Guidelines on rental contracts issued to employers, dorm operators
As migrant workers are rehoused according to new rules to prevent Covid-19 transmission, guidelines have been set to help dormitory operators and employers come to mutual agreement on existing rental contracts.
The Ministry of Manpower, the Building and Construction Authority and the Economic Development Board said on Monday they have asked that employers resolve outstanding rental arrears with dormitory operators even if contracts have expired, or if they want to terminate or modify existing contracts.
During the pandemic, many workers were moved from their dormitories to other temporary accommodation as the authorities fought to stem the outbreak.
The new guidelines come as employers can choose to rehouse their workers, for instance, so that those working on the same project stay in the same place, or move them around within the same accommodation.
The authorities suggested that employers discuss with dormitory operators how they can segregate workers along those lines, or consider the reasonable termination clauses if offered by the operators.
The authorities also asked dormitory operators to consider allowing existing tenants to terminate rental contracts early if the tenants provide reasonable notice when moving to other accommodation and to waive termination penalties.
Dormitory operators are also encouraged to allow existing tenants to terminate rental contracts without penalties if they are moving to other rooms with different rental rates but are in the same dormitory.
The authorities proposed that operators provide some rental rebate to employers who had temporarily moved their migrant workers to alternative non-government accommodation but continued to pay for their dormitory accommodation with a view to returning.
"This takes into consideration that the operator would not have to incur utilities and manpower costs to take care of the migrant workers who had temporarily moved out of the dormitory," they added.
"Similarly, employers are advised to not demand for a full waiver of the rental fees as operators incur costs in maintaining the empty room during this period."