New tenancy committee set up to boost retail, F&B and lifestyle sectors

Updated from : The Straits Times, 27 June 2020

A new initiative is under way to help the retail, food and beverage (F&B) and lifestyle sectors amid the pandemic, said the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) yesterday.

Key representatives among landlords, tenants and industry experts have formed the Fair Tenancy Pro Tem Committee to strengthen collaboration in these industries and increase competitiveness.

It will focus on developing a tenancy framework to deal with present and long-term issues and establish industry norms on tenancy practices and terms.

Mechanisms will also be established to ensure parties comply with the framework, as well as provide a way for them to resolve disputes.

The committee is chaired by Mr Michael Lim, who also chairs financial services firm Nomura Singapore.

He said: “I am heartened that the tenants and landlords have come together… to resolve some of the longstanding issues on rental and tenancy.

“I am confident that the committee will be able to come up with recommendations that will result in win-win solutions for everyone.”

The committee’s first meeting on Thursday reached an agreement on developing a framework that is fair to both landlords and tenants. It will also look into how best to ensure compliance.

SBF chief executive Ho Meng Kit said: “It is timely and imperative that both parties work together to meet the challenges confronting the industry. The formation of this committee is a first step towards bringing about change to the ecosystem.

“This is an industry problem that can be better solved by various stakeholders involved.

“All parties can collaborate to engender the growth of the industry which is facing increasing competition regionally as well as from the online space.”

Landlords are represented by the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) and Reit Association of Singapore (Reitas).

Redas president Chia Ngiang Hong and Reitas president Andrew Lim said in a statement: “The Singapore retail scene is very challenging. We believe that the committee represents an important and timely opportunity for key stakeholders to… (look) for ways to improve existing landlord-tenant practices.”

Tenants are represented by members of the Fair Tenancy Framework Industry Committee, which includes stakeholders from the Singapore Retailers Association, Restaurant Association of Singapore and the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, among others.