Tenancy breach. What should I do?

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Scared-Stiff
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Tenancy breach. What should I do?

Post by Scared-Stiff » Mon, 16 Jan 2017 4:41 pm

My family and I have been living in an apartment for 2 years and 3 months. Around 6 months ago we extended our lease for this third year.

In November we received notices saying that the block will undergo HDB's "Home Improvement Program". In late December I got a notice saying that inspections of my unit will be done in January.

I contacted the LL's agent and a meeting was scheduled for January 4th. The HDB did their inspection just a day before this meeting, and during that session we were also told that spalling concrete in the kitchen and both bathrooms would need to be repaired, and this is compulsory.

In the meeting we were told that all the upgrades - two toilets, gate, door, refuse chute were chosen. Our own research suggested that it would be very difficult to live in the apartment during the time of the work. I have a 2 year old, and my wife and I believed that this would be nigh impossible.

We asked for their options. Their reply was we need not pay rent during this period. We could stay at a hotel or something chalet (but no compensation was offered for this).

The next day (5th) I messaged the agent saying we intend to leave and asked for a refund of my deposit. A refund was refused. On the 7th we gave formal notice in a message. On the 8th we asked that we send in our notice in writing, and requested for an address (since none was in the contract). These requests were not answered.

On the 9th some mitigation was offered in the form of reduced work - toilets would not be upgraded - only the spalling concrete in the ceilings of kitchen and toilet would need be repaired and this would take 4 days. We did not agree to this.

We went ahead and found a new place to stay. The next week Wednesday the agent replied saying the LL had managed to cancel all the work except the door and gate. But it was too late. We did not think it was possible to cancel the work as all indications suggested that at a minimum the spalling concrete would need to be repaired.

In order to get my 8th written notice through I decided to send it to the agent's office. The agent had previously said she will acknowledge receipt of the written notice if I send a photo of it and so I sent her a copy before actually mailing it. She called back immediately quite agitated. She told me that this contract was not done through her office. The LL is her near relative and therefore she did not take a commission. I do not know the rules for agents but it may be she could get into trouble with her company.

Our final month rent day came. I called the agent and told her that since the LL has refused to pay me by deposit I am not going to pay the rent. Some threats were made by the LL including police action. I asked her to do what she likes. The payment window expires in 4 days.

I had initially prepared to pay my rent and sue in the SCT for damages and inconveniences caused. However in light of the new agent complication I feel that the odds are more in my favor that the LL will not sue.

My understanding is as follows:
1. I am possibly in breach of the TA for early termination of lease - whether I pay for the last month or no is not going to make a difference from a legal perspective.
2. The LL is possibly in breach of misrepresentation of the true state of the apartment for not letting it be known that HIP was planned (she must have known).
3. There are some clauses in the contract where the LL has to guarantee peaceful and uninterrupted stay.
4. If I pay this month I will definitely initiate legal action, which might encourage them to counter sue. The result may be in my favor though but legal fees and such might be prohibitive.
5. If I do not pay I have caused them to become more antagonistic, but since legal action would not be initiated by me it will be up to them to start. If they do I will of course counter sue. But I feel that by following this method I have a chance of exiting in peace with my deposit recovered.
6. The unit is up for rent. If a new tenant is found then my liability at the SCT, if any at all, would only be up to the maximum losses by the LL.


Any advice is much appreciated.

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x9200
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Re: Tenancy breach. What should I do?

Post by x9200 » Mon, 16 Jan 2017 7:33 pm

Complicated. I think you are in breach but your 6th point probably holds to large extent. The problem would be:
a) if the LL won't find any new tenant soon - the market is now difficult for the LLs
b) the rent will be lower (as above)
c) the LL made decisions trying to mitigate resulting in financial lost - was this hdb improvement action to be for the LL free of charge?

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Re: Tenancy breach. What should I do?

Post by Scared-Stiff » Mon, 16 Jan 2017 8:47 pm

x9200 wrote:Complicated. I think you are in breach but your 6th point probably holds to large extent. The problem would be:
a) if the LL won't find any new tenant soon - the market is now difficult for the LLs
b) the rent will be lower (as above)
c) the LL made decisions trying to mitigate resulting in financial lost - was this hdb improvement action to be for the LL free of charge?
c) AFAIK, the decisions made did not result in financial loss for the LL. As I understand, the basic upgrades consisting of the spalling concrete repair, door and gate (4 days work) are free of charge. The LL however chose the optional upgrade works comprising the toilets, refuse chute etc. which would take 10 working days and maybe only cost a $1000 (as it was heavily subsidized).

We however made it clear from the onset that neither the 4 nor 10 working days options were acceptable for us. Both involved substantial hacking causing dust and noise. Both basically made the house unusable for the working period.

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Re: Tenancy breach. What should I do?

Post by Scared-Stiff » Mon, 16 Jan 2017 8:54 pm

x9200 wrote:Complicated.
Thanks for taking the time to read my long and rambling message. Much appreciated.

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Re: Tenancy breach. What should I do?

Post by Scared-Stiff » Tue, 17 Jan 2017 3:59 pm

As explained in the first post I have not paid this month's rent yet in order to recover my deposit.

How soon can the LL physically force us out of the apartment? What timeline are we looking at here?

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Re: Tenancy breach. What should I do?

Post by PNGMK » Thu, 19 Jan 2017 9:22 am

Scared-Stiff wrote:As explained in the first post I have not paid this month's rent yet in order to recover my deposit.

How soon can the LL physically force us out of the apartment? What timeline are we looking at here?
IT depends on whether the LL goes the eviction notice - court order route (which takes at least a week maybe more) or the more common bullying approach.

In my view both your interests are best served by moving out quickly. I realize it means a loss of some rent and is not fair.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

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Re: Tenancy breach. What should I do?

Post by Scared-Stiff » Tue, 07 Feb 2017 10:52 am

Well they've gone the SCT route. Asking for 1 month.

Anyone here have experiences to share about the SCT?

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Re: Tenancy breach. What should I do?

Post by x9200 » Tue, 07 Feb 2017 11:26 am

Scared-Stiff wrote:Well they've gone the SCT route. Asking for 1 month.

Anyone here have experiences to share about the SCT?
It is a quick process and relatively painless.
For your specific situation I would consider one month rent equivalent as fair.

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PNGMK
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Re: Tenancy breach. What should I do?

Post by PNGMK » Tue, 07 Feb 2017 1:37 pm

Scared-Stiff wrote:Well they've gone the SCT route. Asking for 1 month.

Anyone here have experiences to share about the SCT?
It may not go against you. Document your case. No need for a lawyer. Show up so you don't get a default judgement against you. Ask for a adjournment if you need to gather facts or evidence (even part way through the hearing). If offered a corridor settlement, consider it carefully and do not dismiss out of hand. I would countercharge (counter sue) that you are owed a refund given the flat was not whatever...
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

Scared-Stiff
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Posts: 24
Joined: Mon, 20 Jul 2015 3:45 pm

Re: Tenancy breach. What should I do?

Post by Scared-Stiff » Tue, 07 Feb 2017 2:11 pm

PNGMK wrote: It may not go against you. Document your case. No need for a lawyer. Show up so you don't get a default judgement against you. Ask for a adjournment if you need to gather facts or evidence (even part way through the hearing). If offered a corridor settlement, consider it carefully and do not dismiss out of hand. I would countercharge (counter sue) that you are owed a refund given the flat was not whatever...
Thanks for your input.

Since I withheld the last month's rent (as I was explicitly told that my deposit will not be paid back) I may not be able to counterclaim for any money.

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