Clear industry guidelines needed on the rights of outgoing tenants

Source : Today – 2012 Jul 9

I refer to the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) letter “Tenant usually required to reinstate property” (June 29). The intent of this standard industry practice is clear: To ensure that “incoming tenants’ design plans are not constrained by the additional fixtures and they will not have to incur costs in removing or dismantling these fixtures”.  I appreciate the SLA’s flexibility in determining the extent of reinstatement, especially where “the incoming tenant’s business is similar to that of the outgoing tenant”. An incoming tenant may, for instance, request that some decor, lighting and fixtures be retained by the outgoing tenant. However, there is a need for clear industry guidelines on the rights of outgoing tenants – for example, to prevent their deposit from being unreasonably withheld. There should also be an avenue for such industry issues to be addressed. Many outgoing tenants now suffer quietly because of the hassle and legal cost it would incur to seek redress. I am now in this situation, as part of my rental deposit is being withheld. The incoming tenant had asked me, the outgoing tenant, to retain the ceiling decor and lighting of a shop premises. He is running his business with these fixtures intact and has committed to reinstate the ceiling when he moves out upon the expiry of his lease. Yet, the realty agent and landlord are claiming non-compliance of the reinstatement policy.

From Ng Jee Sing

Tenant usually required to reinstate property

We refer to Mr Wong Boon Hong’s letter Govt should review reinstatement policy” (June 25).  During a tenancy, a tenant may carry out additions and alterations to the State property, such as erecting dry wall partitions. When the tenancy expires, the tenant is usually required to reinstate the property. This is a standard industry practice. It ensures that incoming tenants’ design plans are not constrained by the additional fixtures and they will not have to incur costs in removing or dismantling these fixtures. We are also mindful of the costs involved in maintaining the property, which should be kept to a minimum in situations where the property is not ready for tender. However, some flexibility is exercised in determining the extent of reinstatement, especially in cases where the incoming tenant’s business is similar to that of the outgoing tenant. As for the tenant which Mr Wong referred to, the SLA only requires movable items, such as furniture and the carpets, to be removed when the tenancy expires. However, if the unit is still rented at the time the site, which was placed on the Reserve List of the Government Land Sales programme, is triggered for sale, we will not require the carpets to be removed as there will be no subsequent interim use.

From Lewis Koh Senior Deputy Director, Land Operations (Private), Singapore Land Authority (Jun 29)

Govt should review reinstatement policy
The report “Notice to move was too short” (June 18) quoted a Katong Village tenant who was unhappy that she has to reinstate the space when she vacates. It is a waste of resources to reinstate a property that is going to be torn down. The policy not only hurts small businesses with small profit margins, but it also does not resonate well with the Government’s green push.

From Wong Boon Hong  (Jun 25)

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