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Parliamentary Replies

Extension of Rental Waivers to Sub-Tenants and Licensees at Government-Owned Properties

04 May 2020

Parliamentary Question by Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong:

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance whether sub-tenants/licensees of Government-owned properties, including coffeeshop stallholders, have any recourse to seek rental waivers provided to tenants as part of the COVID-19 measures but which have not been passed on to the subtenants/licensees by the tenants, especially where the sub-tenancy/licence agreements require the regular payment of rent instead of alternative methods of profit sharing or remuneration between the parties.

Parliamentary Reply by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat:

Mr Speaker, may I request that Question Number 35 be redirected from the Minister for National Development to me as the Minister for Finance, please.

2. The Government has a total of about 37,700 tenants who will benefit from the rental waivers. 

3. We recognise that there may also be sub-tenancies under some of these main or master tenants. This is why the Government requires all master tenants to sign a written undertaking to pass on at least 80% of the rental waiver granted by the Government to eligible sub-tenants, including coffeeshop stallholders. The requirement to pass on at least 80% of the rental waiver took into account that master tenants may have to incur costs for the space, such as maintenance and cleaning. 

4. The written undertaking is legally enforceable, and agencies can withhold the rental waiver or even take tenancy action as a last resort if the rental waivers are not passed on to the sub-tenants.

5. If Members of this House encounter any sub-tenant who did not receive Government rental waivers passed down from their master tenants, please direct them to notify the landlord agency who will assist to enforce the rental waiver pass-through. 

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