28 July 2020

On 7 July 2020, the Ministry of Law (“MinLaw”) issued a note (“Note”) on the rental relief framework set out under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Act 2020 (“Rental Relief Law”). The Rental Relief Law, passed in Parliament on 5 June 2020, provides rental relief to help small and medium enterprise (“SME”) tenants (including sub-tenants and licensees) who have been affected by Covid-19. The Note elaborates on the businesses which qualify and the amount of relief provided under the Rental Relief Law, as well as the steps to be taken by the relevant businesses.

The following table summarises the relief provided under the Rental Relief Law:

Type of relief

Duration of rental relief for qualifying commercial properties

Duration of rental relief for industrial/office properties

Rental relief for eligible SME
(supported by Government assistance)

2 months
(April to May 2020)

1 month
(April 2020)

Additional rental relief for eligible SMEs

2 months
(June to July 2020)

1 month
(May 2020)


4 months
(April to July 2020)

2 months
(April to May 2020)

(Source: MinLaw website www.mlaw.gov.sg)

Qualifying businesses and amount of relief provided

Tenant-occupiers who are SMEs with ≤S$100 million in annual revenue reported in the Year of Assessment 2019 will receive two months’ rental waiver if they are in qualifying commercial properties (e.g. F&B, or retail shops), and one month’s rental waiver if they are in industrial/office properties.

Further, additional rental relief (“Additional Rental Relief”) will apply to tenant-occupiers who (a) have suffered ≥35% drop in average monthly revenue on an outlet level from April to May 2020, compared to April to May 2019; and (b) are SMEs at the group level (≤$100 million revenue based on the latest available accounts). The Additional Rental Relief provides two months’ rental waiver for qualifying commercial properties and one month’s rental waiver for industrial/office properties. This may be halved if the landlord is suffering financial hardship.

The rental relief framework applies to qualifying leases or licences (a) entered into before 25 March 2020; or (b) entered into before 25 March 2020 but expired and renewed either automatically or in exercise of a right of renewal in the contract.

The rental waivers exclude service and maintenance fees, which will still be payable to the landlord. Any monetary payments or rental reductions agreed between the landlord and the tenant from February 2020, including the passing on of property tax rebates, can be counted towards the landlords’ obligations across the relief period.

Steps to be taken

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore will issue a notice of cash grant to qualifying property owners from end-July 2020. Once the notice is issued, the rental is treated as waived under the Rental Relief Law. Landlords are obliged to notify their tenants. No action is required on the part of the eligible tenants.

Eligible tenants need not pay rent for the period covered by the rental relief framework. If rent has already been paid, the tenant can either apply the rental waivers to the next immediate month(s) of rent, or if this is not possible, get a refund from the landlord.

To prove their eligibility for the Additional Rental Relief, tenants may, where necessary, be required to share relevant information with their landlords. This may include signed/declared management accounts for the relevant months, or if these are not available, a statutory declaration from the tenant.

Tenants who are unable to pay their rent due to Covid-19 and require protection from legal or enforcement proceedings by their landlords may serve a Notification for Relief (“NFR”) under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 using the form accessible at www.go.gov.sg/nfr. After the NFR is served, the landlord may not evict the tenant or terminate the lease for the prescribed period (up until 19 October 2020).

Tenants who do not qualify for relief and who do not pay rent will be subject to the consequences spelt out in the contract, including paying the rent accrued, and any applicable interest and charges.

Reference materials 

The Note is available from the MinLaw website www.mlaw.gov.sg or by clicking here.