Covid-19 Cash Grant & Rental Waiver

Company Can’t Claim Both Covid-19 Cash Grant & Rental Waiver

SINGAPORE – A High Court judge ruled on Thursday that a firm that has already received a cash grant from the authorities under COVID-19 rental relief measures is disqualified from obtaining a rental waiver from its landlord, reported The Straits Times on Thursday evening (16 February, SGT).

The ruling arose from a case between landlord JTC Corporation and tenant Hot Spring Stone, which supplies stone products, in which the latter sued the former to claim rental arrears.

However, Hot Spring Stone contended that it was eligible to receive 2 months of rental waiver under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act from JTC amounting to about S$95,467, even though it had already obtained a cash grant of S$123,360.

Under the Act introduced in 2020, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore may disburse a cash grant to the “owner” of a leased non-residential property. As it was legally deemed as the “owner” of the premises it leased from JTC, Hot Spring obtained a cash grant in August 2020.

But the legal question that arose in the case was whether a legally-recognised “owner” can also be considered as a “tenant” under the provisions of the Act for the purposes of claiming a rental waiver.

Both JTC and the Attorney-General argued that a company that has received a cash grant cannot also get rental relief as a “tenant”. However, Hot Spring insisted that JTC needs to waive 2 months’ worth of rent as it was the “ultimate” landlord.

In his judgment, Justice Kwek Mean Luck stated that a firm that has obtained a cash grant as an “owner” cannot also get a rental waiver as a “tenant” in respect of the same piece of property.

“An eligible entity is entitled to only one form of rental relief,” he ruled.

Kwek explained the objective of the Act was for the benefit of the cash grant to flow downwards to the owner’s tenants and subtenants in the form of rental waivers.

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