The Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) says they are "deeply disappointed" with several landlords in the commercial sector who have yet to deliver on the rental rebates they had publicly announced.
Singles out CapitaLand
In a media statement on Mar. 2, RAS mentioned that only four landlords — Jewel Changi Airport, Changi Airport Group, JTC Corporation, and the National Parks Boards — have sent written notices on rental rebates to their tenants so far.
This is out of a total of 24 landlords and mall owners who had promised to do so earlier, RAS told Mothership.
"Many of the F&B outlets, especially those run by smaller operators, have an urgent need for assistance to alleviate their cash flow situation and mitigate the uncertainties they face in the current climate brought on by Covid-19," said Edwin Fong, Executive Director of RAS.
In particular, RAS singled out CapitaLand, claiming that it had promised rental rebates of 50 per cent for restaurant tenants but ended up offering only 10 to 15 per cent rental rebate to restauranteurs in their urban malls instead.
No rental rebates have also been granted for CapitaLand's sub-urban malls, which form the bulk of their portfolio of shopping malls, added RAS.
CapitaLands operates 19 malls in Singapore including Junction 8, ION Orchard, Funan, and Jewel Changi Airport.
CapitaLand: RAS did not fully comprehend entire relief package
In response to a query by Mothership on whether CapitaLand had promised a 50 per cent rental rebate to restaurant tenants, the mall operator pointed us to its Feb. 24 news release which states that it will offer a one-time rental rebate of up to half-a-month for eligible tenants.
This is only one of the "various forms of support" that CapitaLand is offering its tenants, said Jason Leow, President of CapitaLand Group for Singapore and International.
Other forms of support include flexible rental payment.
Leow added that rental relief will be disbursed to tenants in a "targeted manner" because the Covid-19 outbreak affected different malls and trade categories by varying degrees.
In the meantime, CapitaLand told Mothership that it will release a one month security deposit for all its tenants to offset their rental payments for the month of March 2020.
This is to alleviate their cashflow issues.
The mall operator has also granted rental rebates of 20 to 30 per cent over two months to eligible tenants in its downtown malls which have been more affected by Covid-19, said Leow.
This is an interim measure, he said, as CapitaLand is reviewing its 3,500 leases.
This review is expected to be completed by March. By then, tenants will be informed of their respective relief packages.
"It is unfortunate that the entire relief package has not been fully comprehended by RAS, despite our ongoing engagements," Leow added.
You can read their statement in full here:
"We refer to the statement issued by the Restaurant Association of Singapore this morning (2 March 2020).
CapitaLand strongly believes in building long-term partnerships with our shopping mall tenants, who are our closest business partners in a sustainable retail ecosystem. In response to COVID-19, we remain committed to implement the support package for our shopping mall tenants in Singapore, as communicated in our media statement jointly issued with Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) and Singapore Retailers Association on 24 February 2020. It is unfortunate that the entire relief package has not been fully comprehended by RAS, despite our ongoing engagements.
As COVID-19 has impacted different malls and trade categories by varying degrees, rental relief will be disbursed to tenants in a targeted manner. CapitaLand will offer various forms of support which may include flexible rental payments and a one-time rental rebate of up to half-a-month for eligible tenants.
While we are in the process of reviewing our portfolio of 3,500 leases, we have assured our tenants that they do not have to worry about their rents for March 2020. Rents for March 2020 will be offset against a month of their security deposits.
Communication with individual tenants on their relief package is ongoing. As an interim relief, we have granted rental rebates of 20% to 30% over two months to eligible tenants in our downtown malls, which have been more affected by COVID-19. We aim to complete reviewing all our leases by this month. By which time, tenants will be informed of their respective rental relief packages.
We will continue to engage our tenants closely and stand prepared to do more should the situation require. Our various promotions since 14 February 2020 have shown positive results in bringing customers back to our malls. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and help our tenants to do more sales, while implementing rental relief measures to ease their cashflows.
It takes all stakeholders to work collectively towards a sustainable retail ecosystem. CapitaLand has kept and will continue to keep our channels of communication open."
Many F&B outlet owners expect more than 50 per cent decline in revenue
According to a snap poll of 302 F&B outlet owners conducted by RAS between Feb 10 and 13, 57 per cent of respondents expected more than a 50 per cent decline in revenue over the next three months.
Some members told RAS that the drop in revenue could extend to as much as 80 per cent, especially at venues which rely on tourists.
Therefore, certain measures are needed to help tide them over and to safeguard the livelihoods of their employees.