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Government to introduce legislation to make landlords pass on property tax rebates to tenants 'in full'

Government to introduce legislation to make landlords pass on property tax rebates to tenants 'in full'

File photo of the shop houses along Clarke Quay, a popular spot for nightlife in Singapore (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: The Government will introduce new legislation when Parliament sits next week to require non-residential landlords to pass on property tax rebates announced in this year's Budget and Supplementary Budget to their tenants "in full".

In his Budget Speech and subsequent Supplementary Budget, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced property tax rebates of up to 100 per cent for non-residential properties for the tax payable this year, to help businesses deal with the impact from COVID-19.

READ: COVID-19 Resilience Budget: ‘Landmark’ S$48 billion package to tide Singapore through ‘unprecedented’ crisis

While some property owners are fully passing on their rebate to tenants, the authorities have received feedback about others who have not, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a media release on Thursday (Apr 2).

As such, the proposed legislation will ensure that property owners who have not passed on the rebate will do so, said the ministry.

For most properties, a 100 per cent property tax rebate works out to more than one month's rent, according to MOF. 

If passed, the proposed provisions and subsequent subsidiary legislation will impose an obligation on landlords to pass on the full amount of the property tax rebate they receive for each of their tenanted property.

For instance, under the proposed provisions, if a property tax account is for premises wholly rented out to a tenant, the owner is required to pass the rebate received to the tenant in full.

READ: Tenants need ‘unprecedented’ rent relief amid COVID-19 outbreak, say retail and F&B groups

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The proposed provisions will also set out a timeline for the rebate to be passed on and prohibit property owners from imposing conditions when passing on the rebate.

They will also allow for a review panel of members from the valuation review board constituted under the Property Tax Act to adjudicate rebate disputes between the property owner and their tenants.

If passed, the new legislation will mean that landlords who fail to fully pass on the property tax rebate unconditionally to their tenants "without reasonable excuse" will be guilty of an offence.

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Source: CNA/nc


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