Facilitating Seamless, Efficient, & Secure Property Transactions

The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) is chairing the Digitalised Property Transactions Workgroup (PDF,209KB), which comprises industry stakeholders and government agencies who are involved in or support property transactions.

The Workgroup is driving initiatives to streamline and digitalise the property transaction process. This is with a view of enabling the industry to move towards electronic contracts, payments, and document submissions.

These initiative include:

(A) Standard contract templates for residential transactions
(B) Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to enable automated checks
(C) Detailing the steps involved in a residential rental transaction process

(A) Standard contract templates for residential transactions

The Digitalised Property Transactions Workgroup has developed contract templates that are used in rental and sale and purchase of residential property transactions:

Template for HDB flat rental transactions

Template for private residential property transactions

The templates were drafted with input from government agencies, a consumer association, as well as industry associations and practitioners who are experienced in the residential transaction process.

The templates are designed to provide a common industry standard and includes clauses and obligations relating to the main aspects of the transaction that seek to protect and balance the interests of parties involved in a property transaction.

While the templates are just a guide, property agents and consumers who use these templates will save time spent on negotiating contractual terms and conditions, while having the assurance that these are fair to parties in a property transaction.

(B) Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to enable automated checks

Government agencies have made available APIs on property-related government data.

The industry can tap on these APIs to automate due diligence checks (e.g. property ownership, validity of passes for foreign tenants) to meet compliance requirements without compromising data privacy.

With automated processes, parties in a transaction can be assured that due diligence checks have been carried out using government-verified data.

Government agencies that have made property-related data available include:

Government Agencies  API 
Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore Stamp duty-related activities
Urban Redevelopment Authority Approved residential use
Housing & Development Board*
  • Eligibility to rent out flat/bedrooms 
  • Non-citizen quota for renting out of HDB flats
  • Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) and Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) quota
Ministry of Manpower* Work pass validity checks
Singapore Land Authority*
  • Property ownership
  • Property title

*Contact CEA if you are interested in these APIs. ​

(C) Detailing the steps involved in a residential rental transaction process

The Digitalised Property Transactions Workgroup has mapped out the steps involved in a typical residential property rental process. The process can be grouped into three key stages:

1. Listing or searching for a property to rent
2. Confirming the rental
3. Paying stamp duty and starting the tenancy

The Workgroup has also detailed the various checks that should be performed at the different stages of the transaction to protect the interests of parties involved in a rental transaction. These checks can be performed by landlords, tenants, or their property agents.

In addition, the Workgroup has provided easy links to the various online resources that can be used to conduct the necessary checks.

With these, both tenants and landlords can have a better understanding of the residential rental transaction process and the checks that they will need to do to protect their interests. At the same time, property agents can use the information to ensure the steps and checks are carried out as they facilitate rental transactions for their clients.

The three key stages in a typical residential property rental process are as follows:

1. Listing or searching for a property to rent

The rental property journey starts with the advertising of a property for rent or the search for one.

First, landlords and tenants who decide to engage a property agent to facilitate their rental transaction should check CEA’s Public Register to ensure that the agent is registered with CEA before engaging his service.

Checks on landlord
1. Fulfilment of eligibility conditions to rent (for HDB flats)
2. Property usage restriction (if any) - API: Approved residential use for private properties by the Urban Redevelopment Authority
3.  Property ownership details

Checks on tenant

1. Authorised stay in Singapore - For rental to foreign tenants, check the immigration status of each individual.
2. Validity of work permit

Additional checks to be conducted by property agents
 Anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism (PDF,711KB)

2. Confirming the rental

When landlords and tenants have discussed and agreed on the terms of the rental, they should complete these tasks:​

  • For renting of HDB flats, the landlords must first obtain HDB’s approval before they sign a tenancy agreement with the tenant. Tenants and property agents involved should also check that HDB has given its approval before the tenancy agreement is signed.
  • Landlords and tenants should document all the agreed terms of tenancy in the tenancy agreement. Download the standard tenancy agreement templates drafted by the Digitalised Property Transactions Workgroup. 

3. Paying stamp duty and starting the tenancy

After landlords and tenants have signed the tenancy agreement, the timing for handing over the property from landlord to tenant is based on mutual agreement.

Within 14 days of signing the tenancy agreement, stamp duty on the rental must be paid to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). Generally, tenants are responsible for making the stamp duty payment, unless otherwise agreed by the landlord, and can check the amount payable via IRAS’ website.

The party who has agreed to pay the stamp duty should also check that the duty is fully paid by requesting the stamp duty certificate.

Visit IRAS’ website for more information on the stamp duty payment options.