Rent rebates being disbursed to JEM tenants

SINGAPORE - Several tenants at Jurong East's Jem mall have received a two-week rental rebate - covering the entire period that the mall was closed after a water pipe burst last month.

Owners of eateries Han's and Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert, spa brand Mt Sapola and hardware store Home-Fix said their rental bills for this month were partly offset by the rebate.

Others like clothing chain Tracyeinny, Ya Kun Kaya Toast and Lee's Taiwanese eatery said the rebate will apply in their rental bills next month.

The six-storey mall, which opened in June, has had a few hiccups. Its opening was delayed by four days due to a lack of fire permits. On Aug 14, three FairPrice staff were hurt after a deep fryer caught fire. Four days later, a car burst into flames in the mall's carpark.

On Sept 18, a burst water pipe caused a ceiling to collapse. Three people suffered bruises and the mall shut the next day for safety checks and repairs to be carried out. It reopened on Oct 2.

Tenants, though glad for the rebate, are holding out for more.

Rentals make up only a small portion of total losses, which are estimated at tens of thousands of dollars once losses in sales, damage and manpower costs are also factored.

Ms Fiona Lee, 44, the owner of Lee's Taiwanese, said $15,000 will be deducted from next month's rental bill.

"But we are not happy," she said, adding that her losses run up to $90,000. "We didn't do anything wrong. We should definitely be compensated for sales losses."

She added that a leasing agent has asked her to submit her claims to mall operator Lend Lease, which would then consult its insurers.

Mr Jack Tan, executive director of Select Group, which operates Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert, has approached Lend Lease as well as the eatery's insurers.

"We may not be covered by our insurance because the damage didn't happen in our outlet," said Mr Tan.

"(Lend Lease) should look into more compensation. There have been so many issues since the mall opened."

Others like Home-Fix and Mt Sapola said their premises and products were damaged and are fairly confident of getting an insurance payout. Their losses totalled about $30,000.

"The only tricky part is loss of income. We will take things one step at a time," said director of Home-Fix and Mt Sapola Low Cheong Yew.

Lend Lease declined to comment on compensation amounts due to confidentiality reasons. However, in a previous interview, Lend Lease Asia chief executive Rod Leaver told The Straits Times that tenants' claims would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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