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Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 11 Nov 2011 10:50 pm

Good example for retroactive laws, are seatbelt laws. You have a grace period but you do have to have 'em fixed eventually or pay the price.

Just depends on how the law has been worded. Any law can be made retroactive and subsequently voids portions of contracts if that is the case.

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 11 Nov 2011 10:56 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Any law can be made retroactive and subsequently voids portions of contracts if that is the case.



Hence my question, which part of the agents act makes it retrospective?

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Postby beppi » Fri, 11 Nov 2011 11:22 pm

The act would have needed provisions that allow old rules to pertain in certain cases (just like a seatbelt law allows older cars to continue without). It does not contain such.

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 12 Nov 2011 9:30 am

JR8 wrote:So do you agree that the CEA Act would require specific allowance in order to obviate contracts entered into prior to it's enactment?

I don't know :) This sounds like pure rectroacting. Probably the Singapore Constitution does not allow this. The agreement is still valid. Only specific clauses may get invalidated in a practical sense. I was watching the consumer law of my country being adapted to the EU law and I know for certain some cases where there was a thick fat line separating the old agreements from the new ones. Even if the event took place under the new law it was still executed by the old law as the agreement was entered before the new law was enforced. No specific provisions covering this was defined in the relates statutes.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 13 Nov 2011 4:36 am

beppi wrote:The act would have needed provisions that allow old rules to pertain in certain cases (just like a seatbelt law allows older cars to continue without). It does not contain such.


The difficulty is that as far as I can see there are no 'old rules' (statute), just 'accepted practice', in which case by definition Leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant cannot apply.

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Postby x9200 » Sun, 13 Nov 2011 6:46 am

There are the "old rules". It is only that they are not defined as a specific law (statue) but fall under (i.e.) general civil law or general law of contracts etc.

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Possible to get Agent's fee Refunded?

Postby noobs » Tue, 29 Nov 2011 11:02 pm

Hi guys

I had taken a house on rent in July this year for 2 years period, and paid an agent's feeo of one month rental amount to my agent.

The house turned out to be badly bed - bugged, the owner was totally negligent, carried out no repairs of damaged items for nearly four months, and finally after much haggling and arguing, we got ourselves kicked out of the house mid-november, and lost one month's deposit that the owner forfeited.

I want to now claim my agent's fee back from my agent on a pro rata basis, for the period of tenancy that was not fulfilled due to bed bugs and other issues. At no point after the cash left our hand, did the agent help us satisfactorily.

Do you think I have a case? If she does not accept my request, i have the option of going to SCT.. Pls advise.

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Postby beppi » Tue, 29 Nov 2011 11:40 pm

The job of an agent is helping you select a place and the agreed upon fee is due once you have selected and a contract is signed.
This does not depend on problems with the place or the landlord later on.

Only if the agreement you signed with the agent (Do you have one?) specifies some kind of warranty, or she told you incorrect things about the place or some other misconduct, you may have a case. But this is not apparent from your posting.
If you don't even have a written agreement with the agent, don't waste your time!

There's a much better chance getting your deposit back from the landlord, if the place was really as uninhabitable as you describe. After all, a landlord cannot "forfeit" a deposit without good reason.

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Postby noobs » Wed, 30 Nov 2011 12:07 am

beppi wrote:Only if the agreement you signed with the agent (Do you have one?) specifies some kind of warranty, or she told you incorrect things about the place or some other misconduct, you may have a case. But this is not apparent from your posting.


No, I dont have an agreement with her, infact she is not even my agent, i simply contacted her from her advertisement online. She was not even present at the time when the contract was signed. She didn't even get our contract duty stamped, and didn't tell us about it. We only learned about duty stamping a contract after getting kicked out!

As for claiming from the owner, well, while leaving the house, I signed a letter with the owner that neither party would make any claims against the other. (because in response to my claim, she claimed that she hadn't issued a formal termination notice, and could take me to court and ask me to pay for the remaining 18 months of tenancy)
The world is a game ... Walk like a cloud ...

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Postby beppi » Wed, 30 Nov 2011 12:34 am

So, you signed away your right to the deposit (needlessly, I think)
AND
you paid an agent who illegally charged you despite being the landlord's agent (thus breaking the estate agent law).

In principle you could claim the illegal agent fee back, but without proof (written agreement and payment receipt) you will be hard pressed here.
You could still report her to CEA and get her into trouble, but that won't give your money back.
I guess the best you can do is learn and avoid these mistakes next time!

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Postby cheated2 » Fri, 20 Jan 2012 4:23 pm

Hi, I am having a few problems with my future landlord and I'd appreciate your advice.

We found a property a few weeks ago and signed and LOI and gave a good will deposit of 1 months' rent. The landlord took our money and signed the LOI. A few days later I arranged to meet the landlord so I could measure the property (it is partially furnished and wanted to make sure I bought small enough furniture). At this time my agent and his agent were present and we discussed the TA and it was agreed they would send a draft to me this week and I should sign and return it. As our rental is due to start on 1st Feb, I agreed with my agent and the landlord's agent that I would pay the remainder of the deposit and the first months' rent when we get the keys on the 1st February, which they agreed to (the landlord was not present at this time).

When I got the TA by email 2 days ago I replied to say I was overseas but in principle I agreed to it and will sign when I return (today) and make the payment of the remaining deposit and 1 months' rent when we get the keys on the 1st Feb. I then got a response saying this was OK but immediately got another email saying 'actually can you TT the money immediately". When I questioned this the response was that it was the law that I must pay when signing the TA and as I hadn't signed within 7 days I was forfeiting the right to have my deposit back!

