Additional relief for property developers affected by pandemic

Construction firms are being given more time to complete residential, commercial and industrial developments.
Construction firms are being given more time to complete residential, commercial and industrial developments.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Additional temporary relief measures were unveiled yesterday for property developers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

They involve extending various project completion deadlines by a further six months to give construction firms more time to complete residential, commercial and industrial developments, given the delays caused by industry lockdowns and staff quarantine.

The extended deadlines come on top of the six-month extension announced on May 6.

Another relief measure announced yesterday extends the commencement and completion of residential projects in relation to the remission of the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) by a further six months, making the total extension 12 months.

An additional extension of up to six months will also be granted for residential projects under the qualifying certificate (QC) regime for foreign housing developers. This brings the total extension to up to 12 months.

The Ministries of National Development, Finance, Law, and Trade and Industry noted in a joint statement that developers have raised concerns regarding the additional costs and financial penalties that may be incurred because of delays due to the pandemic.

For instance, while almost all construction projects have resumed work, the full resumption of on-site operations has remained a challenge with workers being placed under quarantine if they have come in close contact with a Covid-19 case, the ministries said.

They also noted that worksite practices that require redesign for safe distancing have affected construction timelines.

"With these additional support measures, the Government expects developers to continue to similarly provide relief and support to their main contractors," said the ministries.

They added that additional relief measures will be implemented as necessary so that "no stakeholder bears an undue share of the burden imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic".

Qualifying conditions for the new extensions remain the same as those announced on May 6, when temporary relief measures were initiated.

Land for residential projects must have been bought on or before June 1, or the land was directly alienated or had its lease renewed by the Singapore Land Authority on or before June 1. In addition, the original timeline for completion of the development would have expired on or after Feb 1.

Similar conditions also apply to the commencement and completion of residential developments under the ABSD regime.

The additional extension now means eligible residential developers have three years to start building a project instead of two years without the relief measures.

Licensed developers will have six years to complete units in projects in relation to the remission of ABSD, instead of the usual five years.

However, there will be no further extension of the specified timeline to sell all units in the residential development.

No applications for the extension are necessary.

Land for commercial and industrial projects must have been awarded on or before June 1 this year or the land was directly alienated or had its lease renewed by the Singapore Land Authority on or before June 1. The original timeline for completion of the project must also have expired on or after Feb 1 this year.

Eligible developers will be notified, and no applications are necessary.

The project completion period for foreign housing developers, which is now five years, will be extended by up to an additional six months on application for eligible residential projects under the QC regime, on top of an extension of up to six months announced in May.

However, no further waiver of extension charges to extend the existing deadline to dispose of all units in the residential development project will be granted.

Developers who have already applied for an extension of completion deadlines under the measures announced on May 6 will automatically be granted a six-month waiver of extension charges.


Correction note: This article has been edited for accuracy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2020, with the headline 'Additional relief for property developers affected by pandemic'. Print Edition | Subscribe