Fair Tenancy Industry Committee
On 26 June 2020, key representatives from Singapore’s landlord and tenant communities, together with industry experts, formed the Fair Tenancy Pro Tem Committee in a bid to strengthen collaboration and increase the vibrancy and competitiveness of Singapore’s retail, food & beverage (F&B) and lifestyle sectors. The result is an industry-led Code of Conduct for Leasing of Retail Premises in Singapore ("Code") based on the principles of transparency, reciprocity and sustainability. A report along with the Code was submitted to Minister for Trade and Industry and Minister for Law on 26 March 2021.
The Fair Tenancy Industry Committee (FTIC) will be set up to be the custodian of the Code and ensure that it provides guidance to landlords and tenants of qualifying retail premises so that fair and balanced lease negotiations can be achieved. It is represented by both landlords and tenants, as well neutral parties to offer a holistic approach when addressing matters related to retail lease agreements.
- To create a vibrant retail industry where landlords and tenants form symbiotic and sustainable relationships.
- To equip the industry with the knowledge of the Code that serve as a mandatory guide to fair retail tenancy negotiation.
- To ensure that the Code is kept up to date with the latest market practices, guided by the principles of transparency, fairness, reciprocity and sustainability.
- To monitor the performance of the Code and submit recommendations to the Government to enhance the regulatory framework.
Existing lease agreements where the Code applies should work towards incorporating and aligning with the leasing principles wherever possible. New lease agreements or renewal of lease agreements are encouraged to comply with the Code from 1 June 2021 onwards.
A governance framework has been established to ensure compliance to the Code by landlords and tenants and provide an accessible dispute resolution framework for both landlords and tenants. This is in recognition that landlords and tenants share a symbiotic interest in building and maintaining a long term and productive partnership.
Code of Conduct
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Useful Links and Resources
The key objectives of the Code are to serve as a set of mandatory guidelines to provide guidance to landlords and tenants of qualifying retail premises to enable a fair and balanced position in lease negotiations; and provide landlords and tenants of Qualifying Retail Premises with a governance framework to ensure compliance by landlords and tenants and provide an accessible dispute resolution framework for both landlords and tenants.
The Code is divided into four main sections:
Part A: Conduct and Spirit of Negotiations
Part B: Leasing Principles for Key Tenancy Terms
Part C: Data Transparency
Part D: Dispute Resolution & Enforcement of Code of Conduct
- Conduct and Spirit of Negotiations: Landlords and tenants must adopt a consensual approach to negotiate in good faith, which includes acting honestly and fairly having regard to the legitimate interests of the other party and observing accepted or reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing in the performance of identified obligations. Neither party shall attempt to unfairly profit, or take unfair advantage of the other party, from the known ignorance of the other party.
- Leasing Principles for Key Tenancy Terms: There are a total of 11 key tenancy terms such as exclusivity, pre-termination by landlords due to landlord’s redevelopment works, sales performance, pre-termination by tenants etc. where the Code of Conduct set out the leasing principles for landlords and tenants.
- Data Transparency: Landlords must share sales data metrics by trade category (i.e., total monthly sales, total floor area) on a one-on-one basis before the signing of the lease agreement and to existing tenants on a bi-annual basis if they collect sales data from tenants as part of the Gross Turnover rent structure.
- Dispute Resolution & Enforcement: For non-compliant practices, parties can report these cases to the FTIC. FTIC will collate and monitor the reported cases. All lease agreements issued must be accompanied by a checklist of clauses within the Code of Conduct and all clauses which deviate from Code of Conduct must be flagged by landlord for tenant’s attention. For clauses where the Code of Conduct allows for deviation, a joint declaration of deviation shall be filed with FTIC within 14 days of signing of lease agreement if both parties agree with the deviation. Should there be a dispute or disagreement arising from the lease agreement, either party may escalate the matter to SMC. Once escalated, both parties must approach SMC and shall comply with the resolutions of the SMC
For the full details of the Code, please download the Code of Conduct for Leasing of Retail Premises in Singapore
Filing of Joint Declaration of Deviation from the Code
All lease agreements issued must be accompanied by a checklist of clauses within the Code of Conduct and all clauses which deviate from the Code of Conduct must be flagged by landlord for tenant’s attention. For clauses where the Code of Conduct allows for deviation, a joint declaration of deviation shall be filed with FTIC within 14 days of signing of lease agreement if both parties agree with the deviation.
