Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: More help for some landlords facing cash flow issues

New support measures for landlords were announced on June 3. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Landlords facing cash flow constraints as a result of providing relief to tenants under the proposed Covid-19 amendment Bill will get more help with their existing loan commitments and with easing their cash flow needs.

Landlords who are individuals and are current in their loan repayments as at Feb 1 can defer principal and interest repayment up to Dec 31 if they are required to provide tenants with rental waivers or payment rescheduling.

Those who successfully apply for a reduction in rental waivers on the grounds of financial hardship are also eligible for this relief. Interest will accrue only on the principal amount deferred and no interest will be charged on the deferred interest payments. These are among new support measures for landlords announced yesterday by the Ministry of Finance, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore and Enterprise Singapore.

Individual landlords can opt to extend their loan tenure by up to the corresponding deferment period to ease monthly instalments when they resume regular repayments, with no effect on their credit scores. Small and medium-sized enterprise landlords can already apply to defer principal payments on their commercial and industrial property loans. Most of the applications received so far have been approved.

Larger corporate landlords, including real estate investment trusts (Reits) listed on the Singapore Exchange, are encouraged to explore funding solutions with their banks. Some have successfully requested payment deferrals or temporary loan covenant waivers.

The Association of Banks in Singapore said banks will work closely to address any loan covenant breaches as a result of temporary constraints imposed on landlords by the new Bill.

Meanwhile, S-Reits will have more time to distribute at least 90 per cent of their taxable income derived in FY2020 and FY2021 to qualify for tax transparency treatment. They have until Dec 31, 2021 to do so for FY2020's income, and for FY2021, the same date or three months after its end, whichever is later.

Grace Leong

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: More help for some landlords facing cash flow issues. Subscribe