SME, non-profit tenants in commercial properties to get notice of rental waiver from Oct 6

SINGAPORE – Some small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and non-profit organisation tenants in privately owned commercial properties will receive a notice of rental waiver from the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) from Wednesday (Oct 6).

This comes as the Rental Waiver Framework, under which commercial landlords are required to provide two weeks of rental waiver to eligible SME and non-profit organisation tenant-occupiers, took effect on Tuesday.

The framework, which ensures the fair sharing of rental obligations over the phase two (heightened alert) periods between the Government, landlords and eligible tenants, was introduced in amendments to the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act which were passed last month.

In a statement on Tuesday, MinLaw noted that the notice will be posted to tenants which received the second payout under the Rental Support Scheme (RSS) – a direct rental relief cash payout from the Government to qualifying SME and non-profit tenants in qualifying commercial properties to help defray rental costs during the heightened alert periods.

Receiving the notice does not automatically qualify the tenant for the waiver.

It must send copies of the notice, declaration form and supporting documents to its immediate landlord within 28 calendar days from the date of the notice.

The rental waiver will apply once an eligible tenant sends the documents to the landlord.

It will apply first to any rent owed, including associated interest or charges, for the period from Aug 5 to Aug 18 inclusive. If rent for that period has been paid, the tenant’s rent for the next most immediate month will be reduced by two weeks.

The eligibility criteria to receive the waiver include having suffered at least a 20 per cent drop in average monthly revenue during both phase two (heightened alert) periods, as compared with the phase three period from Dec 28 to May 7.

MinLaw said that tenants may not receive the second RSS payout and/or notice of rental waiver automatically if they rent only part of a property, rent a mixed-use property and/or are a licensee.

If a tenant assesses that it is eligible for the waiver but has not received the second RSS payout and notice by Oct 15, it should apply for the second payout by Nov 12. It will receive a notice subsequently if successful.

Disbursement of the second RSS payout to over 35,800 tenants and owner-occupiers began on Sept 22, with those without PayNow or existing Giro arrangements expected to receive cheques by Wednesday.

The ministry also noted that tenants and landlords are encouraged to work out mutually agreeable arrangements based on their specific circumstances.

However, they may apply for an independent rental waiver assessor to make a determination if they are unable to reach a compromise. There are no charges for making an application.

More details on the framework and application process can be found here.

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