LOI / TA disagreement

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LOI / TA disagreement

Post by UK-HK-SIN » Wed, 27 May 2009 5:10 pm

We had agreed on LOI terms with our soon to be landlord and then sent a Tenancy Agreement and the landlord held it for 2 weeks. we moved to Sing with everything in a container thinking we would move in on 1st June but today the landlord finally came back with a TA with extra clauses in and some we definitely do not agree to that we had specifically discussed at the LOI stage.

We said if the landlord does not go back to the original TA and all the points we had agreed under the LOI then the deal is off and we want the holding deposit. They said no way and they would keep the deposit because they are happy with the current terms....

The lease is a corporate one but the holding deposit is our personal money. I feel they have held out cos they know we have no where else to go and were expecting to move in on Monday and they want us to back down and accept their terms....... They have only just started the work in the place painting etc and I feel really bullied into accepting..... Is there anything I can do here apart from jump up and down a lot...... ??? I have curtains made for the house, have ordered wardrobes and even have singtel booked to put internet in next Thurs......

this would never happen in the UK or even in HK where we have moved from. Is there a government body we can talk to / small claims court I can go to get our money back if we don't agree on the contract terms..?? There was a clause that said if both parties did not agree then the deposit would be returned but they are saying they agree to the new terms.....

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Post by QRM » Wed, 27 May 2009 5:54 pm

Welcome to Singapore....

LOI and deposit is seen over here as the start of negotiation rather than the conclusion.

They will wait till the last few days when they know they got you by the short and curlys before bringing up changes in terms or rental increases.

Good luck at least the market has now swung in the favour of tenants. You can try and poker face them by saying you are going to go to court to sort this out a letter from a lawyer would normally see them back down.

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Post by sierra2469alpha » Wed, 27 May 2009 6:05 pm

UK-HK-SIN - welcome to Singapore and I'm sorry to hear the start of it is nightmarish for you.

The same thing happened to us, and we just stood our ground. Our circumstances were exactly the same as yours except that the bond was paid by the company. We stood our ground and told the agent that in NO way would we accept it and asked our agent to find us a new property. We didn't resort to threatening legal action (although we perhaps would have if it didn't turn out OK for us).

One other mechanism we employed was face. We capitulated to only one of their "new" terms, and even then we severely limited it. That way, he could save face.

With the market here the way it is, I think they would be somewhat foolish to let you go. There is a lot of stock on the market as QRM alluded to, and only a stupid landlord would not realise that.

Hope this helps, Mr. P

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Post by UK-HK-SIN » Wed, 27 May 2009 6:20 pm

It just beggers belief it really does....... i don't really want to deal with landlords who thinks that this is acceptable business practice..... EVERYTHING I have seen here so far is governed by a million rules and regulations - apart from this obviously..... before this house we had put in an offer on another and were told if we gave the asking rent then the landlord would accept ours over the one on the table..... we said OK cos we loved it and the day we were to sign the TA they announced they had in fact sold it......I wasn't too fussed as we then just went ahead with this which was number 2 choice but I am now worried it will happen again...... these landlords should be reported to someone or named and shamed at least.......

We have been here just over a week and am seriously thinking about turning the shipment around back to HK.....the guys there have business ethics.

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Post by sierra2469alpha » Wed, 27 May 2009 6:24 pm

UK-HK-SIN - sure, hearing your pain there.

Other people are more qualified than me on this but I think there is a general consensus that there is no such thing as residential tenancy law here. They are in fact just a standard legal contract. This differs from AUS (and HK I believe ?).

Hang in there...don't get angry with anyone (you'll lose face) - just calm, patient (within degrees - hence my comment about telling them you'll walk and backing it up with an instruction to your agent/s), and higher moral ground - which kinda helps keeping yourself sane during the process :).

Best, Mr. P

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Post by QRM » Wed, 27 May 2009 6:43 pm

Over here most landlords supply and pay for curtains, light fittings, and a complete repaint of the place.

You have to question if you really want to have a landlord like that. If he is already trying to take the piss, what will he be like when there is a problem, or later when you need to get your deposit back. If you do run with him, get the place photographically checked and recorded, otherwise a small chip in a tile will require a whole wall re-tiled, a small scratch on the floor will mean you have pay for a total re-varnish of the flat. What we understand as wear and tear is seen as major structural damage to the average Singaporean landlord.

