singapore hdb houses

Common Rules You Must Know When Living in an HDB

With more and more people settling into resold HDB units in Singapore, the need for an awareness of its rules has become more important than ever. Many don’t realize that its established protocols, no matter how simple they may seem, do hold practical value; here we’ll discuss some of the most common ones:

Respect Public Areas

Many don’t need this reminder, but for the few who do, here’s what to do – treat the public area as it is designated. That is, as something everyone has a right to use but no one has the right to own. You cannot do whatever you want with it. Do your best to:

  • Keep it clear of any personal debris. Potted plants, damp hung laundry, and other large objects are often deposited there to save on living space, but it is highly inappropriate. Not only will it block the public area’s overall accessibility but it will also make it look aesthetically displeasing.
  • Free the staircases and its immediate landing areas. Leaving anything there will have a large chance of hindering escape attempts in case of fire or other catastrophes.
  • Maintain common areas as no smoking zones and restrict yourself to only doing so when within the confines of your own home or when outside of the building completely.

photo of a small pug pet


Take Care of your Pets

Similar to those who live in condominiums, residents of HDB flats must also ensure that their pets are always kept in line. That is, if they’re even allowed in the first place: cats are completely banned and only one dog is allowed, provided that it is one of the approved breeds in this list. Other small animals, such as fish, hamsters, birds, and the like are allowed too. For more information visit the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s (AVA) Website.


cleaning the floor with a mop


Keep Your Environment Clean

  • Do not vandalize. Never mutilate your surroundings, especially if it is not your property. Take note that this rule does not apply to just HDB flats but to all of Singapore.
  • Do not throw objects outside. Dispose of your garbage – properly bagged – through either the in-unit or universal trash chutes. Also abstain from throwing items out the building in a haphazard manner, especially if you live on a high floor as the falling object may unwittingly injure those below.
  • Do not make noise. While most neighbors are very lenient when it comes to noise, still do your best not to make too much of a fuss. Be conscious of those around you and avoid doing things like playing music too loudly or holding social gatherings late into the night. However, if you find that it’s your neighbor who’s making all the noise and won’t stop, then don’t hesitate to file a formal complaint against them.


In truth, living in an HDB isn’t as different as it would be if you lived in a condominium or a full-on residential area. As long as you live moderately, cleanly, and responsibly while maintaining civility with everyone around you, then you should be fine.