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ludwig12
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Rental deposit return

Postby ludwig12 » Thu, 20 Feb 2014 11:04 am

Hi,

I had recently moved to a new apartment and is in the process of getting my condo rental deposit back from the previous property.

Long story short, during the HO, 3 issues were identified and agreed as open items. Now, more than 4 weeks of HO (which according to TA, they need to return the deposit minus deduction to me within 14 days). They have finally came back with quotation for the repairs, it was on the high side from the quotation I got myself but not worthwhile arguing.

However, the LL side is asking for 350$ to repaint one of the wall, this is not captured as one of the three open issues in the HO list The wall were not freshly painted when we moved in so there were existing smaller patches. Due to moisture around the air con duct, I had a handyman coming in to repaint the area around the duct prior to hand over so it looks clean. During HO, the LL agent said there is a coloring difference which may not be acceptable. After some discussion, she did not put it as an item in the HO list.

I talked to my handyman and he can re-do the same wall for 100$, I offered this to the LL agent as a gesture even though I am not liable, she refused and said if I wanted to use my contractor for the repair, I will need to pay rental of the apartment and redo the handover. I will have to accept the 350$ as it is else they will not refund the entire rental deposit.

It's not a huge amount but I feel it is unjust to be blackmailed. I would appreciate some advice from anyone who may have gone through a similar experience.

1. Am I liable for anything that is not in the HO list? My understanding is no.
2. I did check the SCT and it seems to be relatively straight forward to file a claim. But one thing that concerns me is the disclaimer on SCT said it does not enforce its ruling. If that is the case, i.e. I go to SCT and won, do I still need to go get a lawyer and file a lawsuit to get my rental deposit back if the other side refuse to pay?
3. If I had to do the above, anyone has rough idea of the legal fees involved? the SCT claim is 100$. If it is close to 350$, I would rather go through the trouble then hand over it as a ransom. But if it is really not worth the time/money, I guess I will just have to move on.


Thanks

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 20 Feb 2014 11:40 am

If this HO document does not explicitly say that this list exhaust your responsibility for the defects, then IMHO you are liable. I would see it more as a memorandum. The LL is given reasonable time to check for all possible defects and this is in my opinion the purpose (intention) of the delayed return of the deposit. More over, you can be still liable after the deposit is returned to you.

I don't know how the wall looks like so hard to elaborate on this point but $350 seems way too much for repainting of a single wall.

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Postby ludwig12 » Thu, 20 Feb 2014 11:50 am

x9200 wrote:If this HO document does not explicitly say that this list exhaust your responsibility for the defects, then IMHO you are liable. I would see it more as a memorandum. The LL is given reasonable time to check for all possible defects and this is in my opinion the purpose (intention) of the delayed return of the deposit. More over, you can be still liable after the deposit is returned to you.

I don't know how the wall looks like so hard to elaborate on this point but $350 seems way too much for repainting of a single wall.


Thanks, X9200. In the HO document, it states ”

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 20 Feb 2014 12:08 pm

Sounds good enough to me. The only case they might have is if there are some hidden defects but with something as obvious as the wall I don't think they have a case.

SCT should cost you around $20 if I remember correctly and after it is ruled in your favor you would need to engage a bailiff (so still no need of a lawyer). It is not that straight forward* but may be possible to recover your money.

Your major hope is that the LL will give the deposit back to you already after realizing you are serious to go to SCT so you have to write him an official letter (and send via registered mail) clearly stating your intentions.

*) please see this thread.
ftopic100247.html

ludwig12
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Postby ludwig12 » Thu, 20 Feb 2014 2:04 pm

x9200 wrote:Sounds good enough to me. The only case they might have is if there are some hidden defects but with something as obvious as the wall I don't think they have a case.

SCT should cost you around $20 if I remember correctly and after it is ruled in your favor you would need to engage a bailiff (so still no need of a lawyer). It is not that straight forward* but may be possible to recover your money.

Your major hope is that the LL will give the deposit back to you already after realizing you are serious to go to SCT so you have to write him an official letter (and send via registered mail) clearly stating your intentions.

*) please see this thread.
ftopic100247.html


You are right X9200. It is 20$ for customer claims. I did read the thread above, actually it was this post that gave me cold feet regarding to the SCT.

I did speak to a litigation lawyer, he said that the most common used enforcement is going to cost 1000-1500$ where the losing side is responsible for 2/3 of the recovery cost. Appreciate if anyone could share their experience in doing this.

Thanks again. I will keep the board posted with progress/outcome.

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Rental deposit return -- Need advice

Postby ludwig12 » Fri, 21 Feb 2014 2:39 pm

I have tried to negotiate through my agent to get back the undisputed amount of the deposit back given it is over 3 weeks since HO while we contest over painting of the wall. But the LL side refused and saying they will only pay back the remaining deposit after I have accepted their deduction amount and the amount is not negotiable. She has also rejected us using our own contractor to repaint the wall, saying we must pay day rental and redo HO if we engage our own contractor.

After doing some reading online, it seems SCT is the best/only option for me other than accepting their claims. I would like to get some advices:

1. The disputed amount is 350$. Is it worth the time and effort going through SCT and the potential lengthy recover process?
2. The LL does not live in Singapore, I have her NRIC number and obviously the condo address but I do not have her mobile nor can I ensure she has received the letter from SCT. Would this impact getting an order from SCT?
3. Is there any penalty/consequences for the LL for failure to obey an SCT order to pay?
4. The potential legal cost is likely to exceed 450$ if they do not pay after SCT, can I claim legal cost from the LL?
5. I understand this is a civil dispute not a criminal act "yet", but will a police report do any good? I have read some other ppl who had filed it. Should I file one before going to SCT?

At this point, my main motivation to stand ground is that I feel this is unjust/unfair but I am unsure what kind of justice I can realistically expect, it seems that I am lucky simply to get my money back. Is there not any real consequences for LL (such as bad credit rating, personal record etc.) for not following all the signed documents and an SCT order?

Any advice/pointers are much appreciated.

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Postby x9200 » Fri, 21 Feb 2014 3:17 pm

You may check with the police or your lawyer how do they see the fact of withholding your money under the condition you accept something. Sounds to me pretty close to criminal blackmailing.

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Re: Rental deposit return -- Need advice

Postby Beeroclock » Fri, 21 Feb 2014 4:05 pm

ludwig12 wrote:I have tried to negotiate through my agent to get back the undisputed amount of the deposit back given it is over 3 weeks since HO while we contest over painting of the wall. But the LL side refused and saying they will only pay back the remaining deposit after I have accepted their deduction amount and the amount is not negotiable. She has also rejected us using our own contractor to repaint the wall, saying we must pay day rental and redo HO if we engage our own contractor.

After doing some reading online, it seems SCT is the best/only option for me other than accepting their claims. I would like to get some advices:

1. The disputed amount is 350$. Is it worth the time and effort going through SCT and the potential lengthy recover process?
2. The LL does not live in Singapore, I have her NRIC number and obviously the condo address but I do not have her mobile nor can I ensure she has received the letter from SCT. Would this impact getting an order from SCT?
3. Is there any penalty/consequences for the LL for failure to obey an SCT order to pay?
4. The potential legal cost is likely to exceed 450$ if they do not pay after SCT, can I claim legal cost from the LL?
5. I understand this is a civil dispute not a criminal act "yet", but will a police report do any good? I have read some other ppl who had filed it. Should I file one before going to SCT?

At this point, my main motivation to stand ground is that I feel this is unjust/unfair but I am unsure what kind of justice I can realistically expect, it seems that I am lucky simply to get my money back. Is there not any real consequences for LL (such as bad credit rating, personal record etc.) for not following all the signed documents and an SCT order?

Any advice/pointers are much appreciated.


1. Well it depends how much $350 means to you, but IMO it will not be worth the time/effort. I'd think it's more a matter of principle if you feel wronged and want "justice" (i.e. the Court agrees you are in the right), as you mentioned.
2. Might create an additional time delay in the process, but I don't think it will stop it from going ahead. Check the details on SCT website
3. Unfortunately the onus is on you to enforce the order. So there will be consequences but only if you commit the additional time/cost to follow through with bailiffs.
4. I'm not sure.
5. I doubt the police will want to get involved in this....

