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SINGAPORE: Extension of Relief Period for Specified Contracts under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act

The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act ("Act") provides temporary relief for parties that are unable to perform their contractual obligations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amongst its measures, Part 2 of the Act provides relief from certain legal and enforcement measures for prescribed categories of contracts, and Part 8B provides for cost sharing between parties to qualifying construction contracts for additional costs caused by delays.

On 26 March 2021, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Extension of Prescribed Period) Order 2021 extended the relief period to 19 April 2021 for certain measures relevant to the Built Environment and Real Estate sectors. This is to allow Parliament to consider the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment No. 2) Bill 2021 ("Bill"), which the Ministry of National Development intends to introduce on 5 April 2021. The Bill would further extend the relief period to 30 September 2021 for (a) Part 8B of the Act; and (b) construction contracts or supply contracts, or any performance bond granted thereto, under Part 2 of the Act. It would also extend the relief period to 30 June 2021 for options to purchase and sale and purchase agreements with developers under Part 2 of the Act.

Singapore | Real Estate | 30 March 2021
SINGAPORE: COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act: Re-Align Framework Available from 15 January 2021 and Other Additional Reliefs for Built Environment Sector

The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act ("Act") has introduced a series of legal reliefs and mechanisms for businesses and individuals to aid them in managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This Update highlights the key features of the latest temporary reliefs: 

  1. The Re-Align Framework, which facilitates the renegotiation of specified contracts for eligible businesses which are significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to be available from 15 January 2021 to 26 February 2021;
  2. Certain additional reliefs for the Built Environment sector have come into operation on 30 November 2020. These include a universal extension of time to the completion date for eligible construction contracts under Part 8A of the Act, and co-sharing of qualifying costs arising from COVID-19 related project delays for eligible construction contracts under Part 8B of the Act; and
  3. The regulations relating to the property tax rebate have been amended to take into account the Rental Relief Framework via the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Transfer of Benefit of Property Tax Remission) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, which was published on 18 December 2020.
Singapore | Real Estate | 04 January 2021
SINGAPORE: Changes to COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act: Re-align Framework, Additional Reliefs for Built Environment Sector, Fine-tuning Property Tax Rebate Regulations

Amendments to the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act ("Act") were passed in Parliament to supplement the temporary reliefs provided in the Act in the following key aspects:

  1. introducing a new re-align framework for eligible businesses which are significantly affected by COVID-19 to renegotiate specified contracts;
  2. introducing additional reliefs for the Built Environment sector in the forms of: (i) an extension of time to the completion date for eligible construction contracts; (ii) co-sharing of qualifying costs arising from COVID-19 related project delays for eligible construction contracts; and (iii) an avenue for property developers to seek an extension of date of delivery of possession of property and provision of the right for purchasers affected by COVID-19 related delay in delivery of their units; and
  3. fine-tuning the application of the property tax rebate regulations to take into account the rental relief framework provided in Part 2A of the Act.

The Act was enacted in April 2020 to introduce a series of temporary legal reliefs and mechanisms for businesses and individuals to aid them in managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. On 3 November 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment No. 3) Bill ("Bill") providing changes to the Act was passed in Parliament. The changes have yet to come into force.

This Update highlights the salient features of the key changes to be introduced by the Bill and the issues addressed by these new measures.

Singapore | Real Estate | 16 November 2020
SINGAPORE: Additional Temporary Relief Measures for Property Sector due to COVID-19 Pandemic

On 8 October 2020, the Singapore Government announced additional temporary relief measures ("October 2020 Additional Temporary Relief Measures") for the property sector. The October 2020 Additional Temporary Relief Measures, granted in addition to the temporary relief measures announced on 6 May 2020, offer immediate relief for eligible property developers that are affected by and have experienced disruptions to their construction schedules arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, the Singapore Government has emphasised that these temporary relief measures do not alter the Government's prevailing residential property market cooling measures.

This Update highlights the key features of the October 2020 Additional Temporary Relief Measures, summarising the relief granted and the qualifying criteria.

Singapore | Real Estate | 09 October 2020
SINGAPORE: Temporary Measures for Collective Sales under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Temporary Measures for Conduct of Collective Sale of Property) Order 2020

On 5 October 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Temporary Measures for Conduct of Collective Sale of Property) Order 2020 ("Order") was published in the Government Gazette and came into operation on 6 October 2020. The Order temporarily modifies certain select provisions of the Land Titles (Strata) Act to alleviate the profound effects COVID-19 events may have on the collective sales of properties, allowing for applications for extensions of the usual timelines.

This Update highlights the key features of the Order.

Singapore | Real Estate | 08 October 2020
SINGAPORE: Temporary Relief Measures for Tenants and Landlords, Purchasers and Developers in COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Act 2020 (Updated 11 August 2020)

The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 ("principal Act") provides for, among other things, targeted and temporary reliefs for individuals and businesses that are unable to perform certain contracts due to the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19.

