Singapore

Update on fair tenancy framework coming within months: Chan Chun Sing

Work is progressing on a fair tenancy framework that will establish industry norms on tenancy practices and terms, with an update expected within months, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.

The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) has taken the lead and formed sub-committees comprising both landlords and tenants, he said in a virtual briefing. "We'll be able to see some progress in the coming quarter, and I hope to receive their preliminary report soon."

Simmering tensions between landlords and tenants bubbled over in recent months, as retailers, restaurants and lifestyle establishments fought for rental relief amid pandemic-related restrictions.

A committee comprising representatives of various business associations is seeking legislation to address what it claims is a growing power imbalance tilted in favour of landlords. Its proposals include rental data transparency and a dispute resolution channel.

The SBF said in June that a separate committee comprising key stakeholders had been convened to strengthen collaboration and develop a framework that is fair to both sides.

Noting that rent contributes to the high fixed costs that bricks-and-mortar retailers face, Mr Chan said businesses can mitigate this by changing their business model and growing their topline.

One way to do this is to expand overseas through online channels, he said, adding that retailers can break new ground by going beyond the domestic market.

They will also need to adjust to new consumer behaviours and create unique selling propositions, while adding value in areas such as service and design. If this can be accomplished, "our retail sector will have brighter prospects going forward", Mr Chan said. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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