Apologies for the long post below! I've read lots of threads on here regarding early termination of tenancy agreements, but my situation seems to be different. Really appreciate any advice you can give.
Long story short: Landlord says there is a "one-month's rent penalty" for terminating our rental tenancy agreement before 12 months (period of validity). However there's no mention of this penalty whatsover in the lease. He now says he forgot to include it - but is he lying to make me peacefully leave and then he'll envoke some law that I'm not aware of, keeping my security deposit??
I signed a rental tenancy agreement to rent a room in a HDB flat for 12 months, with a minimum 6 month stay. Below are relevant clauses from the agreement regarding the monthly rental payment, security deposit, early termination the length of the validity of the contract (Clause 4 is most important in this case):
1. That the Landlord agrees to let one XXX Bedroom (hereinafter called “the premise”) and the Tenant agrees to take the premise, together with the stated furniture fixtures and other effects therein for a period of 12 months from 22 day of October 2016 to 21 day of October 2017, the Tenant paying therefore to the Landlord the sum of Singapore Dollars XXX per month during the tenancy agreed period, inclusive of the Tenants share of the utility bill incurred during this said period.
The rent is to be payable monthly in advance and clear of all deductions on the 22nd day of each calendar month.
2. The Tenant will pay to the Landlord the sum of Singapore Dollars $XXX to be held by the Landlord as a security of deposit and to also pay the Landlord the first month rent on or before the signing hereof. The security of deposit will not be considered as the last month’s rent. The security of deposit shall be refunded by the Landlord within 30 days following the tenant’s move out, less any appropriate and reasonable charges (if any) for cleaning or for damages caused by the Tenant or Tenant’s guests.
3. The security deposit shall be topped-up within 3 days to the original amount after any portion of it has been utilized during the Tenant’s stay. The security deposit will only be used to pay for repairs or replacement of items in the flat that are damaged by the Tenant.
4. The Tenant must stay for a minimum of 6 months, failing which the Tenant will have to give the Landlord rental-in-lieu equal to the duration between the last day of stay and 6 months from the start of the contract.
5. The tenancy agreement is valid for a period of 12 months. Thereafter the tenancy agreement shall be renewed based on new terms & conditions agreed between the Landlord and the Tenant. The Landlord must give the Tenant a one-month’s advance notice of intent if the Landlord wishes to terminate the tenancy and vice versa.
I informed him that I intend to terminate the contract at the 6 month mark, giving him a month's notice (actually slightly over) as the contract stipulates I should do. He came back and said that there was a "one-month penalty" for terminating the lease before its validity period of 12 months. I checked the lease and there is zero mention of this whatsover. He's now said I'm off the hook as he forgot to include it. However, I subsequently remembered that he mentioned such a penalty verbally before I signed the contract, but it does seems he never included it in writing.
Is he trying to get me to peacefully leave the premises by saying this and then refusing to return my security deposit? I understand that Singapore tenancy law is biased towards Landlords so I'm wondering if there is a "standard" one-month penalty rule for early termination that is applicable to all rental agreements and he's just saving himself trouble by not telling me/lying to me...
Or, does a "one-month penalty" clause have to be written into a tenancy agreement if it is to be enforced? Hoping this is the case of course...
Thank you very very much for any help you can give on this.