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Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

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missfong02
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Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby missfong02 » Thu, 02 Jul 2015 3:52 pm

Hi all,

Hoping to get some feedback on my situation.

- I had sent through a letter of intent (LOI) to a Landlord (LL) for a property and paid the deposit.
- However, due to immigration issues, it looks like my potential employer won't be able to apply for an EP until another 3 months.
- We had informed the LL's agent of this issue as we thought it not fair to hold the property for a period of 3 months. The LL texted saying that the wait of approx 3 months is "not agreeable".
- We also had drafted a Tenancy Agreement (TA), but received no response on the additional T&C's we included.

Per the signed LOI by both parties (LL and tenant), it states that if both parties do not agree on the T&Cs of the TA by a certain date, they had to return our deposit we had paid within 7 days. Where the key dates (EP approval, move in and handover dates) had lapsed, they were subject to renegotiation.

The LL has come back to us stating that they are "not returning back the deposit is because they even bought the things* tenant needed after you mentioned that only a mess up of paper from ICA but it seem much bigger issue. "

*Note the "things tenant needed" was a washing machine and a microwave...more or less the standard items available in most new condo rentals in Singapore.

Any advice if you have been in a similar situation or can provide some insight as to my next steps would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Meetoe

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martincymru
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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby martincymru » Thu, 02 Jul 2015 4:41 pm

LL only claiming for those 2 items?
If you reimburse then you become the owner of said items?

If the LOI did not mention "costs" then you are in the clear.

You requested those items. Therefore the implication is that you will pay. Gets a little tricky this.

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x9200
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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby x9200 » Thu, 02 Jul 2015 6:06 pm

Typical LOI has no legal binding power. The LL bought the items at his own risk. He should have waited for the TA to be signed. All your deposit should go back to you.

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby missfong02 » Thu, 02 Jul 2015 7:33 pm

martincymru wrote:LL only claiming for those 2 items?
If you reimburse then you become the owner of said items?

If the LOI did not mention "costs" then you are in the clear.

You requested those items. Therefore the implication is that you will pay. Gets a little tricky this.


Thanks for your response!
Makes sense that if they claim for those items (i.e. demand us to pay) then I should be the legal owner.

But what if the landlord changes his story and asks that we pay for lost rent?

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby missfong02 » Thu, 02 Jul 2015 7:36 pm

x9200 wrote:Typical LOI has no legal binding power. The LL bought the items at his own risk. He should have waited for the TA to be signed. All your deposit should go back to you.



Thanks :)

That was what we were thinking, but they are refusing to return the deposit.
Though we were told by the agent's legal team that if we go to the small claims tribunal the court could go either way. "50/50 chance" is what they said.. Although that sounds like the legal team is just sitting on the fence...

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby JR8 » Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:22 pm

missfong02 wrote:
x9200 wrote:Typical LOI has no legal binding power. The LL bought the items at his own risk. He should have waited for the TA to be signed. All your deposit should go back to you.


Thanks :)
That was what we were thinking, but they are refusing to return the deposit.
Though we were told by the agent's legal team that if we go to the small claims tribunal the court could go either way. "50/50 chance" is what they said.. Although that sounds like the legal team is just sitting on the fence...


Sounds like pretty typical local opportunism to me. The agent who said "xyz", is that your agent, or the LLs? I'd be inclined to give them x days to return it, since no legally binding contract was entered in to, or then take it to the SCT.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby missfong02 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 2:47 am

JR8 wrote:
missfong02 wrote:
x9200 wrote:Typical LOI has no legal binding power. The LL bought the items at his own risk. He should have waited for the TA to be signed. All your deposit should go back to you.


Thanks :)
That was what we were thinking, but they are refusing to return the deposit.
Though we were told by the agent's legal team that if we go to the small claims tribunal the court could go either way. "50/50 chance" is what they said.. Although that sounds like the legal team is just sitting on the fence...


Sounds like pretty typical local opportunism to me. The agent who said "xyz", is that your agent, or the LLs? I'd be inclined to give them x days to return it, since no legally binding contract was entered in to, or then take it to the SCT.


Hi JR8 - thanks for your advice. :)

It was our agent's legal team, which makes me not even trust my own agent.

I'm drafting up an email as to why they should return the deposit and have outlined that (despite the LOI not being legally binding), they have agreed on terms and conditions in the LOI. I'm hoping that asking them to act with integrity and honesty will pull at their pride, though I do think i'm clutching at straws on this one...

In terms of taking to the SCT though, I have a feeling that the landlord will refuse to give us any details, so I won't even be able to serve them any notice. I've been going through the forums and researching online, but I can't find anything if this was to eventuate.
Not sure if you know what I can do if I can't even serve notice?

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby x9200 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 7:23 am

The agents here do not analyse any legal content. They just relay on some templates (mental or documents) received from their company lawyers. All what they probably know is that LOIs are sometimes legally binding (what is true) so they act like they are always binding because any conflicting situation or legal dispute means more work and inconvenience for them.

I think this whole Singapore LOI ritual is to make people less frivolous in dealing with the subject and I think in that respect it may be a useful thing, but as it often happens with many useful things it may get abused.

I would do as the other poster suggested - send a letter demanding the deposit to be returned, threaten the LL with the legal action (don't mention SCT). Send via registered mail with the receipt advice. Let them see you are serious and know what to do.

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby JR8 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 8:17 am

missfong02 wrote:In terms of taking to the SCT though, I have a feeling that the landlord will refuse to give us any details, so I won't even be able to serve them any notice.


Ask yourself: How could you enter into a legally binding contract if you have no details for the landlord? If it were a contract (it's not) who is on the other side of it? If the LOI is with the agent, then they're your 'target'.

p.s. I'm going off-line/travelling, so will not be able to follow this topic for a while. Good luck in the meanwhile. Please let us know how this situation evolves, as it will help other people in future. P.s. I agree with X9's comments above.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby x9200 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 9:12 am

missfong02,
1) who signed on the deposit receipt?
2) is the LL Singaporean/PR? - in this case, if you know his name, try your luck with the googles, white pages etc. You may be surprised.

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby missfong02 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:56 am

Hi x9200,

1. No deposit receipt - we made a bank transfer.
2. I think the LL is Singaporean. The only details I have is their name and NRIC numbers. I will google and see what comes up.

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby JR8 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 9:48 pm

You saw the IC right, in your own hand?
Otherwise the 'audit trail' of this payment is very light. Maybe why the LL thinks he can do what ever he likes?
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby missfong02 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:04 pm

JR8 wrote:You saw the IC right, in your own hand?
Otherwise the 'audit trail' of this payment is very light. Maybe why the LL thinks he can do what ever he likes?


No - it was all through the agent.
No IC was provided to us.

We have a screenshot of our deposit transfer though...

How does this change things?

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby JR8 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:13 pm

missfong02 wrote:No - it was all through the agent.
No IC was provided to us.
We have a screenshot of our deposit transfer though...
How does this change things?


I'm not sure, but it suggests the agent might be your 'target' rather than the landlord.... hmmm
Is this a 'reputable' agent, known agency, licensed: Or just some random auntie/friend/stranger?

Do you have e-mails from the agent directing you where to pay money, and on what basis?
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Postby x9200 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:23 pm

I was thinking over the same line. Perhaps a suggestion to the LL's agent that he may be a target of the OP going legal if no LL's contact data is provided, would be enough to get back the deposit.


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