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Various types of housing and their specific requirements

There are various types of housing that your foreign employees 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 employees.

Purpose-Built Dormitories (PBDs)Show

What are PBDs

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

  • 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 employees.

We highly recommend you to:

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

Factory-Converted Dormitories (FCDs)Show

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

What you need to do

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

Before you can register your employee’s address using OFWAS or EP Online, you must:

  • Obtain clearance from the following agencies:
    • MOM to ensure that the FCD has the basic facilities for the employees. Please complete the FCD declaration form and email it to MOM at mom_fcd_approvals@mom.gov.sg for assessment.
    • 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 starting 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.
  • Get a valid Temporary Permission (TP) from URA to house the employees in the industrial premises.

You should also:

  • Conduct regular checks on the state of the FCD, and put measures in place to ensure it is properly maintained. Use this checklist as a guide.
  • Educate your employees on the expected level of housing standards.
  • Educate your employees 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 employees but not operating the FCD

We highly recommend you to:

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

Construction Temporary Quarters (CTQ): Standalone Temporary QuartersShow

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

What you need to do

If you’re operating standalone temporary quarters to house your employees or your sub-contractors’ employees

Before you can register your employee’s address uing OFWAS or EP Online, you must:

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 your employees on the expected level of housing standards.
  • Educate your employees 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 employees in a CTQ

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 employees 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 employees’ quarters.
Allowed to house Foreign employees working in the construction sector only.

What you need to do

If you’re operating a CTQ in a building that is still under construction to house your employees or your sub-contractors’ employees

Before you can register your employee’s address using OFWAS or EP Online, you must:

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

  • Submit the fire safety plans for the proposed quarters in buildings under construction to SCDF for the proposed change of use and fire safety works to be carried out before occupying the premises or starting the fire safety works.
  • Keep a set of building plans, certified by a Singapore-registered Professional Engineer, on-site at all times for inspection by MOM officers.

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 your employees on the expected level of housing standards.
  • Educate your employees 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 employees in such CTQs

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 employees 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 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 employees working in the construction sector only.

What you need to do

If you’re operating temporary quarters on TOL

Before you can register your employee’s address using OFWAS or EP Online, you must:

  • Obtain URA’s approval first to use the TOL land parcel for the temporary quarters.
  • Obtain MOM’s approval next, before constructing any quarters on the TOL land parcel:
  • After obtaining MOM’s approval, proceed to get approvals from these government agencies:
    • The landowner (e.g. SLA, JTC) to issue the TOL for the quarters.
    • URA on the land use and development control guidelines for the TOL quarters.
    • A Qualified Person (QP) to design and supervise the erection of the TOL quarters. The QP must also submit plans for change of use and fire safety works to SCDF for approval, before occupying the premises or starting the fire safety works. A set of building plans, certified by a Singapore-registered Professional Engineer, must be available on-site at all times for inspection by MOM officers.
    • 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.
  • Email the documentary proof of all the above agencies’ approvals to MOM at ofwas_ctq@mom.gov.sg, to be allowed to register employees at this type of housing.

If you’re operating permanent buildings as quarters on TOL

You must:

We highly recommend you to:

  • Conduct regular checks on the state of TOL quarters, and put measures in place to ensure that it is properly maintained. Use this checklist as a guide.
  • Educate your employees on the expected level of housing standards.
  • Educate your employees 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 employees in TOL quarters

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 employees 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 HDB’s approval.

Allowed to house

The following foreign employees are allowed to rent HDB flats:

  • EP holders.
  • S Pass holders.
  • WP holders who:
    • Are Malaysians.
      or
    • Work in the services sector.
  • Non-Malaysian WP holders from the manufacturing sector are allowed to rent bedrooms, but not the whole flat.

The number of bedrooms that flat owners can rent out and the maximum number of tenants 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 6

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

Before you can register your employee’s address using OFWAS or EP Online, you must:

  • Ensure that the HDB flat owner registers your employees as tenants with HDB before they move in. Your employees can use HDB’s eService to check if the flat owner has registered them as tenants of the flat.

We highly recommend you to:

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

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 employees.

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

If you have an 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

If you’re unable to update your employee’s address in OFWAS or EP Online, you must:

  1. Download and get the PRP owner to complete the occupants declaration form for home owners.
  2. Email both the completed form and PRP owner’s IRAS property tax statement to MOM at mom_fwas@mom.gov.sg.

We highly recommend you to:

  • Sign a written tenancy agreement with the PRP owner.
  • If your employees 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 employees on the expected level of housing standards.
  • Provide ways for employees to highlight problems with their housing, and make arrangements with the PRP owner to rectify them.