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What Is The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) Scheme In Singapore & How Much Is It?

June 13, 2024

Key Takeaways

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) in Singapore addresses maintenance needs of older HDB flats, ensuring safety and comfort. It includes essential improvements (like repairing structural cracks), optional upgrades (like new doors), and EASE enhancements for seniors. Costs are heavily subsidized for Singapore citizens, with minimal out-of-pocket expenses. Eligibility depends on flat age and resident approval, requiring 75% consent from eligible residents.

Renovating your home can be a challenging task, especially when dealing with older HDB flats. Thankfully, the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is here to help.

This government initiative addresses the maintenance needs of ageing flats, ensuring they remain safe and comfortable. But what exactly does HIP entail, and who qualifies for it?

In this article, we’ll get into the specifics of the HIP scheme, its eligibility requirements, and the various improvements it offers. Whether you’re an HDB resident looking to upgrade your flat or just curious about the programme, this guide has you covered.

What Is the Home Improvement Programme (HIP)?

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is a government initiative to address the maintenance needs of older HDB flats in Singapore. Its purpose is to improve the living conditions and ensure the structural safety of homes around 30 years old.

This programme showcases the Singaporean government’s dedication to enhancing the quality of life for public housing residents by updating older flats to meet modern living standards. However, there are strict eligibility requirements.

Eligibility for HIP is determined by the Housing & Development Board (HDB). Initially, the programme targeted flats built up to 1986. However, in August 2018, it was expanded to include flats constructed up to 1997. Moreover, the assessment of a building’s age and condition is meticulous, prioritising those most in need of refurbishment.

However, not all eligible flats automatically receive renovations. The residents have a significant role in the decision-making process.

A block is selected for HIP only if at least 75% of its eligible residents vote in favour of the renovation works. It’s crucial to note that only Singapore citizens are eligible to vote, not permanent residents.

So, what does the HDB Home Improvement Programme entail? Let’s explore the details to understand the benefits and scope of this initiative.

What Does the HDB Home Improvement Programme Include?

HIP has three main components: Essential Improvements, Optional Improvements, and Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Improvements.

Essential Improvements

Essential improvements under the HIP are mandatory and focus on critical repairs to ensure the safety and integrity of the building. These include:

  • Repairing spalling concrete and structural cracks.
  • Replacing waste and soil discharge stacks.
  • Installing new clothes drying racks to replace pipe sockets.
  • Upgrading electrical load capacity if necessary.

These improvements are crucial for maintaining the basic functionality and safety of the flats, addressing issues that could pose health or safety risks to residents.

Optional Improvements

Optional improvements provide residents with the flexibility to choose upgrades based on their preferences and needs. These improvements are heavily subsidised, and residents pay only a small fraction of the cost. Options include:

  • Upgrading existing toilets and bathrooms.
  • Installing new entrance doors and grille gates.
  • Replacing refuse chute hoppers where applicable.
  • Adding ramps and other enhancements for better accessibility.

These optional works enhance the overall living environment and address common maintenance issues, offering residents the opportunity to customise their living spaces according to their needs.

EASE (Enhancement for Active Seniors)

The EASE programme is a subset of HIP that focuses on improving home safety and accessibility for elderly residents. EASE improvements include:

  • Applying slip-resistant treatments to bathroom floor tiles.
  • Installing grab bars in bathrooms.
  • Installing ramps within the flat and at the main entrance where technically feasible.

These enhancements are designed to make the home safer and more accessible for seniors, helping them maintain independence and reducing the risk of accidents.

How Much Do I Need to Pay for HIP?

The cost of HIP varies depending on the type of improvements chosen and the size of the flat.

For Singapore Citizen households, the government subsidises a significant portion of the cost, particularly for essential improvements, which are fully covered.

For optional and EASE improvements, residents pay a small fraction of the cost based on their flat type:

  • Optional Improvements:
    • 1/2/3-room flats: 5% of the cost.
    • 4-room flats: 7.5% of the cost.
    • 5-room flats: 10% of the cost.
    • Executive flats: 12.5% of the cost.
  • EASE Improvements:
    • 1/2/3-room flats: 5% of the cost.
    • 4-room flats: 7.5% of the cost.
    • 5-room flats: 10% of the cost.
    • Executive flats and executive maisonettes: 12.5% of the cost.

Singapore Permanent Resident households are not eligible for subsidies and must cover the full cost of the improvements. However, if a PR household converts to a Singapore Citizen household within one year of billing, they can receive a reimbursement for the subsidies.

Dealing with the financial aspects of home improvements can be challenging, but GS Credit is here to help. Even if you’re not covered by the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), our customised loan solutions can support your renovation needs. Don’t let funding obstacles stop you. Explore your personal loan options with GS Credit today and move forward with confidence.

How to Prepare Your HDB Apartment for the Home Improvement Programme?

Preparing your home for HIP is essential to protect your belongings and minimise disruption. Steps to prepare include:

  • Storing valuable items and furniture in bedrooms or other safe areas.
  • Using plastic covers provided by HDB to protect items that cannot be moved.
  • Keeping important documents and valuables in a secure place.

Residents should also plan for temporary inconveniences such as dust, noise, and limited access to certain areas of the flat during the renovation period.

Where to Stay During the Home Improvement Programme?

The extensive work involved in the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) might mean you need to temporarily move out to ensure your family’s comfort and safety. Here are some options:

Staying With Family or Friends

Staying with relatives or friends can be a comfortable and cost-effective solution during the renovation period. Your support network can make this transition smoother.

Short-Term Rentals

You might also consider short-term rental options like serviced apartments or Airbnbs. These can offer a home-like experience, but remember to budget for this extra cost.

Important: At least one flat resident needs to stay behind during the renovation works.

How Long Does HIP Take?

The duration of HIP varies depending on the scope of the work and the number of blocks involved. Typically, the entire HIP process for a group of flats (8 to 10 blocks) takes about 1.5 to 2 years.

For individual flats, the essential improvements usually take about 10 working days to complete, while additional optional works may extend this period.

Home Improvements Outside the HIP Scheme

As we conclude our look at the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), it’s evident that it provides substantial benefits to many HDB residents by significantly enhancing their living spaces. However, we understand that not everyone qualifies for this scheme, but the desire to renovate and rejuvenate one’s home is universal. This is where GS Credit comes in.

Recognising the diverse needs of homeowners, GS Credit offers personal loans to those looking to transform their homes beyond the HIP framework.

Whether you’re planning a modern makeover or essential repairs that fall outside HIP eligibility, our customised loan solutions are here to help. Visit our website for more information and apply for a loan today.

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