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Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

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Blessedbiatch
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Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby Blessedbiatch » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 1:23 pm

Dear Fellow Forumers,

I'm in a bind here and appreciate all help you can give.

My housemates and I recently completed a 2 year contract @$2500 monthly. We never gave any problems to the LL and monthly rent for the last 24 months was never ever late.

During handover the LL and their agent turned up.

The LL then started pointing out all sorts of damages - some clearly due to wear and tear - like scuff marks on white walls and paints chips on wooden doors, grease on kitchen tops. They basically expected handover in viewing condition.

They not only refused to return the deposit and demanded that I top up $500 during the handover. So now they are holding on to $3000 of my money.

It was my mistake to top up the $500. But I was alone and under duress when they threaten to contact my workplace etc etc but alas...

Its been 2 weeks now and a new development.

They have gotten a quote for about $5000 for the alleged damages and purported repairs.

In addition they have received a postal mail from our friend who previously used our address as a mailing address when he returned back to home country. This friend did not stay is not a tenant at the apartment in question.

They now insist I have sublet the apartment unauthorised and in breach of the tenancy agreement. They will forfeit the $2500 1 month deposit and have asked us to pay an additional $4500+ ($500 that was topped-up during handover)

This is excessive and almost extortion.

They been sending me numerous intimidating txt messages through their agent that they are losing rental yield while waiting for our approval to proceed with repairs to the tune of $5000. They will take legal action against me, inform my employers etc etc

I'm under severe stress now. $5000 is a lot of money for someone earning less than 1/2 of that monthly.

So now they are withholding $3000 of my money and demanding more. I have read through the forum and understand I can file claim for the $3000 at the SCT. But what should I do?

- Should I inform the LL that I am not agreeable to pay the repairs?
+They claim and delays in repairs the lost rental yield will be for my account!

- Should I make a police report first?
- Should I infomr him that I plan to file a claim with SCT? Do I just file a claim secretly without alerting
him?
- Should I wait for him to file claim against me before I respond?
- His demand that I have unauthorised sublet the flat based on a postal mail
+ should he not have caught the "alleged unauthorised tenant in action"
+ or some other proof I was ''illegally'' subletting?
- Can the landlord back bill me for loss rent due to not agreeing to the $5000 repairs
- What if he gets a lawyer to send me a fancy/intimidating demand. How should I respond.

Like mentioned my resources are limited and all this legal stuff makes me scared instead of excited to play with this landlord.

Any ideas on how to proceed with this rogue will be helpful.

Thank you so much everyone...

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 1:44 pm

If you didn't clean the grease off the countertops before you moved out, I'd question your description. As both a landlord and tenant, I'd expect the tenant to return the property to close to 'viewing condition' before vacating. Chips on door paint really isn't wear and tear.

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby Blessedbiatch » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 2:37 pm

Hi Strong Eagle,

Thanks for your input but any advice from the legal aspects please

QOUTE
- Should I inform the LL that I am not agreeable to pay the repairs?
+They claim and delays in repairs the lost rental yield will be for my account!

- Should I make a police report first?
- Should I infomr him that I plan to file a claim with SCT? Do I just file a claim secretly without alerting
him?
- Should I wait for him to file claim against me before I respond?
- His demand that I have unauthorised sublet the flat based on a postal mail
+ should he not have caught the "alleged unauthorised tenant in action"
+ or some other proof I was ''illegally'' subletting?
- Can the landlord back bill me for loss rent due to not agreeing to the $5000 repairs
- What if he gets a lawyer to send me a fancy/intimidating demand. How should I respond.
UNQOUTE

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby Barnsley » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 2:41 pm

Blessedbiatch wrote:Hi Strong Eagle,

Thanks for your input but any advice from the legal aspects please

QOUTE
- Should I inform the LL that I am not agreeable to pay the repairs?
+They claim and delays in repairs the lost rental yield will be for my account!

- Should I make a police report first?
- Should I infomr him that I plan to file a claim with SCT? Do I just file a claim secretly without alerting
him?
- Should I wait for him to file claim against me before I respond?
- His demand that I have unauthorised sublet the flat based on a postal mail
+ should he not have caught the "alleged unauthorised tenant in action"
+ or some other proof I was ''illegally'' subletting?
- Can the landlord back bill me for loss rent due to not agreeing to the $5000 repairs
- What if he gets a lawyer to send me a fancy/intimidating demand. How should I respond.
UNQOUTE


If you are in the right then you have nothing to lose , the landlord can't do anything regarding your employment.

However if you have been playing games , and the person "using address as postal address" can be proven to be in the country you could be in trouble. Although I am pretty sure that the landlord themselves would also be liable for prosecution for allowing an illegal sublet.

