This year, the REIT Symposium 2020 organised by the REIT Association of Singapore (REITAS) and ShareInvestor, will be held on Sept 19, and is completely virtual and free although registration is required. This year has been game changer of sorts for real estate in general and REITs in particular. Because of Covid-19 and the ensuing Circuit Breaker in Singapore, lockdowns in China, and the pandemic and protests in the US, REITs have had to grapple with various issues that have impacted distributions.

At home, the Circuit Breaker led to the enforced closure of many aspects of economic activity including retail, travel and tourism. This resulted in nearly all the retail and hospitality REITs reporting lower y-o-y distributable income and distributions per unit.

During the circuit breaker, the government introduced the Temporary Measures Act, where tenants could have help with rents. REIT managers with retail assets provided two months of rental rebates for April and May, and rent relief packages including rebates for June and July.

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