On 5 June 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Bill 2020 was passed in Parliament. The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Act 2020 ("Amendment Act") aims to revise the principal Act to provide for, among other changes, relief measures relating to tenants, landlords and intending purchasers, including a framework for rental relief. On 31 July 2020, the provisions in the Amendment Act setting out these relief measures as well as the statutory limit on the amount of late payment interest and charges for arrears under certain prescribed contracts came into force. In this Update, we share with you the key features of the provisions of the principal Act and the subsidiary legislation that deal with these measures.

Singapore | Real Estate | 11 August 2020
SINGAPORE: Temporary Relief Measures for Tenants and Landlords, Purchasers and Developers in the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Amendment Act 2020 (Updated 7 July 2020)

On 5 June 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Bill 2020 was passed in Parliament. The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Act 2020 ("Amendment Act") was gazetted and came into force partially on 20 June 2020. The Amendment Act amends the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 to provide for, amongst other changes, relief measures relating to tenants and landlords, purchasers and developers by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including a framework for rental relief. These changes have yet to come into force.

On 7 July 2020, the Ministry of Law released a note on the rental relief framework in the Amendment Act, providing further details on the entitlement to rental relief and the relevant relief mechanism. The Ministry of Law has also indicated in this note that the rental relief provisions in the Amendment Act will come into force by end-July 2020.

We earlier issued a Client Update highlighting the key measures in the Amendment Act relating to tenants and landlords, intending purchasers and developers.  The write-up has since been updated to reflect the clarifications provided by the Ministry of Law and to keep you in the know on the latest information.

Singapore | Real Estate | 10 July 2020
SINGAPORE: Regulations for Property Owners on Passing on Tax Rebates to Tenants

In response to the commercial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Resilience Budget was announced to grant property tax rebates for qualifying properties for the period of 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020. While the owners of such properties would receive the rebate, owners are expected to pass on the benefit of the rebate to their tenants, if any.

On 13 May 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Transfer of Benefit of Property Tax Remission) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations") came into operation. The Regulations provide further details on how owners are to pass on the rebate, including: (i) the formulae for determining the prescribed amount of benefit that must be passed on to the tenant; (ii) the prescribed manner and time for passing on the benefit; and (iii) the information to be provided to the tenant. In this Update, we highlight the key points of the Regulations that property owners should take note of.

Singapore | Real Estate | 15 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Contracts between Housing Developers and Buyers Added to Scope of COVID-19 Temporary Relief

On 13 May 2020, the Government announced amendments to the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act and the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Temporary Relief for Inability to Perform Contracts) Regulations 2020 (collectively, "Updated Regulations"). The new amendments allow property purchasers of a unit in a housing accommodation from housing developers to obtain temporary relief for their inability to perform their obligations under:

• an option given by a housing developer to an intending property purchaser, and/or

• a sale and purchase agreement between a housing developer and a property purchaser

This Update highlights the key features and implications of the Updated Regulations.

Singapore | Real Estate | 15 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Temporary Relief Measures against Disruptions Caused by COVID-19 and 'Circuit Breaker' Measures for Eligible Property Developers & Married Couples

On 6 May 2020, the Singapore Government announced temporary relief measures for eligible property developers and married couples affected by the COVID-19 'circuit breaker' measures. Eligible property developers will be granted six months' extension of time to comply with the regulatory and authority-imposed timelines / deadlines, including completing the construction of the development projects and selling the units being built, while eligible married couples purchasing a second residential property will be granted an additional six months to sell their first residential property so as to be eligible for a remission of the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty paid on the second property. In this Update, we look at the key elements of these temporary relief measures, as well as their efficacy for property developers.

 

Singapore | Real Estate | 08 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Conducting Meetings Relating to Collective Sale Amid COVID-19

On 27 April 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings for Management Corporations, Subsidiary Management Corporations and Collective Sale Committees) Order 2020 ("Order") was issued to provide for alternative arrangements for the following types of meetings to be conducted by electronic means:

• General meetings of management corporations ("MCs");

• General meetings of subsidiary management corporations; and

• Meetings of collective sale committees ("CSCs").

There are difficulties in conducting general meetings for collective sales (commonly known as en bloc sales) and meetings of CSCs in a manner prescribed in the Land Titles (Strata) Act while the control and elevated safe distancing measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Order, which is deemed to be in force from 27 March 2020, allows such meetings to be conducted, wholly or partially, by electronic means from 27 March 2020 to 30 September 2020. With the exception of meetings of CSCs, they may also be deferred to a date no later than 30 September 2020.

This Update focuses on the key issues to note for holding a general meeting of a MC for the purpose of a collective sale and a CSC meeting by electronic means pursuant to the alternative arrangements set out in the Order.

Singapore | Real Estate | 04 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Measures and Relief against COVID-19 and their Impact on Property Owners and Tenants

A suite of relief measures has been rolled out by the Government through the Unity Budget, the Resilience Budget and the Solidarity Budget given the COVID-19 outbreak. Amongst other things, the measures include property tax rebates for owners of eligible properties and rental waivers for tenants of Government agencies. To supplement these measures, the Government, on 7 April 2020, passed the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 ("Act"). The Act provides targeted and temporary relief for parties that, due to the ongoing COVID 19 outbreak, find themselves unable to perform obligations under the scheduled contracts. This Update provides a summary of these measures and their impact on property owners and tenants.

Singapore | Real Estate | 08 April 2020


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