Forum: Landlord's situation not considered by assessor determining rent relief

The Rental Relief Framework targets landlords without recognising that there are small landlords who suffer more than the tenants they are required to support (Small landlords will be put in unfavourable position by Re-Align Framework, Nov 18).

My wife and I operate a meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) business and we invested in a small office space - which is now fully paid for - about 15 years ago for our own use.

As we are now in our 60s and nearing retirement, we decided a couple of years ago to work from home and rent out the unit for some retirement income.

With the onset of the pandemic, all our international events have been cancelled, and on top of having zero income from the Mice business, we are saddled with hefty cancellation penalties.

Under such circumstances, does the Government seriously expect us to support our small and medium-sized enterprise tenant, which suffered much less than us?

The Rental Relief Framework suggests that there are other schemes we can turn to for assistance, but these are deferred payment schemes that we do not need. Furthermore, it makes no sense to ask us to provide support under the rental relief scheme and then seek help from another scheme.

An assessor appointed by the authorities determined that our tenant qualified for the Additional Rental Relief, and that we, the landlord, did not satisfy the criteria for a reduction of that relief as our office space is registered under our private limited company, which is neither an individual nor a sole proprietor.

How is a private limited company owned by two individuals who are near retirement age, and in one of the industries hardest hit by Covid-19 travel restrictions, deemed undeserving of relief compared with an individual or sole proprietor landlord? We were not able to ask that question as the assessor's determination is binding.

There are no other forms of support other than the ones narrowly stipulated in the framework.

The assessment process leaves much to be desired.

Ng Beng Soon

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