RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Government to roll out voluntary early redevelopment scheme for households

Flat owners may opt to reject the scheme and stay in their residences until their lease expires.

Residents may vote to undergo a voluntary early redevelopment scheme (VERS) for their households before their leases run out, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said. The long-term plan is set to be offered to residents after 20 years.

“I think we should redevelop our old towns over 20 to 30 years rather than within 45 years progressively, and that means starting when the oldest flats reach about 70 years old onwards,” Lee said.

According to the prime minister, this will prevent having towns to experience becoming construction sites all over again, with cranes all over the place. 

“We will have to find new homes for a lot of people at once,” he explained. “HDB will have to tear down and rebuild the old flats in a hurry, just like when we first built Marine Parade, Ang Mo Kio and Bedok.”

When VERS rolls out, residents who vote to undergo the scheme will be compensated as their flats have been taken out early. Lee also assured that the government will help them to get another flat to live in as if their lease had already run out.

“But the terms will be less generous than Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) because there’ll be less financial upside,” he noted.

SERS is a programme that renews older housing estates with high development value that can be unlocked.

“However HDB estimates that only about 5% of flats are suitable for SERS,” Lee said. “There will be a few more SERS projects to come, but many projects with high redevelopment potentials have already been done because HDB chose the most promising one and did them first.”

With VERS, residents that will decide to say no can continue to live in their flats until their leases run out.

“We will not start doing VERS for another 20 years,” Lee noted. “We need the time to work out how to choose the precincts, how to pace the redevelopments out, the specific terms of the government’s off, and so on.”

Estates with the oldest flats that have been around for at least 70 years will be the focus of VERS.

“It is better to start earlier, spread out the redevelopment, and do things in a more measured and considered way,” the prime minister said in his Facebook page. “Then, just like with SERS, the estate can be renewed progressively.” 

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