Singapore Expats Forum

Vacating Apartment Early and Problematic Landlord

Discuss about life in Singapore. Ask about cost of living, housing, travel, etiquette & lifestyle. Share experience & advice with Singaporeans & expat staying in Singapore.

Sponsored by:
Image
AE Logistics - Movers & Storage

MWasser6
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun, 24 Aug 2014

Vacating Apartment Early and Problematic Landlord

Postby MWasser6 » Sun, 24 Aug 2014 3:47 pm

I need advice on vacating a flat early with a problematic landlord. Essentially, we had serious toilet issues (we only have 1) from February to July of this year. The landlord sent plumbers on several occasions who claimed to "fix" the issue, but within 2-3 days the toilet began running again, and wouldn't flush. With the running toilet, we had to turn the main water line on and off whenever we wanted to: use the toilet, shower, anything.

Now we are planning on leaving country later this year and want to break the contract early, and have been asking for an early break from our contract given that he did not address this issue. He is refusing and unfortunately we do not have a diplomatic clause. Is there any way we can claim back rent given he did not provide a safe/hygienic living conditions?

If we vacate the premise and stop paying rent early, will there be serious repercussions? We have over 100 emails with the property agent, and photographs to back up the lack of help, so would we have legal recourse if he filed a suit to return the rent?

PNGMK
Director
Director
Posts: 4856
Joined: Thu, 21 Mar 2013

Re: Vacating Apartment Early and Problematic Landlord

Postby PNGMK » Sun, 24 Aug 2014 8:02 pm

MWasser6 wrote:I need advice on vacating a flat early with a problematic landlord. Essentially, we had serious toilet issues (we only have 1) from February to July of this year. The landlord sent plumbers on several occasions who claimed to "fix" the issue, but within 2-3 days the toilet began running again, and wouldn't flush. With the running toilet, we had to turn the main water line on and off whenever we wanted to: use the toilet, shower, anything.

Now we are planning on leaving country later this year and want to break the contract early, and have been asking for an early break from our contract given that he did not address this issue. He is refusing and unfortunately we do not have a diplomatic clause. Is there any way we can claim back rent given he did not provide a safe/hygienic living conditions?

If we vacate the premise and stop paying rent early, will there be serious repercussions? We have over 100 emails with the property agent, and photographs to back up the lack of help, so would we have legal recourse if he filed a suit to return the rent?


If you vacate without an agreement you'll lose all deposits. You may be sued but frankly the chance is low IMO.

If you don't pay the rent prior to vacating you risk being evicted.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Sun, 24 Aug 2014 8:03 pm

Are you leaving SG because of the toilet?

Or leaving SG and looking for a legal Ground on which to try and break your lease early?

MWasser6
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun, 24 Aug 2014

Re: Vacating Apartment Early and Problematic Landlord

Postby MWasser6 » Sun, 24 Aug 2014 8:06 pm

PNGMK wrote:
MWasser6 wrote:I need advice on vacating a flat early with a problematic landlord. Essentially, we had serious toilet issues (we only have 1) from February to July of this year. The landlord sent plumbers on several occasions who claimed to "fix" the issue, but within 2-3 days the toilet began running again, and wouldn't flush. With the running toilet, we had to turn the main water line on and off whenever we wanted to: use the toilet, shower, anything.

Now we are planning on leaving country later this year and want to break the contract early, and have been asking for an early break from our contract given that he did not address this issue. He is refusing and unfortunately we do not have a diplomatic clause. Is there any way we can claim back rent given he did not provide a safe/hygienic living conditions?

If we vacate the premise and stop paying rent early, will there be serious repercussions? We have over 100 emails with the property agent, and photographs to back up the lack of help, so would we have legal recourse if he filed a suit to return the rent?


If you vacate without an agreement you'll lose all deposits. You may be sued but frankly the chance is low IMO.

If you don't pay the rent prior to vacating you risk being evicted.


Thanks PNGMK for the reply. If we were sued, would we have recourse given the problems the landlord caused not repairing problems in the apartment? Or is it unlikely since its a separate issue?

Do we have any rights as tenants to claim back rent given we didn't have a usable toilet for two months?

Thanks again.

taxico
Director
Director
Posts: 3150
Joined: Sat, 10 May 2008
Location: Existential dilemma!

Postby taxico » Sun, 24 Aug 2014 8:35 pm

JR8 wrote:Are you leaving SG because of the toilet?

