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Rental scam? 2 agents?

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Andrew1981
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Postby Andrew1981 » Mon, 28 Jul 2014 4:02 pm

Yeah I'll let you know.

I don't need a condo, travel too much and would never use any of the luxuries that come with the condo. So rather spend less on an HDB. Besides I love the area I'm in, Tanjong Pagar.

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Postby x9200 » Mon, 28 Jul 2014 4:09 pm

Wd40 wrote:
the lynx wrote:
Wd40 wrote:Its not a scam but a very common practice. I have come across several such cases. Sometimes husband, wife team up or friends team up so that they can take the agent fee from the tenant as well as the owner.

It depends on demand and supply. If you refuse to pay the agent fee, they will look for another tenant and from my experience in the low end of the HDB rentals(~2k) its nearly impossible to get away from paying the agent fee, unless you are okay to rent anywhere and have no constraints.

Since this is very widespread, I doubt if it is illegal. It may be unethical, but I guess they have workarounds. Most people on this forum rent condos or just rooms in HDB/condo, so they wont even know it or have come across it.

Do us a favour, now that you have decided to come out of your lurking mode and asked a question. When you manage to find a house, update us whether you paid the agent fee or not.


What the heck?

It is illegal! Whatever it is, it is still wrong. I'm very surprised you seemed to think that it is normal despite of your many years dealing with agents. Just like how some people borrow someone else's foreign maid to clean their houses once a week. Common? Kind of. Illegal? You can sure bet your candy that it is.


I don't understand why you are getting angry at me? I am saying its widespread and common. I don't know what you mean by "normal"

Borrowing else's maid is out and out illegal, you can go and complain and all parties will be caught, there is no way to hide.

But in this case, the law says one agent cannot take fee from both the landlord and the tenant and so the agents team up and have 2 people, one representing the tenant and another the landlord, to beat the law.

This is Singapore, mind you. Its the last place on earth where people will do illegal stuff, openly. Okay, if you say its illegal, fine! Its illegal!


It is against the law:
1) as of the CEA's regulation
2) the whole arrangement is to make the prospective tenant to believe s(he) has to pay the fee where it is completely not necessary to do this. If you try to make people pay you something based on false, misleading pretences, then it is a fraud, and fraud is not only illegal, it is also criminal.

Whether the later can be proven in the court is another matter but it should not be taken lightly under any circumstances. It only encourages similar behavior, and later, some people may even see it as a norm.

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 28 Jul 2014 4:38 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:You got me on that one JR8. What is NAEA? The governing body here is CEA I thought. That's a new acronym for me. :???:


National Association of Estate Agents? No? :???:

... Just checked, no such thing, I think I was thinking NEA, and somehow got to NAEA from that ... :lol: :oops:


ps/late edit: NAEA is a UK regulatory body for estate agents. That squares the circle on the confusion on my part. [Phew, not half so loony after all lol].

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Last edited by JR8 on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Mi Amigo » Mon, 28 Jul 2014 5:41 pm

Council for Estate Agents:

https://www.cea.gov.sg/
Be careful what you wish for

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Re: Rental scam? 2 agents?

Postby Beeroclock » Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:05 pm

Andrew1981 wrote:Hey, long time lurker first time poster. :)

I'm trying to work out if this is a scam or not, looked at an apartment today (HDB) and there's two agents.

The first is representing the owner.

The second is, according to him, finding the apartment for me... Despite the fact the apartment had already being found since I inquired about the specific apartment posted on iproperty.

The second agent wants me to pay an agent fee for finding the apartment. The excuse they give is that by having two agents there is no conflict of interest between the two parties.

I did not contact the agent to go out of his way to find me an apartment that suited my needs, I asked about a specific listing, so I don't see why I should pay a fee for something he did not find me.

Is this a scam or something?

Thanks.

A bit late, but can I clarify is the second agent the poster of the iproperty ad you found and responded to, or just someone who randomly appeared at the viewing? Wasn't clear to me from your post, but if it's the former, and you contacted this second agent to find out the unit number/arrange the viewing, then in that case I tend to agree with wd40. That's why you often see the same unit advertised many times by cobroke agents, it's important to ask if they are the principal letting agent before you go ahead and ask for details, if you want to avoid the fee. However if it's a random agent who just showed up and was thrust upon you, then of course it's not right and I agree with what everyone else is saying.

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Re: Rental scam? 2 agents?

Postby Andrew1981 » Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:59 am

Beeroclock wrote:A bit late, but can I clarify is the second agent the poster of the iproperty ad you found and responded to, or just someone who randomly appeared at the viewing? Wasn't clear to me from your post, but if it's the former, and you contacted this second agent to find out the unit number/arrange the viewing, then in that case I tend to agree with wd40. That's why you often see the same unit advertised many times by cobroke agents, it's important to ask if they are the principal letting agent before you go ahead and ask for details, if you want to avoid the fee. However if it's a random agent who just showed up and was thrust upon you, then of course it's not right and I agree with what everyone else is saying.



