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Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

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wwed0904
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Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby wwed0904 » Mon, 05 Mar 2018 11:51 am

Hi,

Hope to get some advice.

I completed my lease (1 year) and did the handover. LL was being unreasonable demanding that everything is to be returned in original condition. One example is they expect the marble floor to be as shiny as it was when tenancy started. They claimed we should have used the proper cleaning solution for marble and that would have maintained the shine.

On the day of the handover, we agreed to try to find a financial settlement as I was quite tired and wanted to just avoid all the arguments and hassles. So on that day we signed a piece of handwritten paper that says the deposit return postponed to 8th March, and is subject to settlement of the 'defects', There was no list of what the defects are but there are pictures taken by my agent and the LL.

However, now two weeks has passed and LL has not come back with what they propose as the financial settlement. I'm preparing for the worst and thinking that if the LL is being unreasonable I need to be prepared to go to to the Small Claims Tribunal. I read up on this forum and found that it's not difficult to do this (but the enforcement may entail some patience).

Question:
1. Based on the fact that I signed the handwritten paper saying 'defects', does that weaken my poisition? I never agreed that these are defects as I think they are almost all unreasonable. I just signed it as I was tired of the 3-hour handover process - LL was going through every single inch of the house. Can I argue this and said what I agreed is the financial settlement? Would the SCT be willing to accept me going through every one of the 'defects' and argue that they are reasonable wear & tear?
- Let's say I don't have grounds and was deemed to accept these as defects, I guess my argument left is regarding 'reasonability' of the amount?
2. Also, we have pictures of the apartment when we took over. However, we didn't take picture of the apartment when we handed it back. The LL and my agent have only pictures of the damages. Can this be made to assume that there are no other issues other than the ones taken pictured of on the handover day?
3. If I go to SCT, can the landlord suddenly add more to the 'defect' list and said that they found more issues. I'm thinking this might be a tactic they use
4. Lastly, how do you get LL address? It's not on the TA.

We really maintained the apartment well and feel unjustified that the LL expect us to live in it for one year, pay rent every month but must return everything in original condition! We've been renting many places but this is the first time we encountered such unreasonable LL.

Many thanks in advance for your advice.

kozizi
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Re: Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby kozizi » Mon, 05 Mar 2018 12:25 pm

Sorry can't help you with questions 1,2,3, but regarding 4 - the landlord's address is not mentioned even in my TA, but I found it mentioned on the Letter of Intent that I signed prior to the TA, so maybe check your LOI if you have one ?

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PNGMK
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Re: Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 05 Mar 2018 2:33 pm

It's unfortunate you abandoned the sign off process and gave in.

1. You should return to the apartment to the state as per your TA. IF it had a clause in it about marble floors being refinished then this will be supported in the SCT.

2. You should continue to push for a reasonable setttlement ASAP from the LL. He is hoping you give up.

3. Yes, you can use your pictures vs his to establish whether the damaged require compensation or are 'fair wear and tear'. Unfortunately this is a country of amateurs landlords who expect their apartment to returned in as new condition. IF you go the SCT the magistrate will probably force some sort of meet in the middle compromise unless the LL is being completely and obviously unreasonable.
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wwed0904
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Re: Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby wwed0904 » Mon, 05 Mar 2018 10:35 pm

kozizi wrote:Sorry can't help you with questions 1,2,3, but regarding 4 - the landlord's address is not mentioned even in my TA, but I found it mentioned on the Letter of Intent that I signed prior to the TA, so maybe check your LOI if you have one ?


Thanks. Unfortunately the address is not on the LOI either. Anyone has past experience that can guide me? Will be much appreciated

wwed0904
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Re: Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby wwed0904 » Mon, 05 Mar 2018 11:09 pm

PNGMK wrote:It's unfortunate you abandoned the sign off process and gave in.

1. You should return to the apartment to the state as per your TA. IF it had a clause in it about marble floors being refinished then this will be supported in the SCT.

2. You should continue to push for a reasonable setttlement ASAP from the LL. He is hoping you give up.

3. Yes, you can use your pictures vs his to establish whether the damaged require compensation or are 'fair wear and tear'. Unfortunately this is a country of amateurs landlords who expect their apartment to returned in as new condition. IF you go the SCT the magistrate will probably force some sort of meet in the middle compromise unless the LL is being completely and obviously unreasonable.


Thanks.

There is nothing in the TA about marble etc. The languages are quite standard.

At SCT, are we expected to discuss/ argue about what is fair / wear & tear or will the focus be just to get to a middle ground? Based on what you know do you think I have a good chance at SCT?

Thanks again.

