Written Answer by Ministry of National Development on circumstances requiring enforcement of special covenants 2(1) and 2(2) in HDB’s lease agreements

Jan 10, 2022

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development in view of the Government’s efforts to reduce disamenities in HDB estates (a) under what circumstances will HDB cite or use special covenants 2(1) and 2(2) of the Memorandum of Lease to HDB’s lease agreement in their enforcement efforts; and (b) how many times has HDB cited or enforced these covenants respectively for each year in the last three years and for what types of breach.


The Special Covenants 2(1) and 2(2) of the HDB Memorandum of Lease generally set out the acts and uses that are not permitted in HDB flats, in order to maintain a high-quality living environment for all residents. The majority of these Special Covenants relate to building safety and integrity, as well as fixtures within the flat.

In the past 3 years, HDB has not enforced Special Covenants 2(1) and 2(2) of the Memorandum of Lease.  Enforcing the Covenants in the Memorandum of Lease entails compulsory acquisition of the flat, and HDB exercises this right only as a last resort as this is a harsh measure that is not undertaken lightly. HDB’s approach is therefore to contemplate enforcement of the Special Covenants in instances where the breaches are serious, e.g. for unauthorised renovations where there is a safety risk to residents of the block.

For issues relating to disamenities and disputes between neighbours, neighbours should first  come together to try to resolve the matter amicably. If this does not work, agencies will advise the affected neighbour to seek mediation. In intractable cases, the affected neighbour may file a case with the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal (CDRT). If the respondent is shown to have caused unreasonable interference to the affected neighbour, then the CDRT may make a range of orders against the respondent, including requiring the respondent to cease or refrain from carrying out certain acts.