I contacted the agent in the ad, upon arrival the agent was with another agent, I thought they were working together.

When we went to view the apartment, he mentioned there would be an agent fee of half a month rent. I said I thought only the landlord paid an agent fee.

He said it was an agent fee for finding the apartment, I said: "But you had already found the apartment, I didn't ask you to look for me, I asked to view the one specified in the advert".

He fumbled and said the other guy stepped in to say that he was representing the landlord and that my guy was representing me, so there is no conflict of interest if we have disputes...

This sent off warning bells because when I moved here 2 1/2 years ago I didn't pay any agent fee, only the stamp fee, and while I dealt with two people, the 2nd agent was only there for witnessing the signing of the contracts.

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Re: Rental scam? 2 agents?

Postby x9200 » Tue, 29 Jul 2014 7:39 am

Beeroclock wrote:
Andrew1981 wrote:Hey, long time lurker first time poster. :)

I'm trying to work out if this is a scam or not, looked at an apartment today (HDB) and there's two agents.

The first is representing the owner.

The second is, according to him, finding the apartment for me... Despite the fact the apartment had already being found since I inquired about the specific apartment posted on iproperty.

The second agent wants me to pay an agent fee for finding the apartment. The excuse they give is that by having two agents there is no conflict of interest between the two parties.

I did not contact the agent to go out of his way to find me an apartment that suited my needs, I asked about a specific listing, so I don't see why I should pay a fee for something he did not find me.

Is this a scam or something?

Thanks.

A bit late, but can I clarify is the second agent the poster of the iproperty ad you found and responded to, or just someone who randomly appeared at the viewing? Wasn't clear to me from your post, but if it's the former, and you contacted this second agent to find out the unit number/arrange the viewing, then in that case I tend to agree with wd40. That's why you often see the same unit advertised many times by cobroke agents, it's important to ask if they are the principal letting agent before you go ahead and ask for details, if you want to avoid the fee. However if it's a random agent who just showed up and was thrust upon you, then of course it's not right and I agree with what everyone else is saying.


The LLs typically hire many agents to make the whole thing more competitive, so the fact the apartment is advertised by many agents does not mean they are not representing a single LL. The agent who gets lucky in bringing in the client and sealing the deal is paid, the rest is not.

Also, to engage an agent there has to be an agreement between the tenant and the agent. The fact alone of contacting an agent (by whatever means) does not make a valid agreement (even if we assume a verbal one is allowed in this case). Such approach would make a little sense to the agent as he secures this way nothing and gives away all the property details (including the contact details of the LL's agent).

Yet another thing: this would be the due diligence of the advertising agent to make the situation clear if he does not represent the LL.

The only case where in my experience the co-broking takes place is when the agent you hire makes a deal with the LL's agent so you can pay nothing. This is how it used to work before the new law kicked in and it is still often the case if the rental is sufficiently high for both the agent to agree to share.

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Re: Rental scam? 2 agents?

Postby Beeroclock » Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:14 am

Andrew1981 wrote:
Beeroclock wrote:A bit late, but can I clarify is the second agent the poster of the iproperty ad you found and responded to, or just someone who randomly appeared at the viewing? Wasn't clear to me from your post, but if it's the former, and you contacted this second agent to find out the unit number/arrange the viewing, then in that case I tend to agree with wd40. That's why you often see the same unit advertised many times by cobroke agents, it's important to ask if they are the principal letting agent before you go ahead and ask for details, if you want to avoid the fee. However if it's a random agent who just showed up and was thrust upon you, then of course it's not right and I agree with what everyone else is saying.



I contacted the agent in the ad, upon arrival the agent was with another agent, I thought they were working together.

When we went to view the apartment, he mentioned there would be an agent fee of half a month rent. I said I thought only the landlord paid an agent fee.

He said it was an agent fee for finding the apartment, I said: "But you had already found the apartment, I didn't ask you to look for me, I asked to view the one specified in the advert".

He fumbled and said the other guy stepped in to say that he was representing the landlord and that my guy was representing me, so there is no conflict of interest if we have disputes...

This sent off warning bells because when I moved here 2 1/2 years ago I didn't pay any agent fee, only the stamp fee, and while I dealt with two people, the 2nd agent was only there for witnessing the signing of the contracts.


Thanks, fully agree you did the right thing to reject this fee.

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Re: Rental scam? 2 agents?

Postby Beeroclock » Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:29 am

x9200 wrote:The LLs typically hire many agents to make the whole thing more competitive, so the fact the apartment is advertised by many agents does not mean they are not representing a single LL. The agent who gets lucky in bringing in the client and sealing the deal is paid, the rest is not.

Also, to engage an agent there has to be an agreement between the tenant and the agent. The fact alone of contacting an agent (by whatever means) does not make a valid agreement (even if we assume a verbal one is allowed in this case). Such approach would make a little sense to the agent as he secures this way nothing and gives away all the property details (including the contact details of the LL's agent).

