Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) in instances whereby tenancy agreements are signed prior to the setting up of the Fair Tenancy Industry Committee's Code of Conduct for Leasing of Retail Premises in Singapore, what avenues for advice and assistance are available for small businesses concerned about unfair tenancy terms being invoked against them, especially when these terms are invoked unexpectedly and potentially causing their business to shut down; and (b) what dispute resolution platforms exist for such instances.
Written Answer by Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong
1. The Code of Conduct for Leasing of Retail Premises in Singapore was introduced by the Fair Tenancy Pro Tem Committee in March 2021 to enable fairer and more balanced retail lease negotiations.
2. The Code cannot be applied retroactively to existing contracts. Tenants who think that their lease agreements contain unfair terms may wish to seek recourse through mediation and other legal channels. We encourage landlords to act fairly towards their tenants.
3. Going forward, MTI will introduce legislation to make compliance with the Code mandatory for new and renewed qualifying retail leases. This will include a dispute resolution framework involving mediation and adjudication services for complaints of non-compliance. Ahead of the legislation, the Code is presently adopted voluntarily by all Government landlords and nine major private landlords.