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Over 38,400 tenants, owner-occupiers to get direct govt rental relief from Aug 6: Lawrence Wong

SINGAPORE — More than 38,400 tenants and owner-occupiers of some commercial properties will receive rental relief directly from the Government from Friday (Aug 6), two weeks ahead of schedule.

An empty food court at Bugis Junction mall in July 2021.

An empty food court at Bugis Junction mall in July 2021.

SINGAPORE — More than 38,400 tenants and owner-occupiers of some commercial properties will receive rental relief directly from the Government from Friday (Aug 6), two weeks ahead of schedule.

The Rental Support Scheme, announced by Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in May, helps businesses with rental costs during the period of tightened restrictions as Singapore went on heightened alert against Covid-19 in May.

The payout is equivalent to half a month of rent for the period between May 14 and 29, Mr Wong said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Singapore entered its first heightened alert phase from May 16 to June 13 to curb a spike in coronavirus infections. 

Small- and medium-sized enterprises and eligible non-profits with a yearly revenue of up to S$100 million that are tenants or owner-occupiers of qualifying commercial properties are eligible for the relief.

Qualifying commercial properties include restaurants, hotels and convention centres.

In all, more than S$216 million will be paid out to eligible tenants and owner-occupiers from Friday, the Ministry of Finance and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore said in a statement. 

The second tranche, which will cover the present heightened alert restrictions from July 22 to Aug 18, will be disbursed in October.

This payout will also cover half a month of rent.

The authorities will provide another update closer to the disbursement of funds.

This is the first time that the Government is providing tenants with direct rental help without going through landlords. 

Last month, an alliance of trade associations representing food-and-beverage and retail tenants said that the vast majority of front-line businesses did not receive significant support from landlords in the form of rental relief since heightened alert restrictions began in May.

Mr Wong said in his statement on Facebook that distributing the payouts directly to tenants would allow them to receive help with rents promptly and reduce the compliance burden on landlords.

“I hope this rental relief will help with your cash flow in this period of ‘heightened alert’. Let's stay united and focused on the road ahead of us — I'm confident we can overcome this challenge together,” he said.

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