A month after packing up and leaving we're still trying to get back all of the net deposit that is due to us.
The situation so far:
- It took us about 3 weeks to get the bulk of it, net of agreed minor deductions returned.
- There is still one item still in dispute.
- Our own agent has absolved herself of any involvement, by claiming all her records are lost. I see that this lack of effective record keeping is in breach of the SGn Estate Agents Regulations. But am not going to kick off WW3 just yet, whilst the last few $00 might be returned without such intervention.
Whilst digging around in the above regs - ESTATE AGENTS ACT 2010 (ACT 25 OF 2010)
ESTATE AGENTS (ESTATE AGENCY WORK) REGULATIONS 2010
https://www.cea.gov.sg/cea/content/bina ... 202010.pdf
I thought it might be of use to others in future. I haven't read through the whole document yet, but was interested to see the below.
REGULATION OF ESTATE AGENCY WORK
No dual representation
5.—(1) No salesperson or estate agent who is a natural person shall, in respect of the same property, have as clients both vendor and purchaser or both landlord and tenant.
(2) Paragraph (1) applies regardless of the consent or agreement of the client or of any or all the parties to the relevant transaction.
(3) Any person who contravenes paragraph (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or
In our case by checking the current individual creds of our agent, and the landlords agent via the CEA website I see that both agents do indeed work for the same company, a headline major agency. I don't know if that was the case 2-3 years ago when we signed-up for the flat, but it is now. I see a potential conflict of interest, and am curious if this ties with our agent now washing her hands of involvement. Loyalty to colleague coming higher than loyalty to customer? Hmmm...
From the same Act...
'Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care
3. Every licensed estate agent and every registered salesperson shall observe and comply with the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care set out in the First Schedule.'
So the 'licensed estate agent' is the company, rather than the individual. That suggests one agent/i.e. company, can't represent both LL and tenant.
As it is the one outstanding deduction is an alleged worn/grooved patch of parquet timber floor in what was my study. It was like that when we moved in, I took many photos of the condition when we moved in incl that damage to that floor. The LLs agent won't accept those pictures as they're not 'date-stamped'. The LLs agent also won't accept an e-mail to our agent with that (and other) photos attached from right before we signed the TA, as she wasn't copied on that e-mail at the time.
The deposit less agreed deductions has just been returned (after c3 weeks). We appear to have been charged several hundred for damage to the floor. We had agreed to settle for 50% of the cost just to get the matter of the deposit over and done with. We've queried the deduction that then got made, the LLs agent has said (a month after leaving) that she has to get a copy of the receipt to ascertain if it's half or the whole cost.
I.e. a) She doesn't know b) she made the deduction without having or providing a copy of the receipt.
Through all of this, if we raise a query, we have to wait days to get a reply, plus as mentioned our agent is absent from this discussion and of no use at all. I'm in half a mind to ask our agent for a rebate on the commission we paid her, since having 'lost her records' she's not in a position to represent us; part of her job. But hey, that'll never fly will it... <sigh>
So, despite best efforts and prior experience here is where I find myself, again. I can still file a complaint via the SGn estate agents association and will keep that as an option. But the 'couldn't give a fig' attitude of the LLs agent suggests the risk of that does not intimidate her.
Apart from the usual, 'document, document, document'. When you take a flat note any damages. Photograph it. Ensure it's on the inventory (hard when you have a week+ after move in to note additional damages and repairs need). E-mail the LLs agent with all of this. Copy your own agent if applicable. Keep copies of everything. Dox, pix, e-mails etc., for the entire duration of your tenancy. Much easier if it's all in one place, than years down the line trying to find these things. Esp if you've packed up and left, and your records are in transit. Once you've moved in, and all and any matters are settled and resolved, maybe copy *all* of these dox onto a $10 memory stick and keep it at work... or similar?
It's a shame. I enjoyed my time in SG; my 3rd stint, but it's surprising how a relatively small matter like this turns me off so heavily against the agents, and in parallel the place. It's feels like such a lazy and cynical attempt to con a few $00. One of the harder aspects is having to continue to proceed with the pretense that there is goodwill. The alt of 'causing offence' by calling the situation for what it is, means I'll never see the rest of the money.
Ask me now whether I'd move back again. ... [snort]. All because of $500.
[Sorry/venting. But I take integrity/debts etc in a black and white way, and pretty personally