Restaurant in Chinatown

Landlords in Singapore shopping districts are refusing to discount rent in the recession triggered by the Wuhan coronavirus.

The Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) released a press statement lambasting the predatory behaviour of Singapore landlords:

“F&B establishments have been hit hard by the outbreak, with many reporting slow business in the last two months. Some restaurants expect revenues to plummet by as much as 80 per cent in the next few months… With business affected by the coronavirus outbreak, food and beverage (F&B) outlets waiting for promised rental rebates said landlords are dragging their feet. Apart from a few such as Changi Airport Group and National Parks Board, who have confirmed that rebates will be given, many others have not done the same. We are deeply disappointed in the landlords’ lack of follow-through in spite of public announcements of support for the industry during this crisis. The landlords need to fulfil their role as partners in helping the F&B industry save jobs and secure the livelihood of our employees.”

The CEO of TungLok restaurants complained to the state media that the landlords declined to offer discounts:

“We have reached out to various landlords and most just said they will ‘wait and see’. It is very frustrating. We don’t know what is taking them so long.”

Restaurants in Singapore reported that they are seeing businesses down by 70% due to the absence of tourists.

The General Manager of a Korean steamboat restaurant complained that his landlord, Frasers Property, is one of those who refused to offer rental rebates, and has instead offering useless marketing measures:

“The property tax rebate that Frasers is passing on to tenants is negligible, as are the other measures announced, such as complimentary parking for shoppers and marketing initiatives for tenants. What we need are rental rebates – that is the only way landlords can help.”

Landlords who gave rebates are also doing it half-heartedly. Shopping mall conglomerate, CapitaLand, gives only 50% rebates to malls in the city, while neighbourhood malls get only 10 to 15% for two months.