Hope you might go ahead and share with us the outcome, will be a useful test case ! I guess LL is probably assuming you won't bother to go to court for $350, so worth a shot to spend the $20 and hope the landlord will settle to avoid the hassle of SCT attendance, especially as they are overseas.

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Postby movingtospore » Sun, 23 Feb 2014 12:37 pm

I hope you win. LL here are really unbelievable at times.

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Re: Rental deposit return -- Need advice

Postby ludwig12 » Mon, 24 Feb 2014 11:25 pm

Beeroclock wrote:
1. Well it depends how much $350 means to you, but IMO it will not be worth the time/effort. I'd think it's more a matter of principle if you feel wronged and want "justice" (i.e. the Court agrees you are in the right), as you mentioned.
2. Might create an additional time delay in the process, but I don't think it will stop it from going ahead. Check the details on SCT website
3. Unfortunately the onus is on you to enforce the order. So there will be consequences but only if you commit the additional time/cost to follow through with bailiffs.
4. I'm not sure.
5. I doubt the police will want to get involved in this....

Hope you might go ahead and share with us the outcome, will be a useful test case ! I guess LL is probably assuming you won't bother to go to court for $350, so worth a shot to spend the $20 and hope the landlord will settle to avoid the hassle of SCT attendance, especially as they are overseas.


Thanks. I made the last attempt to settle today by offering 100$ more as good will to save everyone the hassle but it was flatly rejected by the LL agent again saying I had to accept their deduction in full before they would gave me back any refund. I feel it would be the wrong thing to accept this type of extortion.

As such, I have filed a police report and lodged a claim with SCT. Will keep the board updated with any progress. Again, welcome any hints/pointers.

A bit of rant:
The more I read, the more I realized that this is really a systematic failure due to lack of regulation: out dated TA agreement which favors strongly towards LL, no tenant association of any kind or have security deposit hold by 3rd party agency as some countries too. That is a bit surprising given the SG government is pretty good/efficient at micro managing the red dot. But what do I know.

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Postby Beeroclock » Mon, 24 Feb 2014 11:37 pm

Good luck! Agree fully bond should be held by an independent body and disbursed upon joint signed release form. In the event this form cannot be signed then the parties can go to SCT for a ruling on how the bond should be split.

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 7:19 am

Yes, definitely.

It is also a failure if after winning in SCT there is no reasonably simple way to recover the ruled in favor amount (and all the costs for that matter). This deifies the sense of existence of this institution.

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Postby ludwig12 » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 12:41 pm

Got a call from SCT this morning, saying that the address of the LL must be a residential address, the address I provided on the claim form was from the TA, which is a POBOX address. Since I do not have the actual residential address of the LL, the other address I can put is the rental property address which I have no way of making sure she gets the mail at all.

Any pointers from anyone that may run into this in the past?

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Postby ludwig12 » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 12:44 pm

movingtospore wrote:I hope you win. LL here are really unbelievable at times.


Thanks. Indeed, it is quite unbelievable that unlawful possession of thousands of dollar has much less consequence than spitting on the street.

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Postby Beeroclock » Tue, 25 Feb 2014 2:28 pm

ludwig12 wrote:Got a call from SCT this morning, saying that the address of the LL must be a residential address, the address I provided on the claim form was from the TA, which is a POBOX address. Since I do not have the actual residential address of the LL, the other address I can put is the rental property address which I have no way of making sure she gets the mail at all.

Any pointers from anyone that may run into this in the past?
Oh dear, seems to be one hurdle after another..... I would be googling and searching where-ever possible online in case it turns up something. Or if you can somehow persuade the agent to share it (unlikely!)... That's all I can think of.

Mods, can this be captured in the T/A sticky note ? it seems an important point for tenant to insist landlord must give a residential address in the T/A and not a P/O Box, to avoid being stuck in this situation.....


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