Or leaving SG and looking for a legal Ground on which to try and break your lease early?


sounds like the latter to me...
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

taxico
Director
Director
Posts: 3150
Joined: Sat, 10 May 2008
Location: Existential dilemma!

Re: Vacating Apartment Early and Problematic Landlord

Postby taxico » Sun, 24 Aug 2014 8:39 pm

MWasser6 wrote:
PNGMK wrote:
MWasser6 wrote:I need advice on vacating a flat early with a problematic landlord. Essentially, we had serious toilet issues (we only have 1) from February to July of this year. The landlord sent plumbers on several occasions who claimed to "fix" the issue, but within 2-3 days the toilet began running again, and wouldn't flush. With the running toilet, we had to turn the main water line on and off whenever we wanted to: use the toilet, shower, anything.

Now we are planning on leaving country later this year and want to break the contract early, and have been asking for an early break from our contract given that he did not address this issue. He is refusing and unfortunately we do not have a diplomatic clause. Is there any way we can claim back rent given he did not provide a safe/hygienic living conditions?

If we vacate the premise and stop paying rent early, will there be serious repercussions? We have over 100 emails with the property agent, and photographs to back up the lack of help, so would we have legal recourse if he filed a suit to return the rent?


If you vacate without an agreement you'll lose all deposits. You may be sued but frankly the chance is low IMO.

If you don't pay the rent prior to vacating you risk being evicted.


Thanks PNGMK for the reply. If we were sued, would we have recourse given the problems the landlord caused not repairing problems in the apartment? Or is it unlikely since its a separate issue?

Do we have any rights as tenants to claim back rent given we didn't have a usable toilet for two months?

Thanks again.


in your TA... is there a clause that states who's supposed to pay for the repairs below/above a certain amount?

whatever the case is, i would think a better/normal way forward (in your case anyway) would be simply to get the toilet repaired on the tenant's dime first and then figure out who bears the cost.

remember: the landlord has sent plumbers on more than one occasion...
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

MWasser6
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun, 24 Aug 2014

Re: Vacating Apartment Early and Problematic Landlord

Postby MWasser6 » Sun, 24 Aug 2014 9:01 pm

taxico wrote:
MWasser6 wrote:
PNGMK wrote:
MWasser6 wrote:I need advice on vacating a flat early with a problematic landlord. Essentially, we had serious toilet issues (we only have 1) from February to July of this year. The landlord sent plumbers on several occasions who claimed to "fix" the issue, but within 2-3 days the toilet began running again, and wouldn't flush. With the running toilet, we had to turn the main water line on and off whenever we wanted to: use the toilet, shower, anything.

Now we are planning on leaving country later this year and want to break the contract early, and have been asking for an early break from our contract given that he did not address this issue. He is refusing and unfortunately we do not have a diplomatic clause. Is there any way we can claim back rent given he did not provide a safe/hygienic living conditions?

If we vacate the premise and stop paying rent early, will there be serious repercussions? We have over 100 emails with the property agent, and photographs to back up the lack of help, so would we have legal recourse if he filed a suit to return the rent?


If you vacate without an agreement you'll lose all deposits. You may be sued but frankly the chance is low IMO.

If you don't pay the rent prior to vacating you risk being evicted.


Thanks PNGMK for the reply. If we were sued, would we have recourse given the problems the landlord caused not repairing problems in the apartment? Or is it unlikely since its a separate issue?

Do we have any rights as tenants to claim back rent given we didn't have a usable toilet for two months?

Thanks again.


in your TA... is there a clause that states who's supposed to pay for the repairs below/above a certain amount?

whatever the case is, i would think a better/normal way forward (in your case anyway) would be simply to get the toilet repaired on the tenant's dime first and then figure out who bears the cost.

remember: the landlord has sent plumbers on more than one occasion...


Thanks, you are right, we are looking for legal grounds to leave early.

The toilet was fixed by the landlord, but only after not having a working one for over 3 months (no flush, and running water, which had to be turned on and off to use the shower etc.) and numerous plumbers come and say they fixed it when it would stop working with a day or two. We called/emailed over 100 times to try to get it addressed, but it took that long. Normally, this would be grounds for unsanitary living conditions and the landlord would be liable for not providing a safe environment but we probably should have witheld rent or terminated the lease while this was happening rather than waiting till now, but we were ill-informed of our options at the time.

Any potential advice would be appreciated.

taxico
Director
Director
Posts: 3150
Joined: Sat, 10 May 2008
Location: Existential dilemma!

