Fair Tenancy Framework industry panel offers 15 recommendations to level retail playing field

THE Fair Tenancy Framework Industry Committee (FTFIC) has put forward a position paper listing 15 key recommendations to the Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The recommendations can be broken into three parts: 

- Part A: Transparent access to information.  FTFIC said it recommends two levels of rental data be made available, namely a public-rental info database that is uploaded on a monthly basis, and mall-level productivity and performance data made available by landlords to tenants from whom they require data such as monthly sales data.

- Part B: Recommendation for the government to legislate and pass a Fair Tenancy Bill to prohibit undesirable or unfair tenancy practices and behaviour by either landlords or tenants and also to promote a more efficient and effective free-market dynamic for this business sector. 

- Part C: Recommendation for the establishment of a Fair Tenancy Commission (FTC), which will oversee the creation and generation of market-rental data. The FTC can also provide guidance on gaps, disputes, regulate matters between landlords and tenants, and undertake a periodic review and revision of the Fair Tenancy Legislation. 

FTFIC was formed with representation from the Singapore Business Federation Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Committee (SBF SMEC), the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME), the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS), the Singapore Retailers Association (SRA) and the Singapore Tenants United for Fairness (SGTUFF).

The committee is chaired by Kurt Wee, president of the ASME, a council member of the SBF and chair of the  SBF SMEC. FTFIC has two co-chairmen, Andrew Kwan, who is vice-president of the RAS, and R. Dhinakaran, president of the SRA.

Mr Kwan said: "It's a ticking time bomb because a lot of these SMEs cannot hang on any further. Things have intensified in the last six weeks or so with the circuit breaker in place. If there is no light in sight, there is a grave danger that many SMEs would rather cut losses at this time. 

"If they think they cannot find a solution in the foreseeable future, I suspect many might decide to terminate (their leases) early and cut losses. And when that happens, you'll find a sudden and severe uptick in unemployment."