Can I buy a HDB flat if I’m bank­rupt?

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Beauty News -

Yes. You can buy a five-room HDB flat or smaller with­out the con­sent of your Of­fi­cial As­signee. For a HDB ex­ec­u­tive or maisonette flat, you will need to seek spe­cial per­mis­sion and pro­vide proof that you can af­ford, and need, such a big flat.

Can I travel?

You’ll need to ap­ply for per­mis­sion from your Of­fi­cial As­signee at least 14 days be­fore your trip, and fur­nish the rea­sons, des­ti­na­tion and length of travel. Tech­ni­cally, if you’re bank­rupt, you are not al­lowed to pay for hol­i­days. If your friend is pay­ing for the trip, you will need to pro­vide his de­tails. But in re­al­ity, leisure trips are rarely ap­proved.

Work trips will have to be sup­ported by a com­pany let­ter. If your job in­volves fre­quent travel, you can make a block book­ing for your travel pe­ri­ods in­stead of ap­ply­ing for each trip. How­ever, fi­nal ap­proval will de­pend on your Of­fi­cial As­signee’s re­view of your per­for­mance.

If you at­tempt to leave the coun­try and get stopped at Cus­toms, your pass­port will be im­pounded. If you travel with­out per­mis­sion, you can ex­pect to be fined up to $10,000 and/or be jailed up to two years.

How else will bank­ruptcy af­fect my lifestyle?

You can’t own a car but you can still drive a ve­hi­cle that doesn’t be­long to you, sub­ject to the ap­proval of your Of­fi­cial As­signee. He or she will also ad­vise you on other dos and don’ts. For ex­am­ple, you must take public trans­port, you can­not dine at restau­rants or pur­chase lux­ury goods, or even en­joy frills like sub­scrib­ing to ca­ble TV. Any gift you re­ceive has to be de­clared.

You can­not be a busi­ness owner or com­pany di­rec­tor un­less you have the go-ahead from your Of­fi­cial As­signee, who must also ap­prove any as­set sale. Bor­row­ing money? Any­thing more than $500 and you will have to de­clare your bank­ruptcy sta­tus to the len­der.

How do I get dis­charged from bank­ruptcy?

Cur­rently, bankrupts in Sin­ga­pore are not au­to­mat­i­cally dis­charged from bank­ruptcy.

You have to set­tle your debts in full or make a set­tle­ment of­fer that is ac­cepted by the ma­jor­ity of your cred­i­tors, who must rep­re­sent at least 75 per cent of your to­tal debt. If your cred­i­tors agree, you will be is­sued a cer­tifi­cate of an­nul­ment of the Bank­ruptcy Or­der. How­ever, this only ab­solves you of the debts that were filed dur­ing your bank­ruptcy.

Another way is to ap­ply to the High Court to seek an or­der of dis­charge; if your debts ex­ceed $500,000, the ap­pli­ca­tion has to be filed by your Of­fi­cial As­signee. The High Court will con­sider fac­tors such as your Of­fi­cial As­signee’s re­view, the amount of monthly in­stal­ment pay­ments you’ve made to your bank­ruptcy es­tate, as well as your age, earn­ing ca­pac­ity and as­sets, be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion. Of course, be­ing co­op­er­a­tive and com­mit­ted to set­tling your debts, and not com­mit­ting any of­fences dur­ing your bank­ruptcy, will also work in your favour.

You can also get your Of­fi­cial As­signee to give you a Cer­tifi­cate of Dis­charge if you have been bank­rupt for at least three years and your debts do not ex­ceed $500,000. Fac­tors like your con­duct and how regularly (and how much) you’ve made monthly pay­ments to your bank­ruptcy es­tate will be taken into ac­count. The de­ci­sion will also hinge on whether your cred­i­tors agree to your dis­charge.

If the pro­posed changes to the Bank­ruptcy (Amend­ment) Bill go through, a new frame­work will help bankrupts get dis­charged more easily. They will pay a tar­get con­tri­bu­tion, cal­cu­lated based on their earn­ing po­ten­tial, to get them on track to clear­ing their debts. Even if they can­not pay off the full amount, first-time bankrupts will be dis­charged af­ter seven years while re­peat bankrupts will have to wait nine years.

How­ever, un­der the pro­posed reg­u­la­tion, bankrupts will not be au­to­mat­i­cally re­moved from the public records five years af­ter their dis­charge, as per the cur­rent prac­tice. Those who do not pay their tar­get con­tri­bu­tion in full prior to their dis­charge will be listed per­ma­nently. This will help cred­i­tors de­cide if they are will­ing to of­fer loans to a for­mer bank­rupt.

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