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Re: Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 06 Mar 2018 7:08 am

My experience is that the LL will try to settle before getting in front of the magistrate.
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wwed0904
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Re: Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby wwed0904 » Sun, 11 Mar 2018 7:54 am

PNGMK wrote:My experience is that the LL will try to settle before getting in front of the magistrate.


PNGMK,
The TA states that the unit must be returned in tenantable condition. The LL takes this as "everything as how it was handed over". Do you think their opinion will stand in SCT?

The LL has asked for almost $3k to fix 'defects'. I disagree with the amount and also disagree with the list of defects. For example, they want me to pay $800 for marble floor polishing, $500 for parquet polish in one bedroom, $500 for replacement of cabinet base as it was "damaged by moist/water", $200 for repainting one wall just because there is a half-inch peeled paint caused by double-sided tape, etc. All these for an over 15 years old apartment that I rented for one year...

I just find it totally unjustified for me to pay. Seems that LL wants me to pay for items that should be their expenses. I've offered an amount that I feel is reasonable and they flatly rejected.

Another question, I don't know how to get their address. Can I put the rented apartment address and notify them that I did so via Whatsapp, so they have no excuse to say they didn't know or didn't receive?

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby ComingSoon » Sun, 11 Mar 2018 11:35 am

The TA states that the unit must be returned in tenantable condition. The LL takes this as "everything as how it was handed over". Do you think their opinion will stand in SCT?

The LL has asked for almost $3k to fix 'defects'. I disagree with the amount and also disagree with the list of defects.
Thanks in advance.


The requests from the landlord seem totally insane to me. All of that falls under 'wear and tear'. They are just trying to get you to pay the cost of setting everything up for the next tenant.

The thing you need to know is how much does the landlord value their time? If they are retired and don't have much going on then a trip to SCT is not a big deal. If they are really busy then taking half a day or more is a waste of resources.

At SCT they will stick you with a mediator to start. You don't have to agree to the recommendation of the mediator. If you decline their recommendation then you'll have to go in front of a judge. Keep in mind this all takes a fair bit of time. The process could happen over 2 separate days if you don't settle in mediation. That's why it's key to know how busy the landlord is. The time cost of court could be bigger than they amount they'll reasonably get in settlement or judgement.

Good luck!

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Re: Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby PNGMK » Sun, 11 Mar 2018 2:17 pm

It's seems that the LL is being unreasonable if the TA is as you say and is not specific on the meaning of 'tenable'.
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wwed0904
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Re: Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby wwed0904 » Sun, 11 Mar 2018 2:22 pm

ComingSoon wrote:
The TA states that the unit must be returned in tenantable condition. The LL takes this as "everything as how it was handed over". Do you think their opinion will stand in SCT?

The LL has asked for almost $3k to fix 'defects'. I disagree with the amount and also disagree with the list of defects.
Thanks in advance.


The requests from the landlord seem totally insane to me. All of that falls under 'wear and tear'. They are just trying to get you to pay the cost of setting everything up for the next tenant.

The thing you need to know is how much does the landlord value their time? If they are retired and don't have much going on then a trip to SCT is not a big deal. If they are really busy then taking half a day or more is a waste of resources.

At SCT they will stick you with a mediator to start. You don't have to agree to the recommendation of the mediator. If you decline their recommendation then you'll have to go in front of a judge. Keep in mind this all takes a fair bit of time. The process could happen over 2 separate days if you don't settle in mediation. That's why it's key to know how busy the landlord is. The time cost of court could be bigger than they amount they'll reasonably get in settlement or judgement.

Good luck!


Thanks. The 'LL are a working couple. Both husband and wife's names are on the TA so I think both of then have to attend the proceedings.

This will be a major time commitment for me too but I just can't justify agreeing to the unreasonable demands.

wwed0904
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Re: Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby wwed0904 » Sun, 11 Mar 2018 2:23 pm

PNGMK wrote:It's seems that the LL is being unreasonable if the TA is as you say and is not specific on the meaning of 'tenable'.


Thanks.

Does anyone know how much time is allocated for parties to present their case in the 1st and 2nd appointment at the SCT?

briansasaki
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Re: Need help with Small Claims Tribunal

Postby briansasaki » Mon, 12 Mar 2018 8:01 pm

You should take pic and video when you returned the condo. It's totally depending on whether you feel distress or normal to go through the procedures ahead, which will spend your time and efforts to. Will the amount of money worthy to do so? Friends with legal case experience will find it at ease to face this kind of stuff; or if not too consuming of your time is ok; while for some people, felt headache to go through such kind of process. I have heard so many cases that just let it go and move on. So many injustice cases before. Some may find legal advice and let the lawyer to handle it, which might not be worthy to do it; My case is to give up, don't want to waste time and energy.


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