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Various types of housing and their specific requirements

There are various types of housing that your foreign workers can live in, each with its own set of requirements. Employers must carry out due diligence to ensure these requirements are met. Employers who fail to do so may be prosecuted, and disallowed to hire foreign workers.

Purpose-Built Dormitories (PBDs)Show

What are PBDs

PBDs are specially designed and built with features to meet the needs of foreign workers:

  • Amenities, e.g. minimarts, dedicated cooking areas, etc.
  • Services, e.g. laundry, remittance, etc.
  • Recreational facilities, e.g. gym, outdoor games courts, etc.
Allowed to house All foreign workers.

What you need to do

You must:

We highly recommend you to:

  • Sign a written tenancy agreement with the dormitory operator.
  • Provide ways for workers to highlight problems with the housing to the dormitory operator, and work with dormitory operator to rectify them.

Factory-Converted Dormitories (FCDs)Show

What are FCDs Industrial or warehouse developments which have been partially converted to workers’ dormitories.
Allowed to house All foreign workers.

What you need to do

If you’re operating an FCD to house your own workers or your sub-contractor’s workers

You must:

  • Ensure you have a valid Temporary Permission (TP) from URA to house workers in the industrial premises.

    Before submitting the TP application to URA, you must obtain clearances from the following agencies:
    • MOM to ensure that the FCD has the basic facilities for the workers. To obtain MOM’s clearance, please complete the FCD declaration form and submit it to mom_fcd_approvals@mom.gov.sg.
    • A Qualified Person to design and supervise the erection of the FCD, and to submit plans to SCDF for the proposed change of use and fire safety works to be carried out before occupying the premises or commencement of the fire safety works.
    • NEA to ensure that there is adequate number of toilets, sanitary fittings and anti-mosquito breeding measures as stipulated in the Code of Practice on Environmental Health, and compliance with pollution control requirements.
    • PUB to ensure adequate water supply and connection to the sewerage system.
    • LTA to ensure smooth traffic conditions in the vicinity.
  • Register your foreign workers’ residential addresses in the Online Foreign Workers Address Service (OFWAS) within 5 days of workers moving in or out of the FCD.
  • Let your foreign workers’ residential addresses know that they must inform you if they decide to change their place of residence. You are responsible to update their residential address in OFWAS within 5 days of change.

You should also:

  • Conduct regular checks on the state of the FCD, and put in place measures to ensure it is properly maintained. Use this checklist as a guide.
  • Educate all foreign staying in the FCD on the expected level of housing standards.
  • Educate your workers to highlight problems with their housing to the dormitory operator, and work with the dormitory operator to rectify them.

If you’re housing your foreign workers but not operating the FCD

You must:

  • Register your foreign workers’ residential addresses in the Online Foreign Workers Address Service (OFWAS) within 5 days of workers moving in or out of the FCD.
  • Let your foreign workers know that they must inform you if they decide to change their place of residence. You are responsible to update their residential address in OFWAS within 5 days of change.

We highly recommend you to:

  • Sign a written tenancy agreement with the FCD operator.
  • Educate your workers to highlight problems with their housing to the dormitory operator, and work with the dormitory operator to rectify.

Construction Temporary Quarters (CTQ): Standalone Temporary QuartersShow

What are Standalone Temporary Quarters Any structure used for housing workers within a construction site that will eventually be demolished or removed.
Allowed to house Foreign workers working in the construction sector only.

What you need to do

If you’re operating a CTQ to house your own workers or your sub-contractors' workers

You must:

  • Obtain approvals from the following government agencies:
    • The landowner (e.g. SLA, JTC) to set up the CTQ at the site.
    • A Singapore-Registered Professional Engineer to design and supervise the erection of the CTQ, and are not required submit building plans to SCDF for approval. However, a set of plans of the temporary quarters, duly endorsed by a Singapore-Registered Professional Engineer, will be available on-site for inspection by the Relevant Authority at all times.
    • NEA to ensure that there are adequate number of toilets, sanitary fittings and anti-mosquito breeding measures as stipulated in the Code of Practice on Environmental Health, and compliance with pollution control requirements.
    • PUB to ensure adequate water supply and connection to the sewerage system.
    • Submit documentary proof to all the above agencies' approvals to MOM to ofwas_ctq@mom.gov.sg, to be allowed to register workers at this type of housing.
  • Register your foreign workers’ residential addresses in the Online Foreign Workers Address Service (OFWAS) within 5 days of workers moving into the CTQ.

