HDB Flat rent frauds, be careful!!!

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samkh
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HDB Flat rent frauds, be careful!!!

Post by samkh » Sat, 19 Jul 2008 11:51 pm

Hi,
I was looking for a 1+1 HDB unit. I got one at Commonwealth through an Agent. When meeting with the owner,I asked whether he is owner really or sub-renting the unit? He said,he is the owner and can rent the 1+1 whole unit. I paid 1month advance, 1 month rent and Agents Half month and signed the contract.
Owner told me that he is renting, because he will move to Malaysia do some business. But he never go to Malaysia after he left the house also. He stayed with his family in some temporary place. Two weeks after I moved in, the owner demanded rent. I said, I will pay at the particular date. He said, he needed urgently as he had some problem. I only paid 25% of the rental amount at that day. Then again after a week, he demanded again.
I thought, there might be some problem. Looking at his state, I could pay 50% of the rental amount, and told him that I will remaining 25% of the rental amount at the end of the month only. He said OK.
Three days after that, a HDB officer had put notice at the door that he want to check flat occupiers. I informed the owner. He said, he spoke to HDB officer and told that due to circumstances, he is staying at some other place and has rented the flat. The HDB officer told that he had got a call, and it is illegal to rent the flat (I clearly do not know why). May be because it is L shaped (for lower salaried and senior citizens) or he is renting HDB.
Now the owner is telling me that, his family will stay with my family in such a small flat. He cannot pay back my money, as he cannot get from anywhere now. He has cleared his debts from the money I gave him.
My family (couple) cannot stay in such a small flat sharing. I am asking owner to return back my money for me to look out some other place.
Now I don't know what to do? Whether to report to Police or tell HDB clearly about his mistake knowingly or stay until my time and money is cleared.
Please suggest what to do, as I'm in a dilema. I can't find a way. :???:

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Post by GarethC » Sun, 20 Jul 2008 1:15 pm

You basically were cheated my friend. The agent you dealt with knew right from the start that it was illegal, so if anything, you should try to hold him accountable. I hope you have the contract and the reciepts. But i doubt your contract will be valid as the agent wouldn't have gotten it stamped.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 20 Jul 2008 1:20 pm

first of all there are only rental units of 1+1 size and these are all owned by HDB and rented only to singaporeans. It is against the law to sublease these by the renter to another 3rd party. If you are, in fact, in one of these HDB rental units they (HDB) will be summarily evicting you and you have absolutely no recourse.

Here is a link regarding the HDB Rental Policy:

Renting a flat directly from HDB

Elgibility Conditions

The owner (it sounds like the owner isn't the owner at all) in all probability is not the owner at all but the renter from HDB. Has the owner shown you proof of ownership? (like his property tax bill - which should also have his annual TV license bill on it as well).

I doubt that you will have any recourse regarding the monies spent.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by bruinbear » Sun, 20 Jul 2008 3:50 pm

Yeah 1+1 are known as 1 room or 2 room flats. Sub-letting such flats is illegal. I hear that enforcement by the Govt here is on the rise because there have been many complaints.

The minimum size of HDB flats which are owned by Singaporeans should be called 3-room flats. These have 2 rooms, a living room, kitchen and usually 1 toilet. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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positano
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Post by positano » Sun, 20 Jul 2008 9:21 pm

hi Samkh

you could contact the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) to see if they can be of assistance http://app.subcourts.gov.sg/mdc-cic/pag ... ageid=6531

I was ripped off by a dodgy agent in Singapore and managed to obtain compensation from the landlord with the help of the SCT. A major benefit of going through the SCT is that you don't need a lawyer to go through them. You may obtain legal advice if you wish but this would be at your own expense, because lawyers cannot be a party to the SCT process. Also, you cannot claim your legal costs from the other party if you go through the SCT.

I paid $20 to file the claim at the SCT. From the time I filed the case to the time the matter was brought before the SCT, it was only 1 week. There was a second and subsequent meeting arranged by the SCT a week later, so all up the process took approximately 2 weeks which is relatively fast if you compare it to the court system. The SCT will assist the parties to resolve the matter through mediation. If the matter does not resolve through mediation, SCT has the power to make a decision and enforce it.

Another possible option is court, but the potential costs to you would be a lot higher as you would need legal representation. If you win in court, the court may decide to ask the other party to pay your legal costs. However, there is no guarantee that you would win and/or retrieve your legal costs.

Wishing you and your family all the best.

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Thanks for your replies

Post by samkh » Sun, 20 Jul 2008 11:28 pm

Hi,
Thanks for your replies. The owner has asked to stay until the end of this month (July) and said that he will arrange to return back my money.
I will have to see, what he will do.
I'm loking for other unit. If I cannot get 1+1, I will have to take 2+1, no choice. What to do with strange rules for renting here. The prices are so high, no choice at all.
Thanks Positano for your valuable information on Small Claims Tribunal(SCT). I will try to get my money back before vacating. If cannot get, then I will have to approach SCT or HDB either. I have the contract and reciepts, but they are not stamped. The agent's H/P is also not reachable.
He seem to be some part timer, flew away may be.
If anything else, please guide me.
Thanks.

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Post by positano » Mon, 21 Jul 2008 12:14 am

hi Samkh

keep all of those documents, smses and emails. Keep a record of the dates and write down any info the owner or agent tells you. This may be important later.

I am not a lawyer so I cannot give you legal advice. But what I can tell you is that in my case, our agent also ran away. She claimed to work for a company but we later found that this was false. I sought advice from my lawyer and she advised me that as my lease is with the landlord, my claim should be against the landlord. Also, the agent was representing the landlord.