The filing of joint declaration of deviation will be available from 1 June 2021.
The Code applies to Qualifying Retail Premises in Singapore regardless of whether such Qualifying Retail Premises are located in standalone commercial buildings (e.g. shopping centres, office buildings, industrial and business parks, mixed-use developments, shop houses and shop flats (whether owned or leased by statutory boards), schools, hospitals, MRT stations, airports or other types of buildings.
Tenants should understand the typical terms and conditions in a lease agreement and be aware of some of their implications. The Code supports tenants and landlords in working out a mutually agreed, fair lease agreement through open and transparent negotiations.
Landlords must complete the checklist in the form as set out in Appendix 1 of Part D (“Checklist”) of the Code and provide it to the Tenant at the same time when Landlord sends the first draft of the lease agreement to the Tenant. For clauses where the Code allows for deviation and both parties mutually agree to such deviation, both parties must indicate its acknowledgement in the Checklist and file a joint declaration of deviation with FTIC within 14 days of signing lease agreement. The Code only allows for deviation in the leasing principles for Exclusivity, Sales Performance, Security Deposit and Rental Structure.
Tenants must conduct their own due diligence to review the lease agreement. The Code of Conduct should not be used as a substitute for consultation with the relevant professionals and FTIC is not liable for any decision made or action taken or refraining from making such decision or taking such action in reliance of the information contained in this Code.
In the event of any non-compliance by the landlord or the tenant with the Code during lease negotiations (e.g., landlord demands that tenant agree to a “mutually agreed” deviation), either party may refer the matter to the Fair Tenancy Industry Committee (FTIC).
The FTIC will monitor the incidences of non-compliance by landlords and tenants with the Code during lease negotiations. If there are many reports made against a particular party, FTIC may name and shame the party for acting in a manner that is against the Code of Conduct and the spirit of the fair tenancy framework.
Please refer to the Code of Conduct for Leasing of Retail Premises in Singapore for the full details.
In the event of any disputes after the lease agreement is signed, either party may escalate the matter to the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC). Once escalated, both parties must approach SMC to resolve the dispute or disagreement. This includes matters such as failure to file joint declaration of deviations within 14 days of signing of lease agreement, non-filing of joint declaration of deviations, non-compliance to the Code of Conduct or any other tenancy disputes.
Landlord and tenant shall comply with the resolutions of the SMC.
The FTIC has partnered with SMC to ensure that there will be timely resolution of dispute over matters covered under the Code at a reasonable cost. After the matter has been escalated, the average waiting time is up to two weeks for SMC to facilitate the discussion between the landlord and tenant.
About the Singapore Mediation Centre
SMC has mediated more than 4,800 matters worth over $10 billion since its launch on 16 August 1997. About 70% of our cases are settled with 90% of them resolved within one day, attesting to the effectiveness of mediation. SMC is one of four designated mediation service providers under Singapore’s Mediation Act 2017. This means that mediation settlements administered by SMC can be converted into a court order that is immediately enforceable.
As Singapore’s flagship mediation centre, SMC sets the standard for excellence in dispute resolution services in Singapore. It has partnered with industry leaders to launch mediation schemes to address disputes in various sectors such as healthcare, private education and real estate. SMC, launched by then Chief Justice Yong Pung How, is supported by the Singapore Judiciary, the Singapore Academy of Law, the Ministry of Law and professional and trade associations.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Useful Links and Resources
- Amendment to the Code of Conduct for Leasing of Retail Premises in Singapore
- Code of Conduct for Leasing of Retail Premises in Singapore
- Rental data for business premises are published and made readily available on a regular basis by the various government agencies. Please refer to the respective websites: