HDB Power of Attorney: How To Get One in Singapore
If you are looking to buy or sell an HDB flat in Singapore, or to rent out your existing HDB flat, there are a number of appointments where you might have to appear in person to sign certain documents to complete the transaction.
However, in the event that you are unable to attend these appointments personally, you can consider executing an HDB Power of Attorney instead. This article will cover the following topics:
What is an HDB Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone else to act on your behalf. Usually, it is required in a legal transaction, where greater proof of authorisation is required. The Power of Attorney will spell out the powers conferred upon the attorney, such as the power to sell, execute documents, or refund monies to the CPF Board.
The person whom you appoint to act on your behalf using a Power of Attorney is known as an “attorney”. In the context of a Power of Attorney, the word “attorney” is not being used to specifically refer to lawyers. Instead, it refers to anyone whom you appoint using a Power of Attorney to act on your behalf. For example, if you appoint your sibling to act on your behalf, then he/she will be your “attorney” in this situation.
For transactions involving Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats, there are several scenarios where an HDB Power of Attorney is needed. Generally, you may need a Power of Attorney if you are unable to attend to certain HDB matters personally for any reason, for example, if you are overseas for an extended period of time. The role of the HDB Power of Attorney would be to give someone else the authority to attend to those matters on your behalf.
Buying or selling a resale flat
When buying or selling a resale flat, the matters that you need to attend to personally include the signing of documents like:
- Application forms (e.g. Application for Housing Grants, Application for Enhanced Contra Facility)
- Declarations forms (e.g. Declaration of Ownership of Private Residential, Commercial, Industry Property)
- Any other legal documents (e.g. Agreement for Lease, Deed of Assignment, Lease-in-Escrow, Mortgage-in-Escrow)
In the event that you cannot sign the documents personally, you can get your attorney to sign the required documents on your behalf.
Buying a Build-to-Order (BTO) flat
There are 3 major stages for a purchaser when buying a new BTO flat, namely:
- Application and Selection of Flat
- Signing of the Agreement for Lease
- Collection of Keys
If you are unable to attend the appointment to sign the Agreement for Lease, or the appointment for the collection of keys, you will have to authorise someone else to sign the agreement or collect the keys on your behalf. The authorisation has to be made using an HDB Power of Attorney, and the person that you appoint is also known as the “attorney”.
Renting out your flat
If you, as the flat owner, have rented out your flat but will be overseas during the rental period, you must execute a Power of Attorney to appoint someone to act for you in the management of the flat.
The only restriction is that the attorney managing the flat cannot also be a tenant of the flat.
Some of the management functions that the attorney would be responsible for include:
- Ensuring that the flat is rented out only to eligible persons
- Notifying HDB of any changes to the rental arrangement
- Ensuring that tenants do not sublet the flat to other persons
The full list of responsibilities can be found in HDB’s terms and conditions for renting out a flat.
Types of HDB Powers of Attorney
There are 3 main types of HDB Powers of Attorney. They are:
- Purchase, Sub-letting and General Management: The attorney can make decisions pertaining to the purchase of an HDB flat, letting or subletting the flat to others, and general matters in connection with the care, maintenance and management of the flat.
- Sale, Sub-letting and General Management: The attorney can make decisions pertaining to the sale of an HDB flat, letting or subletting the flat to others, and general matters in connection with the care, maintenance and management of the flat.
- Sub-letting and General Management: The attorney can make decisions pertaining to only the letting or subletting the flat to others, and general matters in connection with the care, maintenance and management of the flat.
How to Get an HDB Power of Attorney in Singapore
If you need an HDB Power of Attorney, you’ll be happy to know that it is a relatively standard procedure that most law firms will perform. Lawyers in Singapore typically charge $150 to $400 to prepare an HDB Power of Attorney. This usually includes the fees charged by the court’s registry to register the Power of Attorney.
One point to note is that each applicant who is unable to personally attend an appointment will need to obtain their own Power of Attorney. For example, if you are applying for a flat with your spouse, and you are both unable to attend the appointment, you will each have to get your own Power of Attorney.
Depending on your needs, the lawyer will prepare one of above-mentioned types of HDB Powers of Attorney for you. You may also need to provide the lawyer with the following details so that the lawyer can include these in the HDB Power of Attorney:
- The full name of the flat owner, as stated in their NRIC
- The full name of the attorney, as stated in their NRIC
- The full address of the HDB flat in question
After the lawyer finishes drafting the document, he/she will then ask you to sign the document in his/her presence. Following which, the lawyer will file the Power of Attorney with the High Court registry and complete the registration of the Power of Attorney.
How to Get an HDB Power of Attorney While You are Overseas
If you are overseas, you can still get a Singapore law firm to draft the Power of Attorney for you. However, you will need to sign the Power of Attorney before either a Notary Public in that country, the Singapore High Commission or a Singapore Ambassador in the country that you are in, then courier the original document to your lawyer in Singapore.
Do note that if you are using your CPF monies to buy a flat, the CPF Board does not accept Power of Attorney documents witnessed by overseas Notaries Public. Instead, you must sign the Power of Attorney before an official from a Singapore Overseas Mission who will affix a seal/stamp on the document.
Thus, if possible, it is generally advisable that you obtain your HDB Power of Attorney before going overseas. This would minimise the amount of hassle that you have to go through to get the HDB Power of Attorney.
How Will the HDB Power of Attorney be Used?
If you are appointing an attorney to act on your behalf, you will have to indicate this in the application form for the relevant purposes above. For example, if you are submitting an application to buy a resale flat, then you will have to indicate on the resale application form that you are appointing an attorney.
Additionally, you need to submit any one of the following documents to HDB along with your application:
- Original HDB Power of Attorney + 1 photocopy;
- Certified true copy from the High Court + 1 photocopy;
- 2 certified true copies of the Power of Attorney by a lawyer;
- A letter from the lawyer confirming that the standard format for Power of Attorney provided by HDB has been used; or
- Certified true copy by a lawyer together with the computer printout with the High Court seal. This is required in cases where Power of Attorney has been registered through the Electronic Filing System.
If you have submitted the original Power of Attorney or a certified true copy from the High Court (first and second points above), HDB will return either the original or certified true copy to your lawyer. On the other hand, HDB will keep certified true copies of the Power of Attorney by your lawyers (third point above).
Validity Period of an HDB Power of Attorney
After being registered, the HDB Power of Attorney will be valid for a maximum of 6 years from its date of commencement. This is unless you had revoked it by giving express written notice of this to HDB and the attorney.
The HDB Power of Attorney is a tool that you can use if you are unable to attend appointments relating to certain HDB transactions in person. If you are unsure of whether a Power of Attorney is needed, you should consult a lawyer to confirm if one is indeed needed, and get advice on the type of Power of Attorney that would be suitable.
Additionally, you may wish to get the lawyer’s help to prepare your Power of Attorney and register it for you. With our Find a Lawyer service, you will be able to get quotes from up to 5 HDB Power of Attorney lawyers for free and then engage the one whom you feel is best-suited for your needs.
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