Hopefully your landlord is genuine and wants to resolve this. Just to protect yourself, I am wondering if it may be wise to get something from the landlord in writing that he/she has asked you to stay until the end of the month and the date he/she intends to repay you by. If that is a little difficult, maybe you could email the landlord and say something like "this email is just to confirm our conversation on (date) where you advised that we could continue to live at (address) until (date) and that you will repay us (amount) as refund of the security deposit by (date)". get the jist? then at least if things go sour you have proof of that conversation.

BTW one more thing I thought of is whether the agent gave you a business card? If so, you could contact the company he/she is employed by to see if they could assist you as the agent is no longer contactable. You could also consider contacting the Insitute of Estate Agents http://www.iea.org.sg/ . IEA can do a name search and even a search by handphone number. If that agent is a member of the IEA you could report his/her misconduct to IEA. Unfortunately most agents in Singapore are not members of IEA.

Also, just a question...when you signed the contract did the owner show a document to prove he/she owns the property?

Cheers

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 21 Jul 2008 10:51 am

bruinbear wrote:Yeah 1+1 are known as 1 room or 2 room flats. Sub-letting such flats is illegal. I hear that enforcement by the Govt here is on the rise because there have been many complaints.

The minimum size of HDB flats which are owned by Singaporeans should be called 3-room flats. These have 2 rooms, a living room, kitchen and usually 1 toilet. Correct me if I'm wrong.
You've got it spot on. The HDB rental flats can be rented ONLY by Singaporeans and even then, you salary cannot be above a certain amount as it should be as it is to cater for Singaporean who are at the lowest rungs of society. They are not allowed to sublet them, even to other Singaporeans (this I know for fact as my nephew and his new wife and baby were evicted from a similar scenerio early this year (the wife doesn't have PR yet so he cannot apply for a flat in both of they names). They are not allowed to move other people into the flat with them unless they have been also okay'd by HDB. It's not meant for "Expats" who should only come here if they have offers that will allow themselves to afford to live in this country. They have not been banished to Singapore, they come here of their own free will. They should do their homework "before" getting on the plane.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Still problem persists

Post by samkh » Mon, 28 Jul 2008 9:52 pm

Hi everyone and Hi Positano,
Thanks for the information. I am in a problem still. The owner has asked to vacate the house within this monthend(July end). And according to him, he cannot give any amount now, and will return my advance in two or three instalments in two to three months. I cannot believe him. He has said he will give in writing.
Please guide me whether, I have to approach SCT now, or after getting Writing from him and if he fails to pay. The owner is fearing that he might loose the house if he doesn't remove me and he himself stays when HDB officer visits again. Agent didn't give me Namecard, he might be some part timer. The contarct isn't got stamped.
Your valuable guidance will be very much helpful to me.
Thanks

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Re: Still problem persists

Post by ksl » Tue, 29 Jul 2008 2:57 am

samkh wrote:Hi everyone and Hi Positano,
Thanks for the information. I am in a problem still. The owner has asked to vacate the house within this monthend(July end). And according to him, he cannot give any amount now, and will return my advance in two or three instalments in two to three months. I cannot believe him. He has said he will give in writing.
Please guide me whether, I have to approach SCT now, or after getting Writing from him and if he fails to pay. The owner is fearing that he might loose the house if he doesn't remove me and he himself stays when HDB officer visits again. Agent didn't give me Namecard, he might be some part timer. The contarct isn't got stamped.
Your valuable guidance will be very much helpful to me.
Thanks
I would suspect two people working together, one as the agent and the Landlord making an excuse he didn't know the rules, con trick, sit tight until you get your money or report it. You move you will see nothing and they will have another sucker ready to move in.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 29 Jul 2008 2:13 pm

It's either as ksl says or you are in an illegal setup in an HDB rental unit which is against the law as I noted before. (by the way, ignorance of the law is not an excuse in the eyes of the law). It's doubtful any contract is worth the paper it's written on especially if it's not stamped. (if in fact you even got a contract). If you don't get out, the LL may well lose the flat as well as they HAVE to occupy it or lose it. As far as getting your deposit back, unless you have receipts for even paying it, I doubt you will see an single red cent.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by positano » Thu, 31 Jul 2008 1:18 pm

hi samkh,

i don't know how else to advise you. my situation was different as we were renting a condo with a corporate lease arrangement. apart from the issue where the landlord's agent was not employed by the company she claimed to be with, there were structural issues with the condo which became apparent after a bout of heavy rain. so the landlord was clearly in breach of the tenancy agreement.

maybe you could speak to a lawyer or contact the SCT to explore whether you have any other avenues to pursue before giving up. it sounds like you've been wronged and i hope you are able to find some resolution to this.

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Post by tschong8 » Mon, 04 Aug 2008 11:59 pm

I pay S$12,500 one year rental upfront to the agent, and now the owner surrender himself to police station and admit that he need money to pay loan shark. So what can I do to claim money back?
Now he lock up by police, and maybe tomorrow (5Aug08), he will be released, waiting for court decision.
I then go after the agent's company, today the boss say I have not prove that his company is dealing with me.
(I hv the receipts signed by agent, no company logo. But I paid through cheque issue to the agent name)
Now I want to fight by all mean hiring a lawyer. Can someone advise?
How can I make known to international media to warn those expatriate coming to Singapore, to let them aware of this?

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Post by Saint » Tue, 05 Aug 2008 5:42 pm

Why the hell would you want to pay a year's rent up front :o

It's begs believe what bizarre and wacky things people will do!

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Post by durain » Tue, 05 Aug 2008 6:23 pm

never ever pay up front for a year rent, even if the landlord or agent give you a big discount.

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