Yet another thing: this would be the due diligence of the advertising agent to make the situation clear if he does not represent the LL.

The only case where in my experience the co-broking takes place is when the agent you hire makes a deal with the LL's agent so you can pay nothing. This is how it used to work before the new law kicked in and it is still often the case if the rental is sufficiently high for both the agent to agree to share.

x9200, yes you're right. I guess it wouldn't matter in that scenario either.

It's been a while since I rented here, but last time I recall having a lot of hassle sifting through the many online ads and trying to identify the "prime agent". Many ads by "co-broke" agents trying to blur the lines / pretend to be the prime agent, and of course they would not tell you the apartment number, you would have to meet them first and they would present you at the viewing as "their" buyer/tenant.

I really dislike the practice here of multiple agents marketing same property. It was not something I was used to from my home country. While I can understand the LL/owner might intend for increased competition, but IMO it just creates inefficiency, potential for conflict of interest, and opportunity for extra fee to be extracted from the transaction, usually at the expense of either LL/owner or tenant/buyer. These additional agents do not really add a wider net of buyers, only to contribute yet another online ad into the system, which I don't see how it adds value.

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Re: Rental scam? 2 agents?

Postby Brah » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 8:47 am

Beeroclock wrote:I really dislike the practice here of multiple agents marketing same property.


And then there is the flip side, of where RE agents you engage, get angry when you engage more than one, claiming that they "all have access to the same database" blah blah.

Of course you would not view the same place with different agents, but no one is going to tell me to use just one agent.

Database or not, they all get different info and have different connections.

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Postby Andrew1981 » Fri, 15 Aug 2014 1:33 am

So I found an apartment near where I'm already living, looked at maybe 25 or 30. More than half of them had 2 agents.

In the end I took an apartment with 2 agents because the apartment was super nice, and cheaper than other apartments in the same building.

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Postby Mi Amigo » Fri, 15 Aug 2014 4:55 am

Andrew1981 wrote:So I found an apartment near where I'm already living, looked at maybe 25 or 30. More than half of them had 2 agents.

In the end I took an apartment with 2 agents because the apartment was super nice, and cheaper than other apartments in the same building.

But hopefully (assuming you found the apartment by yourself), you weren't bamboozled into paying an agent's fee, or were you?
Be careful what you wish for

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Postby Wd40 » Fri, 15 Aug 2014 11:30 am

See I told you guys and everyone pounced on me, like I was talking something totally out of the world :roll:

And its not a case of bamboozled. If you stick to your principles and refuse to pay the agent fee, someone else will pay and get the nice apartment at a better overall deal(rent+agent fee) and you may end up getting an overpriced shitty apartment without the agent fee.

Andrew1981 wrote:So I found an apartment near where I'm already living, looked at maybe 25 or 30. More than half of them had 2 agents.
In the end I took an apartment with 2 agents because the apartment was super nice, and cheaper than other apartments in the same building.


This confirms, when I said, its a common practice.

This is how it works in the bread and butter HDB market and I can understand the ignorance of most regulars here who either rent condos(way overpriced, anyways) or stay in your own houses.

Thanks Andrew for updating.

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Postby Wd40 » Fri, 15 Aug 2014 11:53 am

If you have specific requirements like you need a specific area, then its extremely rare to find a nice house and one where an agent who wont charge fee from you, inspite of the fact that you found the house.

By the way, Andrew's statement already proves my point. He knew the rules, he saw 25-30 houses, yet he had to pay the agent fee.

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Postby the lynx » Fri, 15 Aug 2014 12:28 pm

Wd40 wrote:See I told you guys and everyone pounced on me, like I was talking something totally out of the world :roll:

And its not a case of bamboozled. If you stick to your principles and refuse to pay the agent fee, someone else will pay and get the nice apartment at a better overall deal(rent+agent fee) and you may end up getting an overpriced shitty apartment without the agent fee.

Andrew1981 wrote:So I found an apartment near where I'm already living, looked at maybe 25 or 30. More than half of them had 2 agents.
In the end I took an apartment with 2 agents because the apartment was super nice, and cheaper than other apartments in the same building.


This confirms, when I said, its a common practice.

This is how it works in the bread and butter HDB market and I can understand the ignorance of most regulars here who either rent condos(way overpriced, anyways) or stay in your own houses.

Thanks Andrew for updating.


We are not saying that we don't know about this "rule". We are saying that it is wrong, even though a lot of people do it. (And I used to rent in HDB too, sans agent) You can look back at the early part of the thread to re-read what we said.

I fail to see where your reading comprehension on our statement lapses.

Edited: Added air quotes because Wd40 is gloating over a speck in mine and failed to see a plank in his own.
Last edited by the lynx on Fri, 15 Aug 2014 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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