News: Landlords, the penalty for your tenant's deviant ways just got bigger

Nov 5, 2019

Those living off the earnings of vice activities would now face a mandatory jail term of up to seven years and a fine of $100,000, up from the five-year jail term and $10,000 fine currently.

On the surface, this law might not matter to a law-abiding citizen like you. With the recent changes in the Women’s Charter, however, an owner or tenant who rents out⁠—or sublets⁠—premises that are used as a brothel will now be held criminally liable.

And the offending owners and tenants would also face harsher penalties, unless they are able to prove that they have no knowledge and could not have, with reasonable diligence, determined that the premises will be used for such purpose.

“Reasonable diligence” means owners and tenants have conducted identity checks on prospective tenants or sub-tenants via face-to-face interviews. In case that they are overseas, owners should have an agent who will conduct the face-to-face interviews for them.

Agents could also be liable

At the same time, property agents who fail to conduct the necessary checks may face fines or suspension or revocation of their registration.

The changes to the Women’s Charter are necessary since syndicates often exploit the absence of checks at the point of leasing, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling.

This comes as seven out of 10 foreign women arrested between 2015 and 2018 for online vice were providing sexual services within residential estates.

Landlords, here’s how you should screen your tenants instead.


Home buyers looking for Singapore Properties may like to visit our ListingsProject Reviews and Guides.


Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email

agent image
agency logo
Grace Tan
Associate Branch Director
CEA Licence No.:
L3008022J / R018025H
+(65) 9021 1218