For standalone temporary quarters that are 2-storey or above, the Developers or Builders of the project has to additionally engage a Singapore-Registered Professional Engineer to:

  • Design and supervise the erection of the standalone temporary quarter.
  • Keep a set of plans pertaining to the temporary building duly endorsed by a Singapore-Registered Professional Engineer on-site at all times.

You should also:

  • Conduct regular checks on the state of the CTQ, and put in measures to ensure it is properly maintained. Use this checklist as a guide.
  • Educate all foreign workers staying in the CTQ on the expected level of housing standards.
  • Educate your workers to highlight problems with their housing to the dormitory operator, and work with the dormitory operator to rectify them.

If you’re a sub-contractor housing foreign workers in a CTQ

You must:

We highly recommend you to:

  • Check on the living conditions, and approvals of the CTQ before signing a written tenancy agreement with the main contractor.
  • Inform your workers to highlight problems with their housing to the dormitory operator, and work with the dormitory operator to rectify them.

Construction Temporary Quarters (CTQ): Quarters in Buildings under ConstructionShow

What are Quarters in Buildings under Construction They are parts of buildings still under construction that are used for workers’ quarters.
Allowed to house Foreign workers working in the construction sector only.

What you need to do

If you’re operating a CTQ to house your own workers or your sub-contractors' workers

You must:

  • Obtain approvals from the following government agencies:
    • The landowner (e.g. SLA, JTC) to set up the CTQ at the site.
    • A Singapore-Registered Professional Engineer to design and supervise the erection of the workers’ quarters, and are not required submit building plans to SCDF for approval.
    • NEA to ensure that there are adequate number of toilets, sanitary fittings and anti-mosquito breeding measures as stipulated in the Code of Practice on Environmental Health, and compliance with pollution control requirements.
    • PUB to ensure adequate water supply and connection to the sewerage system.
    • Submit documentary proof of all the above agencies' approvals to MOM to ofwas_ctq@mom.gov.sg, to be allowed to register workers at this type of housing.
  • Register your foreign workers’ residential addresses in the Online Foreign Workers Address Service (OFWAS) within 5 days of workers moving into the CTQ.

For workers’ quarters housing more than 40 occupants, the Main Contractor of the project has to additionally engage a Qualified Person (QP) to:

  • Design and supervise the erection of the temporary workers’ quarters.
  • Submit the fire safety plans for the proposed temporary workers’ quarters to SCDF for the proposed change of use and fire safety works to be carried out before occupying the premises or commencement of the fire safety works, for approval.

You should also:

  • Conduct regular checks on the state of the CTQ, and put in measures to ensure it is properly maintained. Use this checklist as a guide.
  • Educate all foreign workers staying in the CTQ on the expected level of housing standards.
  • Educate your workers to highlight problems with their housing to the dormitory operator, and work with the dormitory oprerator to rectify them.

If you’re a sub-contractor housing foreign workers in a CTQ

You must:

We highly recommend you to:

  • Check on the living conditions, and approvals of the CTQ before signing a written tenancy agreement with the main contractor.
  • Educate your workers to highlight problems with their housing to the dormitory operator, and work with the dormitory operator to rectify them.

Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL) quartersShow

What are TOL quarters

TOLs are temporary occupation licences issued by Government Agency (or their managing agents) owning the land. They allow employers to establish temporary workers quarters on a plot of land that is typically near a construction site to support a specific project.

TOL quarters can be:

  • Pre-fabricated temporary buildings.
  • Refurnished buildings.
Allowed to house Foreign workers working in the construction sector only.

What you need to do

If you’re operating temporary workers’ quarters on TOL

You must:

  • Obtain approvals from the following government agencies before housing them:
    • The landowner (e.g. SLA, JTC) to issue the TOL for the workers’ quarters.
    • URA to approve the land use and development control guidelines for the TOL quarters.
    • A Qualified Person to design and supervise the erection of the TOL, and submit plans to SCDF for approval for the change of use and fire safety works to be carried out in the premises before occupying the premises or commencement of the fire safety works.
    • NEA to ensure that there are adequate number of toilets, sanitary fittings and anti-mosquito breeding measures as stipulated in the Code of Practice on Environmental Health, and compliance with pollution control requirements.
    • PUB to ensure adequate water supply and connection to the sewerage system.
    • Submit documentary proof of all the above agencies' approvals to MOM, to be allowed to register workers at this type of housing.
  • Register your foreign workers’ residential addresses in the Online Foreign Workers Address Service (OFWAS) within 5 days of workers moving in or out of the TOL quarters.

