Five weird lifestyle-changing factors for HDB Flat

You’ve probably stumbled across this article if you’re kiasu like me – you don’t want to buy your dream HDB flat, be it BTO or resale, only to realize that your dream has somehow warped into a chilling nightmare. Sounds like an exaggeration?

For some of you, it may very well not be. To avoid such a situation occurring, we’d like to present to you five weird lifestyle-changing factors that you should look out for before buying a HDB flat.

Five weird lifestyle-changing factors for HDB Flat

1. HDB Flat Pets

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) is actually extremely strict about the specific types of pets that can be raised in a flat. If you’re planning to get a pet in the future, or you already own one and plan to bring it with you to your new HDB flat, this section is most applicable to you.

Five weird lifestyle-changing factors for HDB Flat

HDB Approved Dog Breeds Source: HDB

Let’s talk dogs. HDB allows for 62 breeds of dogs, and the full list can be found here. However, that’s not all, you can only keep one dog in your HDB flat. And if it is a mixed breed, it can only come up to a maximum height of 55cm.

Five weird lifestyle-changing factors for HDB Flat

Cast are not allowed in HDB flats Source: HDB

Regarding cats, though, HDB actually implemented a rule whereby cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats. We’ve actually covered all the finer details in our article, where we discuss why this rule was implemented, and other alternatives you can explore if you’re adamant on owning a cat.

Other pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, or fish, are fine though. Though, we should mention that if you’re a fan of exotic pets, you do need to take a look at exactly what can and cannot be kept in HDB flats, which you can find on the HDB website.

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 2. HDB Flat Gentrification

Gentrification is a term that’s been on the rise for a while. In a traditional sense, the word is used to describe how a neighbourhood changes to become one that caters more to wealthier households than before.

Five weird lifestyle-changing factors for HDB Flat

Tiong Bahru Bakery Source:Casual Diner

We’ve been seeing something similar in various neighbourhoods, most notably with the example of Tiong Bahru. Tiong Bahru is a neighbourhood in a now-prime region that’s witnessed the emergence of a large number of artisanal cafes. While residents haven’t really been complaining about the changes to the area as they cite Tiong Bahru Market as a highly accessible option for cheap hawker food, this may not be the case for other estates that may undergo gentrification in the near future.

Five weird lifestyle-changing factors for HDB Flat

Tiong Bahru Club Source:SG Magazine

If you’re someone that prefers a wide variety of old school kopi and a delicious hokkien mee full of wok hei flavor over a pleasant cappuccino and a fancy eggs benedict, this may be a factor you want to take into account before you move into your new neighbourhood.

If this seems like a major concern to you, and you’re uncertain as to whether or not a neighbourhood you’re looking to buy a flat in might undergo gentrification, leave your contact details!

Home Quarters would be more than willing to take a look at your options and advise you on how to proceed.

3. HDB Flat with quirky shapes

This section applies more to those buying resale HDB flats; BTO flats today are thankfully shaped in a standardized way. There are some older HDB flats out there who have weirdly shaped floor plans, such as fan-shaped ones, or units that, for some reason, lack corners.

In any case, some of these shapes may not be obvious to you at first glance. This may not always necessarily be a bad thing, though; some owners just take it in stride.

HDB Flat Weird Floorplan

Curve shape corver unit

However, there are some problems that you may see cropping up. The problem that we personally would take the most seriously is the inability to maximize space. Most flats in Singapore are already not as large as most would like; having a shape that, for example, causes your dining table to be unable to fit into a certain corner, would mean that that table would have to be put somewhere else, that could have been empty.

This may give your house an illusion of being more cramped than it actually is. Well, this problem, like many others, can be easily fixed with money. Having a budget to buy or craft customized furniture that best suits the shape of the house, or to fully renovate the house, could possibly guarantee not only a complete utilization of space, but also capitalize on the special shape of the house.

This could also mean that your house looks especially unique and intriguing to guests. But of course, these benefits come at the expense of an increased cost of acquisition of the flat.

Scroll down to download the FREE 15 MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS CHECKLIST before buying HDB flat!

4. HDB Flat Hidden Fees

While HDB flat owners pay less in maintenance fees (officially called the Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC)) than their condominium-owning counterparts, when you’re looking to buy a resale HDB flat, it would be best to look out for any sort of hidden fees that you might have to pay once you move in.

HDB Flat Hidden Fees

These can come in the form of pest problems (paying for a pest exterminator to come in), faulty water heaters (having to replace them in all the toilets), wiring problems (more applicable to those who aren’t planning on renovating their new home), or having to install your own air-conditioning units.

While these may not seem like they cost a lot, you might find better alternative flats that don’t require such troublesome services, despite being just a tiny bit more expensive.

5. Location of flat within the block

A lot of people talk about the floor level of their units as a key factor they take into consideration. Something else you can take into consideration. However, is where exactly your unit is located on whatever floor.

HDB Flat Corridor Unit

HDB Corridor Unit Source:shaheed salim

Take for example, a comparison between a corridor unit and a corner unit. A corner unit usually provides more privacy due to less foot traffic, and would also prevent people from accidentally destroying your houseplants or kicking your shoes by accident. On the other hand, some actually prefer corridor units as they feel less stuffy, and its orientation allows natural light into their living rooms.

HDB Recess Area Source: Fatema Design Studio

Another interesting tidbit here: you know that little area outside your HDB flat along the corridor? You can actually buy that space and have it renovated to your liking. It comes with quite a few conditions though – check out our article we did covering this topic for the specifics!

If this speaks to you, you might want to consider getting a resale flat that has a recess area available for purchase. Another example would be your unit’s proximity to the nearest garbage chute. If you’re like me, and you absolutely hate any form of creepy-crawlies, we would never get a unit that’s anywhere close to the garbage chute.


The five factors we’ve mentioned above are unlikely to apply to everyone – a lot of these factors depend upon your own personal preferences and where your priorities lie when you’re choosing a flat. However, we sure we all want to have every possible factor taken into consideration before buying a house, arguably one of the most important decisions in our lives.

Here at Home Quarters, we won’t just tell you about numbers and facts, but we’ll also pay extremely close attention to every little single preference that you have, talk to you about any future plans, and take a multitude of factors and opinions into consideration before advising you on buying your dream HDB flat.

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We also listed out another 15 IMPORTANT FACTORS BEFORE-YOU-BUY-HDB CHECKLIST for you !!


Contact Us

If you have any questions or want to share any opinions with us regarding this article, simply leave your contact details or send us a quick email ! Alternatively, you can contact us via whatsapp message or call KC at +65 8809 2889! Or direct messages on our Facebook and Instagram pages. 

At Home Quarters, we’re all about quality, efficiency, and most importantly, taking into account what exactly our client wants. If you want to hear about how we do this, take a look at our series Closing Thoughts, where we sit down with our clients after we’ve successfully sold or bought a property on their behalf! 

That’s all for this article! Stay safe, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

Your house determines what pets you can have in Singapore!

Cat lovers, do you know that if you owning a cat in a HDB flat, you can be fined up to $4,000? Certainly, pets could provide some great furry companionship in our lives. However, there are rules to owning pets in Singapore with regards to where you stay. In this article, we will be looking into rules and regulation of owning pets in HDB flats and also private homes. There are exceptions to the rules and regulations too.

Having pets, such as cats in HDB flats

Under the Housing and Development (Animals) Rules 1989, it is illegal to keep cats in your HDB flat. In fact, you will be liable for a fine up to $4,000 if you fail to comply. The reason that cats are prohibited is because “They are generally difficult to contain within the flat. When allowed to roam indiscriminately, they tend to shed fur and defecate or urinate in public areas, and also make caterwauling sounds, which can inconvenience your neighbours.”

What about dogs?

Five weird lifestyle-changing factors for HDB Flat

HDB Approved Dog Breeds Source: HDB

While dogs are allowed in HDB flats, it has to be one of the 62 HDB-approved dog breeds. You can refer to the full list here on the SPCA website. Moreover, only one dog is allowed per household. Dog owners do not need to apply for HDB’s approval to keep the dog as long as it is an approved breed and the dog needs to be licensed by the NParks Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS).

