Relief period for property buyers who cannot make payment extended to March 31, 2021

Relief period for property buyers who cannot make payment extended to March 31, 2021

Home buyers who have signed an option to purchase or a sale and purchase agreement with a developer but are facing financial difficulties will have more time to make payment, as the relief period for such contracts has been extended to March 31, 2021.

The Ministry of Law said on Monday (Nov 16) that it is further extending the relief periods for three types of contracts, under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

The Act allows for parties in seven categories of contracts to obtain temporary relief from certain legal and enforcement actions, if they are unable to perform their contractual obligations because of the pandemic.

MinLaw had said on Oct 12 that the relief periods under this part of the Act will be extended to Nov 19 or later.

To ensure that businesses and individuals continue to obtain temporary relief from legal and enforcement actions until a new Re-Align Framework takes effect, MinLaw said it will further extend the relief periods under the Act for the following contracts:

– Hire-purchase and conditional sales agreements for commercial equipment or commercial vehicles, excluding those entered into with banks or finance companies regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) – from Nov 19 to Jan 31, 2021

– Rental agreements for commercial equipment or commercial vehicles, also from Nov 19 to Jan 31, 2021

The relief periods for other contracts under the Act remain unchanged.

OPTIONS TO PURCHASE, SALE AND PURCHASE AGREEMENTS

The extension of the relief period to March 31, 2021 covers options to purchase and sale and purchase agreements between developers and buyers of residential, commercial and industrial properties.

This extension will give such buyers more time to make their payments, particularly those who pay developers directly without taking a bank loan, while having minimal impact on developers’ cash flow, MinLaw said.

It will also allow developers and purchasers to seek temporary protection from being sued during the relief period, if they are unable to perform any contractual obligations due to Covid-19.

HIRE-PURCHASE AND CONDITIONAL SALES AGREEMENTS

Under the Re-Align Framework, eligible hirers or renters of commercial equipment or commercial vehicles may take up a repayment scheme to pay outstanding arrears in instalments.

To take up the scheme, the agreement must still be in force and the hirer or renter must serve notice on all parties to the contract within six weeks of the Re-Align Framework coming into force.

The extension of the relief period under the Act will thus provide such hirers and renters continued relief from termination or legal and enforcement actions on these contracts before the commencement of the Re-Align Framework.

OTHER CONTRACTS

The relief periods for other contracts under the Act remain unchanged. In particular, the relief periods for secured loans to small and medium-sized enterprises and leases and licences of non-residential property will end on Nov 19.

This means that after Nov 19, parties to such contracts may commence or resume legal and enforcement action, as provided for in their contracts and in general law, even if they were served a Notification for Relief before that date.

Tenants of non-residential properties who are eligible under the Re-Align Framework will still be able to use the Framework when it comes into effect, even if their lease or licence of non-residential property is terminated after the expiry of the relief period on Nov 19.

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