Stefanie Yuen Thio quoted in ST: “New Bill could level playing field between landlords and tenants”

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News

28 May 2020

Stefanie Yuen Thio quoted in ST: “New Bill could level playing field between landlords and tenants”

Features Stefanie Yuen Thio

TSMP Law Corporation Joint Managing Partner and Head of Corporate Stefanie Yuen Thio was quoted in a story by The Straits Times published on 28 May 2020 on the upcoming tenant relief bill that will see landlords having to pass on property tax rebates to SME tenants, and granting temporary relief from contractual terms such as late payment interest / fees.

She said that if costs other than payroll expenses, such as rent, are not reduced, firms cannot survive to keep workers employed.

What would be ground-breaking is if the new Bill rewrites some of the terms after the contract is in force, she noted.

She added: “That said, I think it is the right thing to do – the pandemic is unprecedented and the market cannot rely on (every) landlord to do the right thing. Whether the Bill will lead to a more lasting change to the landlord and tenant framework is a more difficult question to tackle. While you can justify having statutory restrictions on undesirable business practices, such as when terms are too onerous, I would be against a Bill that attempts to put too many limits on the ability of landlords to negotiate contract terms. This may lead to depressed real estate prices, which would have a knock-on effect on every land owner in Singapore.”