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Covid-19 has significantly impacted commercial leases. Safe distancing measures and work-from-home arrangements have meant quiet retail malls with shops selling non-essential things to remain close during circuit breaker period. Can tenants withhold rent? Can rent be suspended under the new Covid19 laws? Can the landlord terminate the lease for non-payment of rent? The new Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act gives temporary relief for inability to perform contractual obligations due to Covid-19. It also addresses the remission of property tax where landlords have to transfer 2020 property tax rebates to tenants.

Does your existing tenancy agreement contain a force majeure clause covering infectious diseases outbreak? The doctrine of frustration under common law will also be explained to see whether any protection is given if the rented premises have to be closed.

In this practical webinar, the Trainer will make reference to the COVID-19 situation wherever applicable. We will also deal with the challenges and legal aspects of landlord and tenant obligations. It will provide the practical aspects on managing tenancies and leases within Landlord and Tenant Law and in accordance with the Tenancy Agreements. It will also provide guidance on how to interpret and understand clauses found in tenancy agreements. Sample of a commercial tenancy contract will be provided; and with a walk-through explanation of a clause-by-clause analysis.

We will highlight common problems in tenancies and how to tackle and manage them. The various methods for conflict resolution will also be discussed to resolve tenancy disputes effectively and promptly. You do not need to have prior legal knowledge to benefit from this session.

Programme Outline

1. Covid-19 pandemic impact on commercial leases

  • Can tenants withhold rent or terminate lease?
  • Rent suspension
  • Force majeure to cover disease outbreaks
  • Doctrine of frustration
  • Effects of frustration under Frustrated Contracts Act
  • What if rented premises must be closed under safe distancing measures – Infectious Diseases Act
  • Temporary relief for inability to perform contractual obligations due to Covid-19
  • Assessors
  • Relief granted – just & equitable
  • The Practicalities in moving forward with new tenancy contracts

2. Key Points to look out for in preparing tenancy agreements

  • Understanding key terms in tenancy contracts
  • Avoiding common pitfalls in tenancy contracts
  • Misrepresentation and inducement into signing tenancies
  • Minor repair clauses
  • Renewal of tenancy contracts
  • Terminating tenancy contracts
  • The stamp fee
  • What does ‘security deposit’ mean?
  • Case-studies on best practice
  • Practical tips in drafting effective tenancy contracts

3. Rights and Duties of Tenants and Landlords

  • Covenants implied by landlord
  • Covenant for quiet enjoyment
  • Non-derogation form grant
  • Premises fit for human habitation
  • Repairing obligations
  • Covenants implied by tenant to pay rent
  • Tenant must not commit waste
  • Use premises in a tenant-like manner
  • Deliver up premises on termination of lease in same state as when let, fair wear and tear excepted

4. Types of Leases / Tenancies

  • Lease for a fixed term
  • Yearly tenancies and other periodic tenancies
  • Tenancy at will
  • Tenancy at sufferance

5. Rent Payable under Tenancy Lease

  • Recovery of rent
  • Forfeiture for non-payment of rent

6. Termination of Leases / Tenancies

  • By express power
  • By surrender
  • By effluxion of time
  • By merger
  • By forfeiture
  • By notice to quit
  • By frustration

What you will learn

  • Understand the impact of COVID-19 on commercial leases
  • Understand the common problems in tenancies and how to tackle and manage them
  • Learn the various methods for conflict resolution to resolve tenancy disputes effectively and promptly

Target Audience

Bank Officers, Government Agency Officers, Property Developers, Housing Managers and Officers, Sales and Leasing Executives / Managers, Tenant Relations Officer, and anyone who wants to know the obligations and rights of landlord and tenant.

Expert Speaker

Catherine Tay

Catherine Tay has 35 years of experience in lecturing business law at the NUS Business School, where she was formerly an Associate Professor. She is author of more than 20 books, including titles on Contract Law, E-Commerce Law and Infectious Diseases Law & SARS. She has also contributed and published legal articles in established international journals.

Catherine studied law at Queen Mary College, University of London and graduated with a Master of Laws. She did her pupillage under the Honourable Lady Mary Hogg in London. Catherine is an Advocate & Solicitor of The Supreme Court of Singapore and also a Barrister-at-Law (of Lincoln's Inn), United Kingdom. She is a highly sought-after Trainer, and regularly conducts in-house seminars for hospitals, banks, statutory boards, hotels, commercial firms and companies, clubs and associations.

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