20 HDB rules you might not know (and breaking them)






Staying in HDB ?



Here are some rules that you probably did not realised before moving in.

1 Keep only 1 Dog


You can keep only 1 dog in HDB. As for the type of dog, you can simply choose anyone you like. It has to be on the list of approved dogs.  Dogs must be licensed from NParks Animal & Veterinary Service (VAS)

Breach = $4000 fine!

Check here for the full list of approved HDB dogs.

2 Keeping Cats in flats


Sorry cat lovers, no cats allowed. Cats need more space and tend to shed fur or urinate in public. Also HDB thinks they are too noisy with the Caterwauling sound they make.

3 Small animals allowed but make sure they are legal!

Please don't think about buying that monkey from Chatuchak

4 Cannot register your flat as business address ( but can do business)


Do you know you can do home-based small scale business at your HDB flat?
These are the business allowed
  • Baking on a small scale
  • Hairdressing, beauty, manicure, or pedicure services*
  • Simple factory work on a work rate basis
  • Private tuition for not more than 3 students at a time
  • Sewing services
  • Work as a freelance artist, journalist, photographer, or writer
Sorry Massage services not allowed at HDB, so if you happen to spot a line of guys queuing outside the flat, it may be good to call HDB

5 HDB is not AirBnB

Sorry, if you think you can make money on short term rentals on HDB. The minimum rental period is for 6 months,  

6 Cannot rent out to more than 6 tenants in  HDB 

Maximum occupants per flat is up to 6 (including flat owners) for 3 rooms and bigger.  Thankfully, this does not apply to family members living in the same flat.


7 No loud noises between 1030 pm to 7am


You do know that people need to sleep, right?
So please do not do your DIY projects that involve drilling and banging during the quiet hours.


8 No Smoking in Corridors, stairwells, staircase and void decks are not allowed
You can smoke in your own apartment, but the above areas are not allowed. You can be fined $200-$1000 if convicted.

Nowadays got thermal cameras on corridors that captures you when you smoke. Cannot hide one.

9 Keep common corrridors clear of obstruction
Source : Straits Times

If you plan to make your house to look like a jungle, think again. Welcome to the Jungle is not HDB favourite song. Also, you cannot anyhow convert your house stairs into a fishpond. You would be asked to remove it.

10 Do not throw objects from your flat
This one is killer litter. Even if you place objects in a hazardous manner outside the window, it could be an offence. That would mean birdcage, flower pots, clothes, etc. Fine is up to $2000 for non-compliance. If the object falls to the ground, it is considered killer litter. You can get jailed for up to 5 years for that. If you are living in a rental flat, HDB has the right to terminate the tenancy.

11 No Wet Laundry or mops before handing them out


This will cause excess water dripping into your neighbours clothes. Ensure clothes stop dripping before hanging out to dry

12 No Peeing in lift
Nowadays, lift stops on every floor and it comes with camera surveillance. Surely, you do not want to end up on Stomp?

13 No Vandalism in common areas or amenities
Vandalism is a crime in Singapore with fine up to $2000, imprisonment up to 3 years and even corporal punishment. If you want to draw, draw in your own house. Also cannot anyhow paste gold foil on the staircase.

14 Borrow neighbour wireless Internet access.


Just because your neighbour forgot to set the password on their wifi does not mean you can piggyback on it. This is called hacking and it comes with a maximum fine of $10000 and/or jail up to 3 years.

15 Naked at Home
Does it mean I cannot change my clothes at home?
No Lah. The caveat is that you cannot be naked in private place while exposed to public view. Keep your curtains close if you want to stay cool at home in your birthday suit.

This rule also applies to private property, so no double standard here.  Fine is up to $2000 and / or jail term of up to 3 months.


16 Not informing 2 neighbours of any renovation.


You have to inform a minimum of 2 neighbours before you do renovation. This include works that do not require permit ( carpentry works), Notice have to be given 3 days before the start of renovation. Renovation only allowed on Mon-Sat, excluding public holidays and eve of major Public Holidays betwen 9 am and 6pm.

17 Anyhow add additional floor space
Even if you have a high ceiling , it does not mean you can create a Mezzanine floor at your own whim and fancy. HDB does not allow you to create your mezzanine floor without approval. Fine for unauthorised installation is at $5000

18 Raise the roof


Recently there was an article that stated the home owner of a HDB flat managed to get 'approval' to raise their top floor ceiling height from 2.6 meters to a whopping 4.9 meters. Before you go house hunting for top floors hdb to do the same, HDB listed that removal of pitched roof ceiling ( partial or complete) at topmost floor unit is illegal as it is part of the buidling's roof system. Unless the owner has some special approval, raising the roof in any case in illegal.

19 Taking your time to finish the renovation


You have only 3 months to complete renovation works from issued date for new blocks and 1 month for existing blocks. Do not take your time renovating the house!

20 Cannot anyhow buy Private Property
You need to fulfill the Minimum Occupation Period ( MOP) before buying Private Property
For flats bought from HDB, resale flats bought with CPD, DBSS flates from developer , resale flates without CPF grant, the MOP Period is 5 years. For replacement flats bought from HDB under SERS , it will be 7 years from dates of selection or 5 years from date of possession whichever is earlier. Check your dates first before putting in the downpayment for that private property!


There you go, 20 rules you have to adhere to when staying in a HDB.

Have you broke any yet?


* Information verified as of June 2019

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