No rent for the Wongs as their shop space sits empty

Landlord Wong Hin Yet said he is unable to collect rent as his shop space is unoccupied. The previous tenant vacated in April and the new tenant is unable to take over as the space has not been restored to its original condition. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Since last month, landlord Wong Hin Yet, 65, and his wife have not been collecting rent from one of their Housing Board shop spaces because new tenant Guardian Pharmacy could not take over the space, as it had not been restored to its original condition by the previous tenant.

Also, renovation works for commercial premises have been suspended since the circuit breaker began on April 7, which meant Guardian could not move into the 700 sq ft space at HDB Hub in Toa Payoh on May 4, the scheduled handover date.

Mr Wong said: “Guardian has been understanding. They told us to give them one day’s notice once the shop is reinstated, and they will take over. But that means I am stuck with an empty shop and collecting no rent.”

Meanwhile, MoneyMax Pawnshop, his other tenant of more than 10 years at another 700 sq ft space at HDB Hub, has stopped paying rent for this month and does not intend to pay rent for next month, claiming that it is a qualifying small and medium-sized enterprise tenant, he said.

Pawnshops are allowed to remain open during the circuit breaker period to help provide access to cash for those with financial needs.

Mr Wong said: “The irony is, both my tenants, because of their essential business nature, are allowed to do business during the circuit breaker. So they will suffer less loss than most retailers.

“But we, the suffering landlord, are asked to incur more losses with the rent waiver. This is adding salt to injury.”

He said he hopes the assessor will help determine if MoneyMax is eligible for rental relief, and how much relief he has to provide.

The Wongs added that they have given assistance to their previous tenant of 18 years, a shoe shop that vacated at the end of April.

Mr Wong’s wife, Mrs Wong Keng Lan said: “(The tenant) was able to clear his shoe stock but was unable to restore the shop to its original condition because of the circuit breaker.

“We gave a lot of help to the shoe shop tenant because from March, his business was already zero. And when the circuit breaker was extended, we returned his rental deposit to him and passed on the property tax rebate to him, plus another $10,000 in goodwill for the years he has been a loyal tenant.

“We also will not pursue him for rent he owes us for not being able to reinstate the shop to its original condition in time.”

“Source:[No rent for the Wongs as their shop space sits empty] © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction”

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