MinLaw will extend the relief period under Part of the Act by at least one month for all categories of contracts covered, while extending the relief period by more than one month for certain sectors facing longer-term effects due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) on Monday (12 October) announced that it will extend the relief period under Part 2 of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act by one to five months, depending on the contract’s category.
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Part 2 of the Act enables parties in seven categories of contract to obtain temporary relief from certain legal and enforcement actions, upon service of a Notification for Relief.
“Given the continued need for Safe Management Measures, many businesses could still use some breathing space to better adjust to the current operating context and consider how they may meet their contractual obligations,” said MinLaw in a release.
With this, MinLaw will extend the relief period under Part of the Act by at least one month for all categories of contracts covered, while extending the relief period by more than one month for certain sectors facing longer-term effects due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The extensions are aimed at supporting businesses and individuals adjust to the economic impact of the pandemic.
Upon the end of a relief period, parties may resume or commence legal and enforcement action as per contract and general law.
However, there are exceptions for three categories of contracts, in which parties can apply for an assessor’s determination following the end of the extended relief period.
The last day to serve a Notification for Relief or submit an application for an assessor’s determination has been extended to 19 November 2020 for loans to SMEs secured by certain collateral in Singapore, leases and licences of non-residential property, hire-purchase and conditional sales agreements for commercial vehicles or plant or machinery used for commercial purposes, as well as rental agreements for commercial equipment or commercial vehicles.
Parties to event and tourism-related contracts as well as those under Options to Purchase (OTP) agreements with developers have until 31 December to serve a Notification for Relief and until 28 February 2021 to submit an application for an assessor’s determination.
Parties to Sales and Purchase Agreements (S&P Agreements) with developers have until 31 December 2020 to serve a Notification for Relief and to apply for an assessor’s determination.
In a separate statement, the Ministry of National Development (MND) announced that OTPs and S&P Agreements for commercial and industrial properties will now be covered by Part 2 of the Act from 9 October.
“Like other contracts covered under the Act, these contracts must have been entered into before 25 March 2020, with contractual performance due on or after 1 February 2020,” it said.
The move to extend relief to such properties comes after considering feedback from purchasers and developers and to ensure parity in treatment. The temporary relief was previously available to residential properties only.
Meanwhile, parties to construction contracts or supply contracts or any performance bond granted, have until 31 March 2021 to serve a Notification for Relief, and until 31 May 2021 to apply for an assessor’s determination.
MinLaw has also unveiled changes to repayment scheme for rental arrears.
“With the extension of this relief period to 19 November 2020, eligible tenant-occupiers who qualify for Additional Rental Relief under the Rental Relief Framework and wish to take up this scheme will now have up till 19 November 2020 to serve a written notice on their landlord, as well as any guarantor/surety for its obligations in the contract,” it said.
“Consequently, the date the first instalment payment must be made by has been deferred by one month till 1 December 2020. The period of rental arrears covered under the repayment scheme will also be extended to cover an additional month, up till 19 November 2020.”
MinLaw explained that the changes will not apply to “parties that have already served a written notice on their landlord and any guarantor / surety of their intent to take up the scheme, or parties that have started their repayments under the scheme”.