You reallly should have cleaned the flat properly though , that would have helped you to begin with.
Life is short, paddle harder!!

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby x9200 » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 2:41 pm

Blessedbiatch wrote:Dear Fellow Forumers,

I'm in a bind here and appreciate all help you can give.

My housemates and I recently completed a 2 year contract @$2500 monthly. We never gave any problems to the LL and monthly rent for the last 24 months was never ever late.

During handover the LL and their agent turned up.

The LL then started pointing out all sorts of damages - some clearly due to wear and tear - like scuff marks on white walls and paints chips on wooden doors, grease on kitchen tops. They basically expected handover in viewing condition.

They not only refused to return the deposit and demanded that I top up $500 during the handover. So now they are holding on to $3000 of my money.

It was my mistake to top up the $500. But I was alone and under duress when they threaten to contact my workplace etc etc but alas...

Its been 2 weeks now and a new development.

They have gotten a quote for about $5000 for the alleged damages and purported repairs.

In addition they have received a postal mail from our friend who previously used our address as a mailing address when he returned back to home country. This friend did not stay is not a tenant at the apartment in question.

They now insist I have sublet the apartment unauthorised and in breach of the tenancy agreement. They will forfeit the $2500 1 month deposit and have asked us to pay an additional $4500+ ($500 that was topped-up during handover)

This is excessive and almost extortion.

They been sending me numerous intimidating txt messages through their agent that they are losing rental yield while waiting for our approval to proceed with repairs to the tune of $5000. They will take legal action against me, inform my employers etc etc

I'm under severe stress now. $5000 is a lot of money for someone earning less than 1/2 of that monthly.

So now they are withholding $3000 of my money and demanding more. I have read through the forum and understand I can file claim for the $3000 at the SCT. But what should I do?

- Should I inform the LL that I am not agreeable to pay the repairs?
+They claim and delays in repairs the lost rental yield will be for my account!

- Should I make a police report first?

What would you like to report to the police?

- Should I infomr him that I plan to file a claim with SCT? Do I just file a claim secretly without alerting
him?

If you think you have a case, you may send him a letter of demand asking to return your money within given time and warn him that if he does not comply you will go to STC.

- Should I wait for him to file claim against me before I respond?

He will not do anything. He already has your money plus $500 beyond the deposit. BTW, the later may be seen as an acceptance of his initial demands.

- His demand that I have unauthorised sublet the flat based on a postal mail
+ should he not have caught the "alleged unauthorised tenant in action"
+ or some other proof I was ''illegally'' subletting?

IMHO, mails are not good enough for such claims. I also expect you can prove his claims to be void pretty easily, or not?

- Can the landlord back bill me for loss rent due to not agreeing to the $5000 repairs

Not for not agreeing. But he may try to "bill" you for the loses in rent related to the time he could not let the flat out because it needed the repairs (assuming his demands are valid).

- What if he gets a lawyer to send me a fancy/intimidating demand. How should I respond.

This would depend on whether his demands are valid or not. For sub-letting, they don't seem to be valid. For the damages to the apartment, no way to tell based on your message.

Like mentioned my resources are limited and all this legal stuff makes me scared instead of excited to play with this landlord.

Any ideas on how to proceed with this rogue will be helpful.

Thank you so much everyone...

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby Blessedbiatch » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 3:08 pm

Hi Barnley,

Thanks for your reply. We did our part cleaning.

We were in the property for 2years and it seems the LL wants it back in viewing condition - circa 2013

Also no games played about the sublet.

What proof of illegal sublet can the LL hold against me if LL did not catch the tenant in action? An unknown mail is not proof of sublet surely? Anyone can change mailing address in Singapore very easily it seems yes?

Short of furnishing T.A with the illegal sublet or catching the illegal sublet in action what proof is there for the LL?

It seems to me the LL is more exploitative and extorting.

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby Blessedbiatch » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 3:17 pm

Hi x9200,

Thanks for replying

Should I make a police report first?

What would you like to report to the police?

- Should I infomr him that I plan to file a claim with SCT? Do I just file a claim secretly without alerting
him?

If you think you have a case, you may send him a letter of demand asking to return your money within given time and warn him that if he does not comply you will go to STC.

I suppose you mean a letter of demand form a lawyer?

- Should I wait for him to file claim against me before I respond?

He will not do anything. He already has your money plus $500 beyond the deposit. BTW, the later may be seen as an acceptance of his initial demands.

[color=#FF8000FF]The latter being seeing as acceptance of his demand, does it make any less likely for my case at SCT or letter of demand? [/color]

- His demand that I have unauthorised sublet the flat based on a postal mail
+ should he not have caught the "alleged unauthorised tenant in action"
+ or some other proof I was ''illegally'' subletting?

