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Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

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JR8
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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by JR8 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:31 pm

x9200 wrote: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.
Yep, hehe. 'My lawyer is asking me who he should direct legal letters to, yourself, or directly to the Landlord. Please confirm, and advise the applicable address' '?

Don't know.... just a thought...
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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by missfong02 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:33 pm

JR8 -
The agent is from VCRS Investments Pte Ltd - are they considered reputable?
I think they are licensed. They have quoted a license number on the . site.

Our agent sent them the LOI and we told them there would be a delay in the EP.

But the LL's agent still said "we will wait for your client ipa Meanwhile please proceed to deposit the offer Loi will still".

Our agent got their bank details and passed the information to us via whatsapp.
The bank details (name) matched to the names on the LOI which have their valid singapore IC number.

I still think the target is the landlord though, as we received screenshots of whatsapp messages the LL had sent to their agent saying they don't want to pay the deposit because of "opportunity costs" and the costs of the whitegoods under the "tenant requirements" section in the LOI.

X9200 & JR8 -
Will definitely include that to the LL agent - we are still drafting our email in response to the LL's refusal.

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by missfong02 » Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:37 pm

Thanks X9200 and JR8 - your advice and help really is valuable for us.

Coming from Australia, I never had this kind of issue before and I naively thought that Singapore would have the same standards.
I generally think people are decent human beings, but my experience in Singapore thus far has indicated otherwise.

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by x9200 » Sun, 05 Jul 2015 12:11 pm

Unfortunately it seems to be relatively common.

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by missfong02 » Sun, 05 Jul 2015 11:04 pm

Hi -

Update. I found out that the agent has readvertised the property prior to the landlord informing us they were "not agreeable" on the EP delay.

The agent does not seem to understand that they cannot do this. Isn't the point of the booking deposit meant to hold the property until we sign the TA, and then it is used for the 1st month's rent?

Their response was "we were informed of the EP delay and were not agreeable and hence have re-advertised the property".

However, the landlord had not told us they were agreeable or not, to wait due to EP delay until a few days after the property was re-advertised.

Any further thoughts?

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by x9200 » Mon, 06 Jul 2015 9:56 am

I think it only adds up to the mess but is probably of no significance. Whether they informed you or not is just about how professional and ethical they are.

On this earlier point of yours:
Our agent sent them the LOI and we told them there would be a delay in the EP.

But the LL's agent still said "we will wait for your client ipa Meanwhile please proceed to deposit the offer Loi will still".

Can you prove it?

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by missfong02 » Mon, 06 Jul 2015 12:00 pm

We have emails from the LL agent saying they will wait for the IPA, but i think our agent only verbally told them of the delay. otherwise he may have text messages informing them...

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by missfong02 » Tue, 07 Jul 2015 8:18 pm

Hi all,

Update:
We got our deposit back today.

For anyone in a similar situation, this is what we did:
1. Sent an informal letter of demand via email to the LL's agent:
- We outlined the key terms they have agreed to in the LOI and provided them a timeline of events as to our communications and their responses, and explained how their responses and actions breached the LOI.
- We also requested LL agent's and LL's details to send future legal correspondence with. Thanks for the wording JR8!

2. Received a response from the LL's agents the next day: They offered to "return 50% of the deposit out of goodwill", and the LL agents' will "bear the cost of 25%". I.e. they were going to return 75%.
Note: this was their 3rd amended offer - previously they were going to hold the full deposit and we responded it was not in line with LOI. They then offered to return 50% of the deposit "out of goodwill" - this is when we sent them the email detailed in step 1 noted above.

3. Sent back and email clarifying our position. Our key points:
- Already detailed they had no legal basis for retaining our deposit and explained to them that the deposit is not the LL's or the LL agent's money.
- Outlined that we will be seeking not only the return of 100% of our deposit, but also for any losses we have incurred as result of their breach of the LOI and any legal costs incurred by us to rectify the situation.
- If the issue would not be resolved by Thursday, informal communication will cease and legal action will be taken.
- For the relisting of the property without our prior knowledge and during a time which the property was not available for rent, we would report them to the CEA for breach of the Estate Agents Code of Conduct - namely failure of duties in respect of advertisements (advertising a property whilst holding deposit in place and not informing tenant for a number of days) and failure to act with honesty & integrity in respect of LOI and holding deposit.

4. Received a response within 1 hour that the deposit will be returned in full "instantly".

Last words:
I think it is important that any communications with LL and LL agents remain in writing and you are able to back up everything you say.
The responses we got from the agents clearly showed that they were not well educated, and I think using professional language and keeping to the facts definitely helps your position.

At the end of the day, it's a little bit like a poker game. It's a matter of whether you have a good enough hand to go all in, and whether your opponent has a good enough hand to call you on it.

In our case, the potential of losing their licenses and thus their livelihoods were not worth trying to retain the booking deposit.

JR8 and x9200 - you guys were on the money when you mentioned that the target is potentially the ll's agents.

A big thanks to everyone who has offered advice, as that knowledge made a huge difference.

Hopefully my post will be helpful for any others who find themselves in such a situation.

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by Strong Eagle » Tue, 07 Jul 2015 8:54 pm

Glad it worked out and glad you taught them a lesson... which, unfortunately, they probably won't learn.

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by x9200 » Tue, 07 Jul 2015 9:53 pm

missfong02, I am very happy to hear all this. You did a good job. I am pretty sure the level of your paranoia just doubled but it is a useful thing to have for your future encounters with the local LLs.

Legal threatening often works in Singapore especially if you manage to convince your opponents you are familiar with the subject and know what to do.

I had a LL once who was reluctant to get various things repaired under the initial 30 days guaranty period of the TA. After few informal e-mails where he promised everything but did nothing I sent him a very formal letter, registered, RA, where systematically point by point in a semi-legal language I mentioned what needed to be repaired and in breach of what TA clauses he was. Miraculously all was fixed within one week after he received the letter with the LL in person and with a screwdriver rectifying some minor problem. What was sort of extra funny, the wife of this LL was a lawyer.

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by martincymru » Wed, 08 Jul 2015 8:29 am

that's great news.

yes, as I posted, if you go down the straight line gets nowhere. Imagination, creativity, escalation, intent, education etc. will often get a result. Cannot get that out of a book that's why a said "think outside the box".

Yes, it's a game of poker here. I work every day in the field of disputes and you would not believe how far someone will take (or defend) an issue and then cave in at the last minute when they know they have been cornered and/or you have hit their weak spot.

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Re: Refusal of Rent Deposit but no TA

Post by movingtospore » Mon, 13 Jul 2015 8:41 pm

Glad you got them!

I can only imagine the bad landlord behaviour is going to get worse with the downturn in the property market. Instead of changing their ways they'll just go even more kiasu... ](*,)

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