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Landlords and tenants form committee to discuss rent, tenancy issues

INDUSTRY bodies representing landlords and tenants in Singapore have formed a temporary committee to discuss long-standing issues on rental and tenancy, and aim to complete deliberations by year end. 

The committee, called the Fair Tenancy Pro Tem Committee, is set up under the auspices of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and chaired by Nomura Singapore chairman Michael Lim. 

It involves the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (Redas) and Reit Association of Singapore (Reitas), whose members come from the majority of the largest commercial landlords in Singapore. The committee also involves members of the Fair Tenancy Framework Industry Committee (FTFIC), which was formed last month to lobby for legislation to address what has been perceived as an imbalance of power between landlords and tenants. 

FTFIC comprises representatives from SBF's SME Committee, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Restaurant Association of Singapore, Singapore Retail Association and Singapore Tenants United for Fairness.

In a statement on Friday, the Pro Tem Committee said it had its first meeting on Thursday, when parties shared some of their "long-standing concerns" and clarified their perspectives.

They also discussed FTFIC's recommendations and subsequently agreed that some recommendations could be resolved in the near term, while others would need "further deliberations". 

As a next step, the committee said, members have agreed to form working groups to look into specific areas.

"It is timely and imperative that both parties work together to meet the challenges confronting the industry. The formation of this committee is a first step towards bringing about change to the ecosystem," said SBF chief executive Ho Meng Kit. 

Ongoing tensions between landlords and tenants were exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic, when some landlords were viewed as being reluctant to lend help despite having reaped years of profits at their tenants' expense. 

The issue also thrust what tenants have perceived to be an unequal relationship with landlords and unfair clauses in tenancy agreements under the spotlight, leading some quarters to lobby for fairer tenancy practices. 

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