IMHO, mails are not good enough for such claims. I also expect you can prove his claims to be void pretty easily, or not?

Yes believe it is easy to disapprove his claim. Unless LLcan produce a hidden video cam showing illegal sublet on my part or discovering a T.A agreement I had between myself any the unauthorised tenant?

- Can the landlord back bill me for loss rent due to not agreeing to the $5000 repairs

Not for not agreeing. But he may try to "bill" you for the loses in rent related to the time he could not let the flat out because it needed the repairs (assuming his demands are valid).

Who will validy his demands? Do you mean he will bill me loss in rent assuming SCT rules in his favour do you mean?

- What if he gets a lawyer to send me a fancy/intimidating demand. How should I respond.

This would depend on whether his demands are valid or not. For sub-letting, they don't seem to be valid. For the damages to the apartment, no way to tell based on your message.

Thanks for advice and sorry for the ugly font color.

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby x9200 » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 3:48 pm

Blessedbiatch wrote:Hi x9200,

Thanks for replying

Should I make a police report first?

What would you like to report to the police?

- Should I infomr him that I plan to file a claim with SCT? Do I just file a claim secretly without alerting
him?

If you think you have a case, you may send him a letter of demand asking to return your money within given time and warn him that if he does not comply you will go to STC.

I suppose you mean a letter of demand form a lawyer?
You don't need a lawyer to write such letter unless you want to add ++$100 to your expenses. On the other hand a lawyer written letter may be worth to consider if you think it will have a significant effect on your LL's doing.

- Should I wait for him to file claim against me before I respond?

He will not do anything. He already has your money plus $500 beyond the deposit. BTW, the later may be seen as an acceptance of his initial demands.

[color=#FF8000FF]The latter being seeing as acceptance of his demand, does it make any less likely for my case at SCT or letter of demand? [/color]
Frankly I don't know (in SG), but I know from some other countries that paying some of the requested money may be seen as what I mentioned earlier - you, basically admitting to the demands, and yes, in court

- His demand that I have unauthorised sublet the flat based on a postal mail
+ should he not have caught the "alleged unauthorised tenant in action"
+ or some other proof I was ''illegally'' subletting?

IMHO, mails are not good enough for such claims. I also expect you can prove his claims to be void pretty easily, or not?

Yes believe it is easy to disapprove his claim. Unless LLcan produce a hidden video cam showing illegal sublet on my part or discovering a T.A agreement I had between myself any the unauthorised tenant?
What you mean "unless"? Can he or can he not?
A proof could be for example: If your friend needs a visa to SG and with his valid passport for the period in question showing no valid visa to enter SG, or some other prove he lived somewhere else at that time. Anyway, I believe this is more like the LL's problem to prove it, not yours. Besides, this is also only a TA rhetoric to say you lose all your deposit money if you breach any of the terms.

You may also tell the LL to report you to the police/ICA if he thinks you were sub-letting to a third party. They will check your friend out and if he was not at that time in Singapore then case closed. Actually you may even tell your LL if he thinks this was the case, it is probably illegal for him not to report.


- Can the landlord back bill me for loss rent due to not agreeing to the $5000 repairs

Not for not agreeing. But he may try to "bill" you for the loses in rent related to the time he could not let the flat out because it needed the repairs (assuming his demands are valid).

Who will validy his demands? Do you mean he will bill me loss in rent assuming SCT rules in his favour do you mean?
The court will based on the delivered evidence.

- What if he gets a lawyer to send me a fancy/intimidating demand. How should I respond.

This would depend on whether his demands are valid or not. For sub-letting, they don't seem to be valid. For the damages to the apartment, no way to tell based on your message.

Thanks for advice and sorry for the ugly font color.

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby JR8 » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 8:42 pm

Yes I would agree with you, it is.
Receiving a letter for someone at your address (or former address) is proof of precisely nothing. That said, to me (IMHO) it is proof of one thing, that the LL is set on a path to screw every last possible $ out of you.
I mean think about it.. you have a friend back home, and he's planning on touring Asia. His parents know he's stopping off at your place en route, so his parents send him a Birthday card c/o you. Unfortunately his parents are unaware you've just moved and the card arrives just after you've moved out. Does that evidence he was an 'illegal' sub-tenant? That is a ridiculous straw-man, and suggestion. It sounds to me like just another trumped up pretext to fleece you.

re: SMSs. Keep a record of every one and it's contents. Preferably download them and store them verbatim. It is far easier to gather evidence at the time, than potentially have to do so long after the fact.

