On 10 September 2018, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong answered questions about the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) in Parliament*. One of the key points stated was how VERS could involve private developers. This statement gives owners of older HDB flats even more hope, since private developer interest could perhaps translate to a higher payout for chosen flats. In other words, VERS would sound even more attractive to flat owners, as opposed to letting the 99-year lease run to zero.
Minister Wong, however, qualified his statement, reiterating that specific details relating to VERS are still being ironed out. Fair enough, as the scheme could either be a spectacular success or failure depending on the details, and the government should do all the due diligence it has to do to avoid irreversible and damaging issues down the road. It also has time on its side, as the oldest flats still have more than a decade to go before they reach the 70 year mark — the age where flats will be considered for en bloc redevelopment under VERS.
*Good news for flat owners, as Minister Wong also stated that VERS will not affect existing plans for HDB’s Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).
Although VERS has received more scrutiny in Parliament, there are still the below issues the government needs to address. Doing so as soon as possible is important, as it’s vital to help flat owners plan ahead.
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