Coronavirus: CDL, Suntec City providing rental aid; PropNex to help agents

Property giant City Developments Limited (CDL) and Suntec City are stepping up assistance for retail tenants struggling amid the coronavirus outbreak, while PropNex has rolled out support measures for its 8,500 real estate agents.

CDL will provide tenants with rental rebates of 100 per cent this month and 50 per cent next month, it said yesterday, adding that more support may be forthcoming.

It already gave out rental rebates “in a targeted manner” to qualifying retail tenants last month.

The firm noted that it has committed more than $17 million in property tax and rental rebates to help office and retail tenants cope with the temporary business closures and disruptions.

This amount includes but also exceeds the full quantum of the Government’s enhanced property tax rebates to be passed on to CDL tenants.

The enhanced rebates comprise the 100 per cent property tax rebate for qualifying commercial properties and 30 per cent for businesses in other non-residential properties such as offices and industrial properties.

CDL said tenants facing severe cash flow issues will be given more flexibility in rental payments. It is “reviewing tenants’ requests on a case-by-case basis and will work hand in hand with tenants to support them and provide further assistance”, it added.

The developer is the landlord to 426 retail tenants across five malls, eight retail properties where the group owns strata-titled units and an additional four commercial properties with retail space. In terms of the trade mix, 36 per cent are in the food and beverage sector.

Group chief executive Sherman Kwek said: “While the Covid-19 situation looks likely to be prolonged and the authorities have just imposed stricter measures, nevertheless we must remain positive in our outlook and help one another to tide through this difficult period.”

Suntec City said yesterday that it is waiving the rents for all mall tenants for a month, including those providing essential services such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

It will also pass on the full savings of the property tax rebates to all tenants next month. Part of the savings had been passed on last month.

HELPING HAND

• CDL will provide tenants with rental rebates of 100 per cent this month and 50 per cent next month.

• Suntec City is waiving the rents for all mall tenants for a month.

• PropNex Realty announced support measures for its 8,500 real estate agents and a $750,000 donation – $250,000 for the needy and front-line workers in the virus outbreak, and $500,000 to the Community Chest.

This amounts to about another month of rental reduction for most tenants next month, said Suntec City, which is owned by Suntec Reit (real estate investment trust). Mall tenants can also use the one-month cash security deposit to offset rent.

Meanwhile, PropNex Realty announced support measures for its 8,500 real estate agents as well as a $750,000 donation – $250,000 for the needy in the community and front-line workers in the virus outbreak, and $500,000 to the Community Chest.

CEO Ismail Gafoor yesterday said the firm was concerned for its sales force’s cash flow situation. Its plan centres on a $25 million advance commission scheme. Agents for new project launches can apply for the early release of their commissions, interest-free, capped at $10,000 per person. Developers generally take three to six months to release commissions.

Agents can also apply for the early release of their commissions for eligible resale transactions, capped at $1,000 per transaction and limited to $10,000 per person.

PropNex will make advance payments on its pension fund and management fees for team leaders, waive or subsidise certain training fees and pass on rental rebates to its agents in the form of discounted or free room bookings.

The company is appealing to other agencies on behalf of their agents to lower business costs. It has asked the professional indemnity insurance provider for a discount on the salesperson insurance premium.

It has also asked the Council of Estate Agencies to waive the $283.50 fee for agents to renew their licence next year and for deferments of their Medisave top-ups for this year.

• Additional reporting by The Business Times

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