Legal Updates

Legal Updates

Can you circumvent MOP by purchasing a private property on trust for your child?

Picture by ZR Lin[4]

HDB’s minimum occupation period (“MOP”) policy mainly prevents HDB owners from profiting by quickly flipping their flats. HDB requires an MOP of 5 years before owners can sell their HDB flats and purchase private residential properties. An MOP of 10 years will apply for flats under the Prime Location Public Housing model[1] (e.g., city centre locations).

A common question which plagues HDB owners who are keen to purchase additional, and often, private property is whether they could circumvent HDB’s MOP by buying property on trust for their children.

The answer is an unambiguous, “No!”.

In a recent Straits Times article[2] published on 3 December 2023, a couple who had lived for 3 years in their HDB flat and wanted to buy a private condominium sought to circumvent the MOP rule by purchasing the private property on trust for their young child. They alleged that they were misled by their real estate agent, and allegedly became convinced that that their plan would not flout HDB regulations since the beneficial owners were not the couple but their child. They were later notified by HDB of their offence and were fined S$45,000.

To be sure, HDB’s website (link: HDB | Acquiring Private Property) expressly states that: “During the MOP of the flat, the flat owner, his/her spouse and occupiers are not allowed to acquire private residential property. Acquiring private residential property to hold on trust for another person is also not allowed.

Owners of HDB flats should always familiarise themselves with the HDB rules and regulations or seek relevant professional advice before acting in haste. For greater certainty, HDB owners can check for their MOP status online using HDB’s website[3].

In the above scenario, it is useful to note that:

  1. The HDB owner’s (the “purchaser”) name will be reflected in the title of the private property bought on trust for the child (“beneficiary”).
  2. The purchaser as Trustee of the property owes duties to the beneficiary including the duty to account for rental proceeds, and eventually sale proceeds to the beneficiary if the property is rented out or eventually sold.
  3. Failure to account for the sale proceeds may give rise to the suspicion that the trust over the property was a sham transaction, thereby exposing the purchaser to ABSD and penalties to be imposed by the relevant authorities.

You can also contact Ascentsia Law Corporation should you have any enquires on conveyancing matters. Please feel free to contact our team below:


Ascentsia Law Corporation

Kenny Khoo – Director | T: 6327 5779 | E:

Eugene P’ng – Associate | T: 6327 5767 | E:







Contributed by 
Kenny Khoo and Eugene P’ng


07 December 2023 

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