Singaporean couples fake divorcing for some extra cash
Times are hard and Singaporean couples are doing whatever it takes to get by - even if it means divorcing each other.
It would seem that the ancient marriage vow “Till death do us part” is no longer relevant in Singapore’s current social climate.
A modern replacement for that ancient vow should be; “Till property devalues; do us part.” An apt alternative considered by married couples in Singapore has been to fake their divorce in order to buy new flats to be rented.
According to the senior vice president of the Propnex Group, Lin Yong Fu, such a phenomenon surfaced more than ten years ago. He came to this realization when countless couples came up to a view a house together despite being registered as divorced. Lin found that after these couples divorce, one of them will retain ownership of their marital flat while the other one buys another flat.
- HDB: Housing and Development Board
- It is the statutory board of the Ministry of National Development responsible for housing in Singapore.
- Term is commonly used to refer to low-cost properties built by the board.
- 90% of Singapore’s population lives in a HDB property.
- Under Singapore regulations, only adults above the age of 35, or adults who are married could legally own one HDB property.
- A family could only own one HDB property therefore if two people were to enter into a marriage where each person owns a flat, then one party have to let go of his or her flat.
The way this charade is played is that they will then proceed to rent out one flat to earn rent, while still staying together in the other properly as husband and wife.
The flats rentals typically earn them an extra $2,000 to $3,000 a month. According to Singapore’s regulations, a single person above the age of 35 is eligible to own a flat on their own.
“Such cases where the husband and wife each own a flat, are very difficult to discern as the couples will make their own secret agreements” said Lin.
These are hard times
Singaporean, Thomas Loh sees no problem with this arrangement.
“There is nothing wrong, it is within the permissible limits of the law. Put yourself in another scenario where 2 singles above 35 years old own their own flat but have decided to live together without registering their marriage. Is there any difference compared to the above scenario.”
A quick survey of the local internet forums echoes Loh’s views. Some even went as far as saying that marriage is but a piece of paper, where else property is currency. It is interesting to note that this situation is not unique to Singapore.
In an earlier report last year by China Daily, couples in Shanghai had also faked their divorce and obtained fake divorce certificates to buy properties after the legislation passed a regulation which allowed families to purchase only one apartment.