimates the reimbursement for all 896 households to be approximately S$5,156,700.

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