My 2c/experience is some element of damages to a flat during a tenancy are normal, par for the course. FW&T by definition certainly falls under that. For a LL to claim loss of rent due to prior damages, has to cross a hurdle of egregious damages having been caused. Matters that have a significant lead-time for repair, replacement toilet bowls, or kitchen worktops. Replacing the parquet floor in a room, replacing made-to-measure double-glazing and so on. // Cleaning and some minor painting is par for the course and can be remedied in a day or two, it is normal, it is not Grounds for claiming 'loss of rent'.

My feeling is the LL now thinks they have the upper hand and can intimidate you into agreeing to hand over more money. Before you decide whether and how to fight back, consider the above questions. I'd also suggest looking through the many other similar posts that you will (sadly) find in this forum. If there is a country that needs a tenants' advocate or resource, SG must be it [sigh].

What you might want to do is to stop this LL ripping you off in his tracks. That might involve framing a 'statement of position' letter to him, and telling him what you intend to do if he doesn't return what you consider the reasonable balance of your depo within a reasonable time. Again further discussion on the path ahead comes down to elaboration on the above.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 9:18 pm

^^This.

And to add on just a wee bit more. Make sure you have a thorough plan of action from A to Z "before" you sent the statement of position letter. Then follow it through. Else it may all blow up in your face.

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Re: RE: Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby ecureilx » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 9:56 pm

I suspect the landlord or the agent has no money to return and playing the game ... and you are falling for it.

If it was me I will send a legal letter demanding return of deposit or you will report him to HDB plus file a complaint for harassing at work place.

Been there ... seen that ...

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Re: RE: Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby JR8 » Wed, 12 Aug 2015 12:14 am

ecureilx wrote:I suspect the landlord or the agent has no money to return and playing the game ... and you are falling for it.


And it shouldn't be 'a game'. But it happens to so many people :mad:

Unfortunately Singapore has a reputation for this happening. As it has to me just this time (which makes 2 of 3 times it's happened). I take the rough and smooth where ever I relo, but this is one thing about SG that really turns me off the whole place; it's egregious, but it's par for the course. [And in the next breath you'll be reminded what a civil and law-abiding place it is... lol].

What do you say and caution people? Odds on you won't get your rental deposit back? If so, odds on you won't have any effective recourse to law that's just how it is in SG?
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby x9200 » Wed, 12 Aug 2015 6:39 am

Unfortunately not much can be done. Even winning the case in SCT guaranties close to nothing.
The only piece of advice I could offer based on my 15y renting experience is, do intensive profiling of the LL before you rent. Have your requirements and see how the LL responds to them. If he fights for every single cent find another place. The kiasu, greedy types gives usually enough signs already at the LOI/TA negotiation stage. Another good indication something may be wrong with the LL is how long the flat is being listed as available for rent.

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby martincymru » Wed, 12 Aug 2015 12:04 pm

There is little protection for workers here. Do you think anybody cares to protect Tenants? Forget it.
As a tenant and a worker, every day I walk on thin ice.

In the UK being a landlord is tough. Here, it's easy.

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Re: Landlord Refusing to Return Depoist and Extorting for More

Postby ecureilx » Wed, 12 Aug 2015 12:55 pm

martincymru wrote:In the UK being a landlord is tough. Here, it's easy.


I may be on thin ice here, but I would say, being a landlord here is easy, because of naive tenants, and nope, I don't mean to say tenants should be law experts

Like my example, I was laid off and was only able to find a job paying a much lesser salary, and told my landlord I gotta leave a I can't pay the rent.

He threatened so sue me and was trying to invoke this and that

told him in a legal sounding letter, when my salary is 2,000 $, can you advice how I can pay 1,500 $ as rental ? If you insist I must stay, well, you can go to court, and enforce it

Utter silence, and then he tried to come to my new work place. Told him to sod off. And in a not so nice way told him, if i lose the job, I will report him to HDB for illegal rental (nope, it wasn't illegal, but I found a way to make it look illegal .. )

JR8 wrote:What do you say and caution people? Odds on you won't get your rental deposit back? If so, odds on you won't have any effective recourse to law that's just how it is in SG?


My 2 cents says, most tenants get hood winked by agents and landlords, and more often than ever, the agents will use impressive words like "we cater for expats", or "this is singapore standard" or .. "this is the norm .. " etc. etc

All it takes is, just a bit of common sense and not fall for it.

And some have to learn the lessons the hard way ..

As in the cases where I felt the landlord was trying to pull a fast one, I avoided paying the last month rental, and where the landlord disputed facts, told him off. And at most, paid half month, and if the landlord tried to be funny, told him to go to court to claim the damages- none I know ever did that, knowing that it will be a losing fight for them.

The issue I see here is OP is having learning the hard way.


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