Ministry of Law's Response to ST Forum Letter: Rental relief seeks to preserve as many businesses as possible
24 August 2020 Posted in Replies
We thank Dr Ong Eng Cheng for his letter (“Rental relief unfair to landlords”, 17 Aug).
The rental relief framework provides for a sharing of economic hardship between the Government, landlords and tenants during this period. Landlords benefit if businesses can survive, as this helps the economy and maintains property values and rents.
Under the framework, qualifying tenants will receive up to two months of rental waivers provided by the landlord through Government support, and if they suffer a 35% drop in turnover in the qualifying period, up to an additional two months borne by the landlord. Landlords only waive contractual rent. Maintenance and other service charges continue to be payable.
The Government helps by providing a Property Tax Rebate and cash grant to the landlords. As the Property Tax Rebate and cash grant are calculated based on the property’s annual value, these two components combined may not be exactly equal to the rental waiver provided by the landlord through Government support. Where there is excess cash grant, the landlord can retain it.
We understand that some landlords may face financial hardship, where they are substantially reliant on the rental income. They may apply for an assessment to reduce their rental waiver obligations. The annual value of $60,000 takes reference from the median annual valuation of commercial properties owned by individual owners with one commercial property, while Tax Assessment Year 2019 is a reference point to measure a landlord’s recent annual gross income.
As a self-employed person, Dr Ong can also tap on the Self Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) if he is eligible. Credit reliefs and temporary loans for additional cash flow are also available, through banks and Enterprise Singapore respectively, to support landlords’ cash flow needs.
We understand the difficulties landlords and tenants both face, and seek their understanding and support as we collectively manage the pain caused by COVID-19 together. With the support extended through the rental relief framework and other measures, we hope to preserve as many businesses and jobs as possible, and emerge stronger from this crisis.
Director (Corporate Communications)
Ministry of Law
Last updated on 24 August 2020