I feel I have been totally conned here and my agent is not willing (or able maybe) to give me the landlords contact details. I understand the 'usual practice' is to pay upon signing the TA and that it is the norm that this must be done in 7 days, but I've checked my LOI and it says nothing of the sort other than 'If the tenant does not sign the TA then the good faith deposit remains with the landlord'. I therefore still feel I have done nothing wrong, yet the landlord won't give back the good faith deposit, even though he is the one saying he doesn't want us to move in (I would still like to move in as we really like the place - but I don't see why I should back down when he is the one with the money and I have nothing!). I agreed with the landlord's agent to pay the remaining sums on handover the keys, yet clearly either this was not communicated to the landlord or they were in on a con all along.

Has anyone had a similar experience and is there any way I can get my money back. I was looking forward to a new life in Singapore (after 4 year in JB) and now it is all soured before I've even settled and I'out of pocket for what I consider to be a lot of money. Perhaps I'll just stay in Malaysia and commute - people are honest here.

Appreciate your advice.

:(

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 20 Jan 2012 7:48 pm

cheated2 wrote:Hi, I am having a few problems with my future landlord and I'd appreciate your advice.

We found a property a few weeks ago and signed and LOI and gave a good will deposit of 1 months' rent. The landlord took our money and signed the LOI. A few days later I arranged to meet the landlord so I could measure the property (it is partially furnished and wanted to make sure I bought small enough furniture). At this time my agent and his agent were present and we discussed the TA and it was agreed they would send a draft to me this week and I should sign and return it. As our rental is due to start on 1st Feb, I agreed with my agent and the landlord's agent that I would pay the remainder of the deposit and the first months' rent when we get the keys on the 1st February, which they agreed to (the landlord was not present at this time).

When I got the TA by email 2 days ago I replied to say I was overseas but in principle I agreed to it and will sign when I return (today) and make the payment of the remaining deposit and 1 months' rent when we get the keys on the 1st Feb.

It all sounds fair enough to me so far...

I then got a response saying this was OK but immediately got another email saying 'actually can you TT the money immediately". When I questioned this the response was that it was the law that I must pay when signing the TA and as I hadn't signed within 7 days I was forfeiting the right to have my deposit back!

I'm slightly confused here, and I've certainly heard of no such law. Are they claiming that you have to pay with 7 days of the LOI or receiving the TA? If the former, they previously agreed other terms, i.e. pay on 1st Feb. If the latter, well you haven't had the TA seven days yet, nor signed it.

I feel I have been totally conned here and my agent is not willing (or able maybe) to give me the landlords contact details.

It is your agent that should be representing your interests in this matter, i.e. it is a part of their job. That said they might not know the landlords contact details, and you should be dealing via your agent, to the LLs agent, to the LL. The LL should not really be directly involved. that is after all the point of having an agent.


I understand the 'usual practice' is to pay upon signing the TA and that it is the norm that this must be done in 7 days,

I'd want a signed TA and the keys before I paid up

but I've checked my LOI and it says nothing of the sort other than 'If the tenant does not sign the TA then the good faith deposit remains with the landlord'. I therefore still feel I have done nothing wrong, yet the landlord won't give back the good faith deposit, even though he is the one saying he doesn't want us to move in (I would still like to move in as we really like the place - but I don't see why I should back down when he is the one with the money and I have nothing!). I agreed with the landlord's agent to pay the remaining sums on handover the keys, yet clearly either this was not communicated to the landlord or they were in on a con all along.

If you clarify the point or two above then we can consider what your options from here might be...




Has anyone had a similar experience and is there any way I can get my money back. I was looking forward to a new life in Singapore (after 4 year in JB) and now it is all soured before I've even settled and I'out of pocket for what I consider to be a lot of money. Perhaps I'll just stay in Malaysia and commute - people are honest here.

Appreciate your advice.

:(

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Postby beppi » Sat, 21 Jan 2012 5:59 am

I am pretty sure there is no law about timing of contract signing and payments. Everything here is pretty flexible and any way that is o.k. to both parties is legal. Read and digest before you sign anything!
For example, I find it pretty strange that a good faith "deposit" is not refundable according to the agreement. I wouldn't have signed that, and I have never heard of this or a LOI when dealing with landlords directly, so I assume it's an agent invention.

Here is a possible course of action if I want to get the apartment and not pay too early:
Agree to transfer the deposit after you are back. Wait (don't transfer) until agent calls you after a few days, then come up with some excuse (e.g. transfer unsuccessful because you wrote a digit wrongly in the account number) and apologize. Do that one more time and it's almost Feb. 1. Then offer to bring cash to the key handover because that would now be faster than transfer.

One more comment:
If you engaged the agent (to find a place for you), he/she should act in your interest and advice you on the best course of action (that's, after all, what you pay for).
If it's the landlord's agent (and you answered to an ad he/she placed), you are not liable for an agent fee - by law. (This is different from Malaysia, but doesn't mean he/she won't try to charge you. Just don't pay!)

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 21 Jan 2012 12:28 pm

To add. LOI has no power. LOI is like meeting minutes, memo. It means that even if it was something there about keeping the deposit it was worth the paper carrying it. If you still want this place, after you are back, tell them the agreement must be signed within next few days and if not done the deposit has to be returned on the very last day of that period. If they fail you will initiate legal action against them and report the participating agents to CEA.

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Postby cheated2 » Sat, 21 Jan 2012 2:15 pm

I have tried the 'I will pay when I get back option', which is when I got the feedback that the landlord doesn't want to proceed, but with no reason given!

My agent is still fighting to get the money back and I asked her to give them a deadline of 5pm today to give her a cheque or I will be forced to start legal action to recover my money and will report them all to CES.

Will let you know the outcome.. :?


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