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Landlords say they have been providing rental support to tenants since Singapore first went into heightened alert

SINGAPORE — Several landlords in Singapore insisted on Friday (July 23) that they have been providing rental support in some form, as well as other types of assistance, since as far back as May during the first heightened alert to curb a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Chairs stacked on tables at a restaurant in Bedok Mall on the first day of the return to Phase 2 (heightened alert) on July 22, 2021.

Chairs stacked on tables at a restaurant in Bedok Mall on the first day of the return to Phase 2 (heightened alert) on July 22, 2021.

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  • Several landlords said they have been providing rental support to tenants affected by Covid-19 restrictions
  • They also said they are committed to work with their tenants through this challenging period
  • The property manager of Suntec City mall said it cut rent by up to 50 per cent for most tenants in May
  • It will provide a similar level of support this time
  • Other landlords did not go into details except to say they will provide rental and marketing assistance


SINGAPORE — Several landlords in Singapore insisted on Friday (July 23) that they have been providing rental support in some form, as well as other types of assistance, since as far back as May during the first heightened alert to curb a spike in Covid-19 cases.

In response to queries from TODAY, seven owners of commercial properties added that they are committed to working alongside their tenants through these tough times, as food-and-beverage (F&B) establishments and retail outlets face declining sales due to stricter public health safety regulations.

The Government’s Covid-19 task force recently announced that Singapore would be returning to Phase 2 (heightened alert) again from July 22 to Aug 18, where social gatherings would be cut to a maximum of two people and dining out is not allowed.

On Wednesday, an alliance of trade associations representing F&B and retail tenants banded together and appealed for further assistance, warning that more of them will shut if help is not provided.

In particular, the alliance said that the vast majority of frontline businesses did not receive significant support from landlords in the form of rental reliefs since Phase 2 (heightened alert) began.

However, several major landlords in Singapore said that they had done so when TODAY asked them how much support had been given to tenants.

Mr Ivan Koh, chief executive officer of APM Property Management, which manages Suntec City mall, said that it had cut the rent for most of its tenants by up to 50 per cent during the first round of Phase 2 (heightened alert) in May and it will continue to provide a similar level of rental relief this time round.

Since the second half of last year, Mr Koh said that Suntec City has restructured the rent of its most affected tenants to a lower base rent, with a higher portion of rent derived from their gross turnover. Lease renewals also follow this new rent structure.

“(This) reflects our commitment to share business risks with our tenants during these challenging times. The level of rental support provided to our mall tenants has exceeded the support granted by the Government in 2020 and 2021,” Mr Koh said.

Other landlords such as Frasers Property Retail, Mapletree, CapitaLand and UOL did not go into detail about the rental support they are going to render for this current round of restrictions except to say that they will continue to help their tenants through rental assistance.

City Developments (CDL) did not directly respond to TODAY’s queries but referred to its press release on Wednesday, which stated that it will restructure the rent of badly affected tenants, as well as allow for flexibility in making payments for those facing cash flow issues.

Mercatus, the real estate arm of NTUC Enterprise, also pointed to its Thursday press release, which stated that it was going to ”extend rental, operational and marketing support to affected tenants as (it had) done previously”.

NTUC Enterprise is the social enterprise arm of labour movement National Trades Union Congress. 

Some property developers added that they will be extending the grace period of free parking to 30 minutes for mall visitors.

Besides rental support, UOL said that it will be rewarding shoppers with promotions, as well as discounts on food delivery orders from its F&B tenants, while CapitaLand and CDL said that it will waive the commission fees for tenants who sign up on their digital platforms.

Some landlords said that they have been supporting tenants since the start of the pandemic and will continue to do so.

UOL said that the company and its subsidiary Singland have provided rental assistance of more than S$50 million to a large majority of their retail tenants during the two-month circuit breaker last year, which halted most economic and social activities, as well as the earlier heightened alert period in May.

Mapletree Commercial Trust said that since the start of the pandemic until March 31 this year, it has rolled out support packages for eligible tenants that helped them offset more than four months of their fixed rents on average.

In its release, CDL said that it has committed more than S$40 million in property tax and rental rebates to Singapore and overseas tenants since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

Close to 90 per cent of CDL’s retail tenants received rental assistance during the first round of the heightened alert phase.

Mercatus said that it rendered rental relief support amounting to more than S$76 million to its tenants.

On Friday, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced that it will be providing a two-week rental relief cash payout for eligible tenants at privately owned commercial properties under the Rental Support Scheme, as part of a S$1.1 billion package to help affected businesses during this ongoing heightened alert phase.

This scheme was first announced in May as part of the support package to help businesses affected by the restrictions imposed then. It had the same set of support measures for rental relief at the time.

In Friday’s announcement, the ministry said that it has received feedback from tenants that landlords have not been forthcoming despite the Government urging them to provide rental support. Hence, it would be looking to compel landlords to share rental obligations with eligible tenants, to ensure fair burden sharing.

None of the landlords TODAY approached responded to queries on MOF’s plans.

Related topics

Covid-19 coronavirus retail landlord tenants F&B business

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