As a common practice, the steps involved in negotiating and signing a Tenancy Agreement in Singapore include:
Step 1: Letter of Intent (LOI)
After the tenant decides to choose a particular office space in Singapore, the lease negotiation process is then initiated. The Letter of Intent (LOI) is a short letter that summarizes the fundamentals of office lease terms that a tenant wants from the landlord. It also shows how serious the tenant is about acquiring the renting space. This letter serves as an opportunity for landlords to analyze the interested tenant with regards to the stability of the company; whether it’s a local firm or an overseas set-up in Singapore, how sufficient their paid-up capital is, etc. All these contribute to the success of the lease.
Step 2: Letter of Offer (LOO)
A Letter of Offer will be issued when all the principal rental terms in the Letter of Intent are agreed upon. The landlord usually gives 7-10 days for the tenant to sign the Letter of Offer and return together with a non-refundable deposit. After that, the premises will be a secured subject to the signing of the Tenancy Agreement. In some cases, the Letter of Offer is legally binding, like a lease. A sample copy (sometimes the actual) Tenancy Agreement is attached along with the Letter of Offer for review.
Step 3: Tenancy Agreement (TA)
The Tenancy Agreement is issued after the Letter of Offer is signed. A tenant usually has between 2-3 weeks to sign the agreement. Tenancy agreement is usually prepared by landlord’s solicitors and most landlords in Singapore will have similar standard lease documentation which they will not want to vary too much. Therefore major changes are unlikely and we always advise all tenants to engage local property lawyers familiar with landlord and tenant legislation in Singapore.
Step 4: Taking Possession
After the tenancy agreement has been duly signed and the required security deposit paid, the tenant may take possession of the property and is free to move in, or conduct refurbishments where the need arises.