Not just landlord, wait till you deal with car leasing firms etc. there is no such thing as gentleman's hand shake over here. If they can take the piss and make a short term gain most will go for it.

You just have to read the paper its amazing how many lawyers leg it with clients money. Which is why there so many fines over here. Once you get used to that and play them at their own game then its great.

As most of the population live in Govt. housing there's little incentive to increase the rights of tenants.

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Post by Nath21 » Thu, 28 May 2009 3:55 pm

First off you sound like you dont have an agent. contact one immediately, tell them your situation and ask them to handle it (if you have one get another because they are not doing there job for you). It may require a fee but also may not if they get commission. sounds like this guy is taking the piss because you dont have an agent and just found the place. I would try and back out the market here is so bad you can get a lot of goods deals. Under law its your money but its hard to get back. As I say get the agent working for you. Jump in a Serviced Apartment if you can afford one there a bit more expensive but if you dont want to sign dont do it. What may be helpful is if you tell me the extra clauses you dont like and we go through it.

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Post by UK-HK-SIN » Thu, 28 May 2009 4:28 pm

Nath21
thanks for the offer of help but having my husband looking at the contract is more than enough....... I have lost track of wheat the clauses are now. My husband writes contracts daily, and his company employed a lawyer to re-go over everything.
We actually have a very good agent, on both properties she was/is working with the landlords agent. On the first she was as shocked as we were that the landlord announced he had sold the house on the day we were supposed to get a signed TA off him...... The landlords agent claimed to be equally shocked ...........!!

On this house our agent is constantly chasing and fighting with the landlords agent. We will see what happens.... Am living in a suite at a hotel so not the end of the world I guess but very frustrating.......we thought about a Serviced Apartment but here we don't have to sign for a month at a time and someone else cooks breakfast !!!

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Post by OogieBoogie » Thu, 28 May 2009 5:21 pm

you can get a service apart for the week.
Besides some service apart do provide a breakfast buffet.

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Post by Nath21 » Thu, 28 May 2009 7:55 pm

I write this on another thread for some help:

Read the tenancy agreement very carefully. They were open to every change I made.

Key changes were:
Security deposit is only used in relation to damages to the property or unpaid rents (they tend to say for non performance of tenancy agreement here which means they can just keep you deposit even if it dosent relate to damages or rent, ie. such as not getting the air conditioner cleaned quarterly or see next point;
Deleting 'immoral' activtiies from the wording as they can say anything to get you out with that in (illegal is fine but how do you define immoral?);
Advising you in writing first before deducting amount from you deposit;
Paying back your deposit within 14 days;
Ensuring both parties have no more claims upon each other after the handback evaluation is completed;
Limiting per annum the amount I paid for minor repairs (you are usually responsible for the first $150 but say the fridge, air conditoner, oven all break this can add up fast;
Being able to choose your own maintenance people (sometimes they say in the contract it must be with a certain company) if they dodge you and they often do you are stuck;
Making sure you have something like "made all reasonable attempts to pay by the clearly communicated rental payment arrangement" - it has happened where they change the bank details and you default the payment and they keep your security deposit and kick you out if they want;
Get a diplomatic clause (only applies for 2 year contracts). If you leave early after one year you pay 2 months extra only, know they will probably keep your bond as well so make sure this is spelled out as well;
Take out clauses that you cannot possibly perform. I had one in about insurance and I said to comply I needed to see copy of the insurance otherwise how do I know what I have to comply with and the term was immediately withdrawn;

Also if you sign a one year contract you split the real estate fee (1 months) over 3,500 per month I think contracts and for two year contracts over 3,500 the landlord pays. Make sure this is clearly stated or you could be end up bearing costs you should not have too;
The contract should state you get 30 days to bring to attention of the landlord any defects (can include blown lights anything) and I mean bring to the attention everything you can find because this in conjucntion with the handover condition assessment is your starting point and the most important document with the handback condition assessment;
If you want o be really safe take pictures and note model numbers and brands for applicances.

There is probably something I missed but if you read the other forums you will see a lot of disputes and unhappy expats because they trust the agreement given to them. Here unlike australia there is no tenancy board holding your deposit so landlord hold the money and you get no interest paid back. Often the landlord will have cash flow problems because they are investing and will not have your deposit, as they have spent it. Get all the changes just to be sure. Your only avenue is small claims tribunal and litigation which is expensive and not cost effective. key to getting your deposit back is upfornt ensuring the rules are ok. Hope that helps a bit and from the tone of my advice I hope that it does not come across everyone is dodgy here because I am sure the majority of disputes are small but if you conduct yourself in the most professional manner you limit disputes. Good luck.

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Post by jpatokal » Fri, 29 May 2009 10:08 am

Nath21, thanks again for this -- I've made it part of a sticky I just wrote about this topic (and then some):

http://www.singaporeexpats.com/forum/sutra397501.html
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Post by Saint » Fri, 29 May 2009 11:04 am

Nath21 wrote:
Also if you sign a one year contract you split the real estate fee (1 months) over 3,500 per month I think contracts and for two year contracts over 3,500 the landlord pays. Make sure this is clearly stated or you could be end up bearing costs you should not have too;
The contract should state you get 30 days to bring to attention of the landlord any defects (can include blown lights anything) and I mean bring to the attention everything you can find because this in conjucntion with the handover condition assessment is your starting point and the most important document with the handback condition assessment;
If you want o be really safe take pictures and note model numbers and brands for applicances.
Having to pay the real estate fee is such a grey area and you don't have to pay it in certain circumstances. If you see an apartment on a website and call up the agent to arrange a viewing, the first thing I ask to be confirmed is that the agent is acting on behalf of the landlord. I then state that I'm not engaging you exclusively as my agent. In these cases the landlord is liable to pay the total commission, whether it's split between a single agent or 2 agents if co-broked, you don't have to pay.

You have to be careful that the broker doesn't try and suggest he/she shows you other appartments as you've then engaged the agent exclusively.

So in short, I will not see more than 1 property per agent and I will confirm prior to viewing that the agent is acting for the landlord.

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Post by cbavasi » Fri, 29 May 2009 11:29 am

Saint wrote: Having to pay the real estate fee is such a grey area and you don't have to pay it in certain circumstances. If you see an apartment on a website and call up the agent to arrange a viewing, the first thing I ask to be confirmed is that the agent is acting on behalf of the landlord. I then state that I'm not engaging you exclusively as my agent. In these cases the landlord is liable to pay the total commission, whether it's split between a single agent or 2 agents if co-broked, you don't have to pay.

You have to be careful that the broker doesn't try and suggest he/she shows you other appartments as you've then engaged the agent exclusively.

So in short, I will not see more than 1 property per agent and I will confirm prior to viewing that the agent is acting for the landlord.
That is very good advice! Quick question - if you view a property that you find and tell the agent you are not engaging them exclusively can you then bring in your own agent to hammer out the details (TA/LOI...etc)? Or are you just going to make the landlord's agent mad that they aren't getting the whole commission and they'll then screw it up for you... :?

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Post by Saint » Fri, 29 May 2009 11:45 am

cbavasi wrote:
Saint wrote: Having to pay the real estate fee is such a grey area and you don't have to pay it in certain circumstances. If you see an apartment on a website and call up the agent to arrange a viewing, the first thing I ask to be confirmed is that the agent is acting on behalf of the landlord. I then state that I'm not engaging you exclusively as my agent. In these cases the landlord is liable to pay the total commission, whether it's split between a single agent or 2 agents if co-broked, you don't have to pay.

You have to be careful that the broker doesn't try and suggest he/she shows you other appartments as you've then engaged the agent exclusively.

So in short, I will not see more than 1 property per agent and I will confirm prior to viewing that the agent is acting for the landlord.
That is very good advice! Quick question - if you view a property that you find and tell the agent you are not engaging them exclusively can you then bring in your own agent to hammer out the details (TA/LOI...etc)? Or are you just going to make the landlord's agent mad that they aren't getting the whole commission and they'll then screw it up for you... :?
In theory if you bring in your own agent to hammer out the details, you would have to pay your agent. The Landlord's agent isn't likely going to agree to co-broke.

Even though you haven't engaged the agent exclusively, the agent still has to act for both Landlord and yourself in broking the LOI and TA.

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Post by cbavasi » Fri, 29 May 2009 12:14 pm

I see.. thanks for the reply!

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