Postby taxico » Sun, 24 Aug 2014 9:30 pm

i think since you still do have running water, and a faulty albeit working commode... (assisted by turning the mains on/off) and another one that works, it is not necessarily unsanitary...

i mean, if the pipes were choked, and the water mains were broken... and backflow keeps gurgling out and filling the bathroom... and there's a permanent stench and you've got rugs damaged and other property destroyed...

trust me - i've seen unsanitary. it's not what you've described. extremely inconvenienced? yes. definitely. not fair? probably - but we've not heard your landlord's side of the story.

right now you are just looking for a way out without hurting your pocket book. it wouldn't cost the landlord more than $500 to get the toilet fixed. it will cost him more if he allows you to break the lease.

both parties entered the TA with eyes wide opened.

you either forgo your deposit while paying him monthly until you move and assume he will take no further action, or you ask him how what it would take to break the lease since you are no longer happy living there with the toilet in such a state and the length of time he has taken to NOT rectify the issue and how much it has inconvenienced you (and your family?).
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Re: Vacating Apartment Early and Problematic Landlord

Postby JR8 » Sun, 24 Aug 2014 9:44 pm

MWasser6 wrote:Thanks, you are right, we are looking for legal grounds to leave early.


Right, so the whole toilet thing is a sideshow.

So, perhaps get to the point; you want to quit early and try and minimise any penalty, is that about right? [don't know, just guessing].

Do you have any Grounds upon which to do that?

If not. You either a) flee (not suggested), or b) set about negotiating an early exit with your landlord.

User avatar
zzm9980
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6837
Joined: Wed, 06 Jul 2011
Location: Once more unto the breach

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:05 am

If you do leave and he does sue you, you'll not be able to work in Singapore again. That may or may not be a concern of yours. If he can somehow declare you a bankrupt for not paying (not sure how that works honestly, but you can google it), you may be arrested at the airport if you ever try to enter the country again.

User avatar
aster
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1593
Joined: Fri, 15 Jan 2010

Re: Vacating Apartment Early and Problematic Landlord

Postby aster » Mon, 25 Aug 2014 2:45 am

MWasser6 wrote:Essentially, we had serious toilet issues (we only have 1) from February to July of this year.


So I take it you are on a 2-yr lease that started in Jan/Feb of this year?

P.S. Your agent never mentioned that you can get a diplomatic clause put into your contract? Seems like you forgot completely about Justin. Justin Case.

PNGMK
Director
Director
Posts: 4856
Joined: Thu, 21 Mar 2013

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 25 Aug 2014 9:53 am

zzm9980 wrote:If you do leave and he does sue you, you'll not be able to work in Singapore again. That may or may not be a concern of yours. If he can somehow declare you a bankrupt for not paying (not sure how that works honestly, but you can google it), you may be arrested at the airport if you ever try to enter the country again.


I don't agree with this opinion. A law suit for unpaid rent is a civil matter, not a criminal one. To progress from being sued to actually being bankrupted it a long way. There may be a judgement against the OP but that's easily dealt with if he comes back (been there, done that).

beppi
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1751
Joined: Thu, 07 Sep 2006
Location: Ahlongistan (O$P$)

Postby beppi » Mon, 25 Aug 2014 4:33 pm

If I understand you correctly, the toilet issue was eventually settled and everything is working fine now.
Anyway, given the difficulty in finding any plumber for such jobs, and the generally shoddy workmanship in Singapore, I would empathize with the landlord, who probably did whatever he could to alleviate the problem quickly.

The (now solved) toilet problem and your need to break the contract early with minimal financial loss are separate issues and bringing them together will not help you.
You should thus negotiate with the landlord for a mutually agreeable solution, or flee and forgo your deposit (with potentially graver legal consequences as pointed out above).

User avatar
zzm9980
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6837
Joined: Wed, 06 Jul 2011
Location: Once more unto the breach

Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 26 Aug 2014 2:14 am

PNGMK wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:If you do leave and he does sue you, you'll not be able to work in Singapore again. That may or may not be a concern of yours. If he can somehow declare you a bankrupt for not paying (not sure how that works honestly, but you can google it), you may be arrested at the airport if you ever try to enter the country again.


I don't agree with this opinion. A law suit for unpaid rent is a civil matter, not a criminal one. To progress from being sued to actually being bankrupted it a long way. There may be a judgement against the OP but that's easily dealt with if he comes back (been there, done that).


Which is why I stated the part in bold. I don't know what's involved in it, but from what I understood if the landlord really pushed it it could happen.


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Staying, Living in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests