The Housing Developers (Control and Licensing ) Act (the "Act") has been amended with effect from 25 May 2015 to provide private residential home-buyers with additional safeguards by improving the quality of information on housing developments and sale of housing units and requiring housing developers to keep to higher standards of accountability and professionalism. Among other things, there will be a weekly collection and publication of transaction data and new rules to ensure the accuracy of show units.

The key changes are as follows:

Weekly collection and publication of transaction data

Starting from 25 May 2015, housing developers are required to submit detailed transaction information to the Controller of Housing on a weekly basis. Examples of information to be submitted include sales volumes, transacted prices of individual units, and the value of any benefits extended to buyers. The information, which developers are to submit to the Controller of Housing within five days of the end of each preceding week, will be published on the Urban Redevelopment Authority website. The first submission of information will be due on 5 June 2015.

Ensuring the accuracy of show units

The Housing Developers (Show Unit) Rules 2015 have been implemented to ensure show units provided by developers are accurate depictions of housing units offered for sale. For example, the floor area of the show unit must be the same as the depicted unit. Further, external and structural walls must be built, unless they need to be removed to provide access to and from the show unit. If these walls are removed, the position, thickness and width of the removed wall must be clearly marked on the floor and labelled;

Existing show units which have been set up and made available for viewing before 20 July 2015 are exempted from the new show unit requirements. However, the developer must inform purchasers of the differences between the existing show unit and the actual unit as shown in the approved building plan.

More comprehensive information in transaction documents

The Option to Purchase and Sale & Purchase Agreement, which are standard forms prescribed under the Housing Developers Rules, will be amended to enhance the safeguards for purchasers of private residential properties. For example, developers must indicate the value of any benefits offered to buyers. To provide developers sufficient time to comply with the amendments, the changes to the forms will take effect on 20 July 2015.

Enhancing governance of developers

The criteria for the granting of licences to housing developers have been tightened. For example, a licence will not be granted to a developer company with a director who has been convicted of, or has served a sentence of imprisonment for, a fraud or dishonesty- related offence in or outside Singapore within a period of five years before the date of the licence application.

Reference materials

The following materials are available from the Urban Redevelopment Authority website www.ura.gov.sg: