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Entered Dispute with LL in SCT - What are my odds and counter offer?

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muchentubunz
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Entered Dispute with LL in SCT - What are my odds and counter offer?

Post by muchentubunz » Fri, 29 Jan 2021 3:02 pm

Hiya guys. Right... so... I've been living in Singapore for a long time now, but mostly staying with my parents until my fiance and I decided to move and rent a place of our own with another friend. We found a nice spot in Central and signed a 1-year lease with the option for another year. Circuit breaker strikes so instead of 1 year, we extended for 6 months instead (18 months lease in total), and moved to a better unit. The reason is mainly that we needed to accommodate her sister, and we needed another bedroom.

Fast forward, I've now entered a dispute with a case lodged in the SCT. The hearing is in a couple of weeks. What happened is as follows. Fast forward simplified version.

We moved out, and my fiance spent about 2 - 3 hours cleaning up the place with her sister. The handover was the next day. She had about 8 days before the next tenant moves in. Before that, we painted the bathroom (paint cracked and just broke in huge chunks, because they painted on tile, and another paint on top, and another).

During handover, the landlord is asking that we pay for the replacement of a used mattress in full because it's softened. Then also asked that we pay for the deep cleaning of another single mattress. At that point, I was trying to negotiate for a 50% payment but it landed on deaf ears. But it was about 900+, so between the 3 of us, we decided to just pay for it and life goes on. At this point in time, we did not agree to anything with the Landlord.

Thereafter, the LL found mold (from photos, and her statement) behind the sofa, sofa which is directly next to the wall. It has been placed there since day 1, and we did not move the sofa at all. I cross my heart and swear I do not know of the mold's existence at all. She then claimed that the house was dirty, in corners and on places where we did not think of cleaning. I regret not engaging a professional cleaner to do this, that's for sure. She then said she'll charge us for the paint, and also her husband's personal time for helping to paint the house. And she decided to dispose of the sofa, and charge us for the moving of another sofa from her current apartment to the rental apartment. The total cost was about 1.5k at this moment, not inclusive of LL's husband's hours.

I sent her an email to dispute the charges under wear and tear, and offered a compensation of S$500 for failing to clean the apartment from top to bottom. I left the door open for negotiation and for her thoughts, but also if she does not want to negotiate, this can go to the SCT. LL reply wasn't so pleasant and she said she'll do a full cost if she had not been so generous. Subsequently, I sent another email on the day where she's supposed to return the deposit if any and stated that it would be a waste of time to go to the SCT. The total amount came back to S$5,000, which includes all misc charges such as, cost of replacement, cost of painting, materials, cleaning materials, car park, petrol, food, husbands time, and medical fees (she was involved in an accident many years ago and apparently she needs orthopedic and psychiatric consultations). I knew of her accident but not her condition. And she asked me to go ahead with the SCT.

So, I've lodged the case with SCT, only asking for whatever balance of my deposit after deducting things that I should've paid and done, inclusive of a S$500 original compensation that was offered to her. She counterclaimed and is asking for my liability of damages if her current tenant is to move out because of these molding issues. All these amounts up to over S$10k. Taken aback, that's for sure.

In my usage of the house, we never liked the humidity and have turned on the AC whenever we can.We air the house once a week, and to allow the sun to do its work when we're at home during the weekends. Thereafter, we'll turn on the AC. My utility bill average is about 200 - 250 dollars in a 3 room hdb.

I am definitely not the cleanest person around, but my fiance is quite particular about it. We will do what normal human beings will do. As for me, I am the kind of person that will honor my word, and will do what I can to make sure that things are done in the right manner (as long as I am notified or being informed of) but at this point of time, I do not feel generous nor empathetic towards the LL anymore. What are your thoughts?

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PNGMK
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Re: Entered Dispute with LL in SCT - What are my odds and counter offer?

Post by PNGMK » Fri, 29 Jan 2021 3:10 pm

All of this is normal wear and tear and not malicious or negligent damages and not recoverable from the deposit normally (paint, mold, mattresses).

You will probably be asked to compromise or meet somewhere the middle by the SCT IF the LL's claims are reasonable. You will either win or have a small amount to pay. Perhaps your LL won't even show up for the hearing. No way will she be awarded 10k - she may even get a scolding.

Good luck.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
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You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
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muchentubunz
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Re: Entered Dispute with LL in SCT - What are my odds and counter offer?

Post by muchentubunz » Fri, 29 Jan 2021 3:18 pm

I highly doubt she won't show up. Haha. She's rather experienced in court from all the documents that she has submitted.

I am well prepared to compensate, to be honest. But it just doesn't feel right anymore. Probably just the tip of the iceberg. Fingers crossed for the hearing, for sure. Never been to one, and I'm rather nervous. She has submitted medical reports for years till now, testimonial from the previous tenant, etc.

But sure, fingers crossed. =)

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Re: Entered Dispute with LL in SCT - What are my odds and counter offer?

Post by PNGMK » Fri, 29 Jan 2021 10:29 pm

muchentubunz wrote:
Fri, 29 Jan 2021 3:18 pm
I highly doubt she won't show up. Haha. She's rather experienced in court from all the documents that she has submitted.

I am well prepared to compensate, to be honest. But it just doesn't feel right anymore. Probably just the tip of the iceberg. Fingers crossed for the hearing, for sure. Never been to one, and I'm rather nervous. She has submitted medical reports for years till now, testimonial from the previous tenant, etc.

But sure, fingers crossed. =)
1. She cannot use a solicitor or barrister - she has to be present. 10:1 she will reach out to settle. Don't settle for a low value.
2. In the SCT the magistrate will ignore all of that peripheral material.
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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