How to Get Started?
You can use your flat to conduct a business’s administrative services and recruit up to two non-resident employees.
Your apartment must always be used as a residence. Business operations must be restricted to the apartment and must not cause inconvenience to your neighbours.
Home Office Scheme Application
To utilize your flat under the Home Office Scheme, you must apply for a Home Office Licence. The permit is valid for the term of the home office operation. If you violate the terms of the license, it may be revoked.
Go to GoBusiness Licensing to apply for the Home Office Licence. An administrative fee of $20/- (non-refundable) applies. Please prepare the following for the application:
- Credit card (Visa or Mastercard) for payment
You will receive an acknowledgement at the email address provided by you, upon completion of the application.
More details for your application on the License Application and Management here.
Home Office Scheme Requirements
- The person(s) conducting the business must be the flat owner, registered occupier, or tenant of the HDB apartment and must continue to use the flat as a place of living. The commercial activity must be conducted entirely within the flat.
- Up to two non-residents, including employees, partners and directors, are allowed to be engaged in the business at the Home Office unit.
- The company should not be on the list of non-permitted firms under the Home Office system.
- The company’s actions must not be illegal, criminal, or immoral (e.g. gambling or pornography-related activities).
- The business must not create noise, smoke, odours, chemical/liquid waste, or dust that could constitute a nuisance to your neighbours, nor could it add extraneous people or automobile traffic to the surrounding neighbourhood.
- The business activities must not have a negative impact on the residential estate’s character, atmosphere, or environment.
- There shall be no solicitation of business that may cause annoyance to other residents or members of the public (e.g. distribution of brochures and flyers, or door-to-door visitations). There should be no marketing of actual things in or around your apartment.
- There must be no advertisements, signage, or posters displayed in your apartment.
- The applicant shall take all essential safety procedures and guarantee that the company activities do not endanger human lives or cause property damage.
- Electricity consumption and structural load must not exceed the average home load. The storage and use of dangerous chemicals and/or hazardous substances is strictly forbidden.
- Before starting a business, it must comply with the regulations of other government agencies and receive the necessary licenses/approvals. Visit the GoBusiness Licensing Portal to look for any licenses or approvals that may be needed for your business.
- Under the H&D Act, no part of the flat may contain unapproved works.
- According to the Fire Safety and Shelter Department’s (FSSD) fire safety criteria, the applicant must install the following in the office area:
- Minimally an 8A/34B ABC Dry Chemical Powder fire extinguisher (available at DIY shops)
- A single-station smoke detector (battery operated; no wiring needed; available at DIY shops)
- *Note: This FSSD safety requirement is mandatory as the papers, files, and office equipment in a home office pose a slightly higher risk than those in ordinary flats, thus the need for a fire extinguisher and smoke detector. If you have any enquiries on the fire safety requirements, please email SCDF_qp_consultant@scdf.gov.sg.
- If the individual submitting the application form is not the owner of the unit, prior written authorization from the owner is required.
- For the Home Office application, the required application fees must be paid.
Examples of Home Office Scheme Permitted and Non-Permitted Businesses
Here are some instances of home office enterprises that are both permitted and not permitted.
Any Home Office Scheme-related business activity must be administrative in nature. All other commercial activity must be carried out elsewhere, and no clients or customers may visit the flat.
Examples of Permitted Businesses
- Accountancy services
- Architectural services
- Consultancy services (business, engineering, IT, management or education)
- Design/Advertising services
- Insurance/Financial planning services
- Real estate agencies
- Technology-based and knowledge-intensive businesses
- Trading office (excluding car trading office)
Examples of Non-Permitted Businesses
- Beauty, hairdressing or massage therapy services
- Contractors Business
- Car trading business
- Card reading/palm reading or fortune telling in any form
- Commercial school (e.g. dance, music, language, tuition centre, etc.)
- Courier business
- Classes on dress-making/embroidery
- Clinics and pharmacies (e.g. dental, medical, veterinary, ophthalmology, etc.)
- Food catering/restaurants
- Funeral chapels or homes
- Maid/employment agency
- Manufacturing, preparation of processing of ANY products and goods
- Money lending business
- Repair activities (e.g. household appliances, electrical products, footwear, etc.)
- Sales/marketing that involves conducting seminars and talks for a large number of customers
- Shops and any form of retail activity, including pet shops
Visit the Home Office Scheme Conditions of Use to check on the latest requirements.
Home Office Scheme FAQs
You can look through frequently asked questions from previous home office scheme applicants to see whether yours has already been answered. Here is a link to the HDB Home Office Scheme FAQ.