Home Office Scheme Singapore: Knowing The Basics
Would you like your company’s address to be registered as your HDB address? Well, you can, thanks to the Home Office Scheme (HOS), a scheme which allows home-owners to conduct their business at home provided they satisfy all the necessary criteria and guidelines which are subjected to the URA’s approval.
Applying for a Home Office Scheme in Singapore
If you are applying for the HOS, you need to ensure that your business will not bring about disturbance or inconvenience to the neighbourhood. The HOS application approval will be subjected to the following conditions:
- Your business or company must be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
- Your business or company meets the requirements outlined under the HOS
- Depending on the terms of your lease or tenancy agreement with HDB
- HDB reserves the right to revoke approval granted under the scheme should you be in breach of any of the terms of the scheme and tenancy agreement
You will need to renew your application every five years.
What Kind of Businesses are Permitted Under the Home Office Scheme?
You can’t run the following types of businesses under the HOS:
- Trading office
- Real estate agency
- Accounting services
- Architectural services
- Transportation services
- Technology-based businesses
- Knowledge-intensive businesses
- Consultancy services (business, engineering, IT, management or education)
- Insurance and financial planning services
- Design and advertising services
Which Businesses Don’t Fall Under the HOS?
The following business will not be eligible for the HOS scheme:
- Classes on dress-making and embroidery
- Employment agency
- Funeral chapels or homes
- Maid agency
- Beauty, hairdressing or massage therapy services
- Car trading business
- Card reading/palm reading or fortune telling in any form
- Sales/marketing that involves conducting seminars and talks for a large number of customers
- Shops and any form of retail activity, which pet shops
- Clinics and pharmacies (e.g. dental, medical, veterinary)
- Commercial school (e.g. dance, music, language, tuition center)
- Courier business
- Manufacturing, preparation or processing of any products and goods
- Money lending businesses
- Repair activities (e.g. household appliances, electrical products, footwear, etc.)
Criteria to Qualify for the Home Office Scheme?
To qualify for HOS, you must meet the following criteria:
- A business owner must be the owner of the flat or an authorised person which has been approved by HDB
- They must use the flat as his or her place of residence.
- The flat must not serve as a home office or a registered office for a society.
- The flat must be for residential uses and business activities should be within the premises.
- Premises are primarily for residential purposes with part or parts being used by the occupants as an office.
- Only 2 non-residents (such as employees, partners, and directors) that are part of the business is allowable.
- Owners must ensure that the activities of their business do not cause any disturbance to the neighbours or the residential neighbourhood.
- The businesses must satisfy the performance criteria.
- Any solicitation of business that may cause disturbance to the residents or public are not permissible, i.e. distribution of brochures, flyers or door-to-door visits.
- No selling of physical goods.
- No display of advertisements or posters.
- The business must be in the permitted business section under the Home Office scheme.
- Display of business signage outside the residential premises is a no-no.
- Businesses can receive a termination notice in case of complaints from neighbouring residents.
- There won’t be any increase in the floor area of the building even if there is a change in use of the relevant premises.
- No part of the relevant premises comprises of works that are unauthorised under the Planning Act.
- Obtain any approval from the relevant authority for the change in use of the relevant premises before property renovations.
- Exercise necessary safety precautions to ensure that the business activities do not pose any danger.
- Electricity and structural load must not surpass the normal (residential) load.
- Generate extraneous noise, smoke, odour, liquid waste or dust that could become a nuisance.
- Introduce excessive human or vehicular traffic to the surrounding neighbourhood.
- Adversely affect the character, ambience, and environment of the residential estate.
- Be illegal or unlawful.
- Have any bad and immoral influences.
Your business must fulfill the fire safety requirements imposed by the Fire Safety and Shelter Department, Also, the regulations of other government authorities and licenses/approvals must be present before business can commence.
Chai Chung Hoong, Account Manager
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