Chief Editor June 09 2024

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HDB Warns Property Agents Against Unsolicited Contact Through Resale Listing Portal Amid Surge in HFE Applications

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has issued a stern warning to property agents about approaching flat sellers through its resale listing portal to offer their services. This caution comes amid a noticeable increase in the number of agents applying for HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letters.

The HFE letter, a crucial document indicating a prospective buyer's eligibility to purchase a flat and access grants and financing options, is now a prerequisite for scheduling viewings of units listed on HDB’s resale flat listing (RFL) service. This service, which was officially launched on May 30, allows owners or their property agents to list homes for sale directly on the Flat Portal, providing a streamlined and currently free platform for resale transactions.

HDB has emphasized that property agents who are not appointed by a buyer should not contact sellers through the portal unless they possess an HFE letter. 

To curb misuse, HDB has stated it will take firm action against errant property agents. Measures include banning them from the HDB Flat Portal and reporting the matter to the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) for further investigation. Additionally, HDB will monitor whether agents applying for HFE letters end up purchasing flats within the nine-month validity period of the letter.

Despite these warnings, there has been no reported misuse of the service to the CEA. The council’s spokesman affirmed that property agencies and agents must comply with the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care, failing which they may face disciplinary actions such as fines up to S$100,000 and the suspension or revocation of their licenses.

With an upcoming Build-to-Order (BTO) launch in June, there could be genuine cases of agents intending to purchase flats for personal use.

Despite reassurances from estate agency executives, there is some concern within the property agent community about the potential for unethical practices.

JT Chia, Managing Director of Propertyforsale Pte Ltd, expressed concern about the possibility of some agents exploiting this system, emphasizing the importance of ethical conduct and the significant risks involved in breaching regulations.

As the real estate market navigates these changes, HDB’s vigilance and the adherence to ethical standards by property agents will be crucial in maintaining a fair and transparent environment for all parties involved in the resale flat market.