Other pets that are allowed in HDB flats include rabbits, hamster, approved bird breeds, approved fish breeds, crabs, frogs and approved turtle breeds.

For the love of pets..

If you are looking to own a cat or dog that is not one of HDB’s approved breeds, or looking to have multiple dogs, a private property might be a better fit. AVS’s current rule states that a maximum of three dogs is allowed to be kept in any one private residences. Of which, only one Specified dog can be licensed and kept in each private residence.

So what exactly is a Specified dog? These are dog breeds that are reported to be more aggressive, and additional measures such as muzzling, have to be put in place to minimize chances of an attack.

Cats and other legal pets can be kept at private residences but do be mindful that if you are living in a condominium or apartment, there might be other by-laws set by the condominium’s Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) that will restrict the number and type of pets you can own. Do check with the specific MCST or Managing Agent in the Condominium or apartment.

What are the exceptions?

There are exceptions; however, to what is mentioned above regarding pets in HDB and also private housing in Singapore. One such exception is Project ADORE  (ADOption and REhoming of dogs) which have became a permanent scheme in May 2014, the project allows HDB flat owners to adopt and keep bigger local mixed breed dogs, also known as Singapore Specials, which are up to 55 cm in height.

This is a 2 year pilot program that started recently on 1 March 2020 to revise the height criteria from 50 cm to 55cm and the weight criteria of 15 kg to be removed. Under the project, adopters have to abide by stringent ownership conditions and need to sign off on requirements to ensure that their dogs do not cause nuisances to the neighbours in the HDB.

The project has also since been expanded in August 2018 to include a pilot project till early 2022 called K9 Adoption Scheme to allow dog handlers to rehome retired sniffer dogs from Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Singapore Armed Force in HDB flats. There is also a higher possibility to keep more than 3 dogs if the fourth dog is a mongrel adopted from one of the rehoming partners.

Another project called Project Love Cats, which is a pilot project on cat ownership, was launched on 20 October 2012 in Chong Pang and was supported by its Member of Parliament Mr K. Shanmugam. The programme was effected to test a community management framework on responsible cat ownership in HDB estate. To qualify to be a cat owner in Chong Pang HDB estate, cat owners will need to register with the Cat Welfare Society and abide by ownership conditions such as microchipping and sterilisation. The areas covered are only at Old Chong Pang and New Chong Pang. Cat owners, check out if you stay in one of these blocks, if so you will be able to legally keep cats in your HDB without worrying that you will be fine up to $4,000! Looking ahead, whether the pilot Love Cats be expanded to other HDB estate still remains to be seen.

During a parliament sitting on 6 January 2020, Member of Parliament Mr Louis Ng of Nee Soon East asked Minister of National Development Mr Lawrence Wong very recently:

1. What is the rationale for not allowing people living in HDB flats to keep cats; and

2. whether the Ministry is reviewing this rule.

Minister Lawrence Wong replied, HDB’s pet ownership policies have to strike a balance between residents who are pet lovers and those who are not. Irresponsible pet ownership can lead to dis-amenities in the community and cause unhappiness. In the case of cats, dis-amenities include shedding fur, defecating/urinating in public areas, and caterwauling by roaming cats.

Notwithstanding these concerns, HDB recognizes that there are many residents who are cat lovers and who would like to keep cats in their flats. Hence, HDB will continue to review and update its pet ownership policies, together with NParks/Animal & Veterinary Service which is responsible for the broader issue of animal welfare and licensing.

While we would like very much to accommodate the wishes of all pet owners, we also have to take into consideration the views of other home-owners, and take a holistic and balanced approach in addressing this issue.”

For now, it looks like cats are still a no in other HDB flats in Singapore outside of Chong Pang

Contact Us

Pets are lifelong companions and the commitment to care for it is a big responsibility. So much so that it would also affect the type of property that you are looking to purchase next. That is where Home Quarters’ expertise lies.

Come sit down with us to go through which property type is more suitable for you as a whole by going over to or send us an email at or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram.

If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here.

That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!