Coronavirus pandemic

Developers will work out 'amicable arrangements' with buyers: Redas

The Ministry of Law said it encouraged buyers to seek an extension as needed from the developer. PHOTO: ST FILE

Developers will work out "amicable arrangements" with "genuine home buyers" affected by disruptions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (Redas) said yesterday.

The association was responding to the Ministry of Law's announcement that provisions under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act have been expanded to cover the purchase and lease of homes.

"The enhanced Act will help to provide relief to affected genuine buyers from financial commitments (as well as) time to reach a settlement with developers in good faith," Redas said. "Developers will work out amicable arrangements with their purchasers depending on the merits of each case."

The Ministry of Law said it encouraged buyers to seek an extension as needed from the developer, failing which the buyer may then apply for temporary relief against the developer.

Due to the circuit breaker measures, some financing or legal procedures could have been delayed, noted Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie. "In the past, even if developers were willing to give more time to buyers, they may not be able to do so because of certain guidelines set by the Controller of Housing. Buyers now have more assurance that they can complete these procedures without being penalised," she said.

If parties are unable to agree on the terms of the extension, the buyer may serve a notification for relief (NFR) on the developer. This will temporarily stop the developer from forfeiting booking fees or terminating contracts with buyers, said the Ministry of Law.

An assessor can be called upon if no compromise is reached.

A housing developer may also serve an NFR to seek temporary protection from being sued during the relief period, if it is unable to perform any contractual obligation due to Covid-19.

But Rajah & Tann senior partner Norman Ho said the protection is limited. "This temporary relief will not protect developers from being sued by buyers for not meeting contractual obligations that fall outside the relief period, even if their inability is due to Covid-19-induced delays in construction and manpower shortages."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2020, with the headline Developers will work out 'amicable arrangements' with buyers: Redas. Subscribe