If you are operating permanent buildings as workers’ quarters on TOL, in addition to the above, you must:

  • Submit plans to SCDF for the proposed change of use and fire safety works to be carried out before occupying the premises or commencement of the fire safety works.

We highly recommend you to:

  • Conduct regular checks on the state of TOL quarters, and put in place measures to ensure that it is properly maintained. Use this checklist as a guide.
  • Educate all foreign workers staying in the TOL quarters on the expected level of housing standards.
  • Educate your workers to highlight problems with their housing to the dormitory operator, and work with the dormitory operator to rectify them.

If you’re a sub-contractor housing foreign workers in TOL quarters

You must:

We highly recommend you to:

  • Check on the living conditions, and approvals of the TOL before signing a written tenancy agreement with the main contractor.
  • Educate your workers to highlight problems with their housing to the dormitory operator, and work with the dormitory operator to rectify them.

HDB flatsShow

What are HDB flats Public housing flats managed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), which may be rented out as a whole flat or by rooms, subject to the approval of HDB.

Allowed to house

EP holders, S pass holders, Work Permit holders who are Malaysians or working in the Services sector.

Non-Malaysian Work Permit holders from the manufacturing sector are allowed to rent bedrooms, but not the whole flat from the flat owner.

The number of bedrooms that flat owners can sublet and the maximum number of subtenants and occupants allowed in each flat depends on the flat type as shown below.

Whole flat

Flat type Max number of occupants
1-room or 2-room 4
3-room 6
4-room or bigger 9

Bedrooms

Flat type Max number of bedrooms
1-room or 2-room Not allowed
3-room 1
4-room or bigger 2

Note: Flats rented from HDB cannot be sublet.

For more info, refer to the HDB website.

What you need to do

You must:

  • Ensure that the HDB flat owner registers your foreign workers as tenants with HDB before the workers move in. Your workers can use HDB’s eService to check if the flat owner has registered them as authorised subtenants of the flat.
  • Thereafter, register your foreign workers' residential addresses in the Online Foreign Workers Address Service (OFWAS) within 5 days of workers moving in or out of HDB flat.
  • Let your foreign workers know that they must inform you if they decide to change their place of residence. You are responsible to update their residential address in OFWAS within 5 days of change.

We highly recommend you to:

  • Sign a written tenancy agreement with the HDB flat owner.
  • If your workers rent the place themselves, encourage them to sign a written tenancy agreement with the HDB flat owner.
  • Get a copy of the HDB subletting approval letter from the HDB owner.
  • Conduct regular checks on the state of the HDB flat. Use this checklist as a guide.
  • Educate your workers staying in the HDB flat on the expected level of housing standards.
  • Provide ways for workers to highlight problems with the housing, and make arrangements with the home owner to rectify them upon being informed.

Private residential premises (PRPs)Show

What are PRPs Private properties such as condominiums, landed residential properties, terrace houses, semi-detached houses, bungalows, residential units in shop houses, etc.

Allowed to house

All foreign workers.

From 15 May 2017, you can house a maximum of 6 occupants per unit, regardless of size of unit.

If you have existing tenancy agreement before 15 May 2017, you can:

  • House up to 8 occupants until the existing tenancy agreement ends.
  • House up to 8 occupants until 15 May 2019.
  • Whichever is earlier. After that, the maximum number of occupants is 6.

For more info, refer to URA’s website.

What you need

You must:

  • Register your foreign workers’ residential addresses in the Online Foreign Workers Address Service (OFWAS) within 5 days of workers moving in or out of the PRP.
  • Let your foreign workers know that they must inform you if they decide to change their place of residence. You are responsible to update their residential address in OFWAS within 5 days of change.

We highly recommend you to:

  • Sign a written tenancy agreement with the PRP owner.
  • If your workers rent the place themselves, encourage them to sign a written tenancy agreement with the PRP owner.
  • Conduct regular checks on the state of the PRP, to ensure no overcrowding and that the living conditions are satisfactory. Use this checklist as a guide.
  • Educate your workers staying in the PRP on the expected level of housing standards.
  • Provide ways for workers to highlight problems with their housing, and make arrangements with the home owner to rectify them upon being informed.