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Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Mon, 06 Feb 2012 6:04 pm

cheated2 wrote:My cheque cleared on Friday, so I decided today I would report the agents to the CEA. Only problem is I have to give all my details (Passport number, full name, contact details etc...) and it states these will be shared with the agent I am complaining against and if I want to remain anonymous then they will probably not follow up!!!

I can understand your pausing for thought, but I don't think you should let this stop you reporting them. The thing is that you can't make official complaints without having to identify yourself, or else the procedure would just be too open to abuse (rival agents reporting each other on false allegations etc). I would have thought this a common approach worldwide.


Seems like they are going to get away with messing more people around as I'm not putting myself in the firing line before I've even moved to Singapore!


The likelihood of there being any ramifications of you being identified in SG are very probably nil, but as you haven't even got to SG I don't see what you are concerned about. These are a couple of typically dodgy estate agents and not the Mob :)

I'd provide a c/o address of your parents or friend back home. Passport # no problem, if you're unhappy with e-mail you could set up a new one just for this matter and set it to forward to your primary account.


p.s. Back in London I lived in an area I knew very very well, and working from home I knew a lot of people in the neighbourhood and just had an instinctive feel for when someone was 'out of place' and likely up to no good. Anyway, as a result I used to report serious crime 'in action' including instances of street drug dealing to the police every few weeks, IDing the person and often where they lived. To be taken seriously by the police (and you quickly realise how disinterested the police are by crack/smack dealing after reporting it a few times and hearing their response) I had to give my name and contact number. I don't think I met anyone who I mentioned filing police reports to that thought I was other than bonkers (the risk being the police tipping off criminals that I'm reporting them). But, you can't just sit there and let it happen under your nose.


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Foreign Owners and Deposits

Postby cdxpat » Sat, 24 Mar 2012 11:36 am

My question would be on foreign owners and refund of deposit. It occurs to me that a foreign owner could refuse to refund my deposit and the cost of and effort of recovering that would be substantially more than the deposit. Is this proving to be an issue or am i just being paranoid ?

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Re: Foreign Owners and Deposits

Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 24 Mar 2012 11:56 am

cdxpat wrote:My question would be on foreign owners and refund of deposit. It occurs to me that a foreign owner could refuse to refund my deposit and the cost of and effort of recovering that would be substantially more than the deposit. Is this proving to be an issue or am i just being paranoid ?


You take them to court then. I don't know the intricacies of getting the judgement enforced, but if they own property in Singapore they'll have to deal with the order sooner or later.

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Re: Foreign Owners and Deposits

Postby x9200 » Sat, 24 Mar 2012 12:11 pm

cdxpat wrote:My question would be on foreign owners and refund of deposit. It occurs to me that a foreign owner could refuse to refund my deposit and the cost of and effort of recovering that would be substantially more than the deposit. Is this proving to be an issue or am i just being paranoid ?

You are not being paranoid, you are not properly informed. If the lease term is no longer than 2 years you can go to SCT (Small Claims Tribunal) and inexpensively recover your deposit (if your claims are justifiable of course).

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Taken on a ride by Landlord but can I keep rug?

Postby newSinga » Wed, 18 Apr 2012 10:07 pm

Like everyone else we are being taken on a ride and have to pay for a very expensive rug in our fully-furnished apartment ($1200).

She has charged us for 3 years use out of a '8-year' use rug.

My question is if I have to pay for her to get a new rug due to a supposed 'stain', can I ask that we have the old rug? Seems like this is fair since she supposedly has to by a new one.

Thanks

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Re: Taken on a ride by Landlord but can I keep rug?

Postby JR8 » Thu, 19 Apr 2012 1:39 am

newSinga wrote:Like everyone else we are being taken on a ride and have to pay for a very expensive rug in our fully-furnished apartment ($1200).
She has charged us for 3 years use out of a '8-year' use rug.
My question is if I have to pay for her to get a new rug due to a supposed 'stain', can I ask that we have the old rug? Seems like this is fair since she supposedly has to by a new one.
Thanks


I'm not quite clear what the circumstances are, for example how long have you lived in this apartment?

What the landlord appears to be doing (in part) is applying asset-lifes to fixtures/fittings/furnishings in the property. For example it might not be unreasonable to expect a rug in a rental property to have a working lifespan of eight years. Company accountants have asset registers of everything from partition walls to PC printers and will depreciate the aggregate portion of the asset register each year (sorry if this is egg-sucking to you).

From what you describe your landlady seems to have forgotten that her furnishings are subject to your 'fair wear and tear' (check your tenancy agreement, you should see the clause there). This means if you have lived there three years, then three years fair use and wear is allowed for. If she is saying it has a lifespan of eight years (which on the face of it might be reasonable, though based upon experience as a landlord I'd argue 5 years (max) is more realistic in a rental) then she can expect to get the rug back 37.5% worn-out (100% being replacement time).

I'd say you have a choice of having the rug cleaned, if that is required, to bring it back to 37.5% worn-out condition; or if she maintains that the rug is 100% worn out before it's time and hence must be replaced, if you were to replace it then I think you're perfectly entitled to keep the old one (since she is claiming it is 100% worn out and hence presumably of no value).

I would be clearer if I knew how long you've lived there, and also if you could clarify why in the landlords mind a rug with 3 years of say 8 years 'useful life' wear and tear has to be replaced. Still I hope that gives you a couple of pointers...

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Postby newSinga » Thu, 19 Apr 2012 10:39 am

We actually only lived in the property for only 3 months on a short-term basis but she has provided us the receipt to the rug which is why she is arguing that she's giving us 3-years off the total cost.

Also, she only found this 'stain' once the handover had been completed. We had agreed to other issues that were brought up during this time.

Do you have a suggestion for the best way to discuss this with the landlord or is our only option Small Claims Court

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Postby newSinga » Thu, 19 Apr 2012 10:43 am

Forgot to add this above.

Her reasoning was that she tried to get the stain out but because she couldn't she is charging us for the remaining 5-year life-span

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 19 Apr 2012 4:36 pm

So you lived there 3 months, and the original purchase price of the rug was $1200. How old was the rug though, saying ‘she's giving us 3-years off the total cost’ does not help me understand.

re: the stain being found only after you left, Did you agree a condition report with her beforehand?

I think you need to see the receipt for having the rug cleaned (and she will have it as I expect she’ll try and claim it as a tax write-off, even if the rug is replaced), otherwise how can the requirement to replace the rug at your expense be established/proven.

It might be one for the SCT, but it is always better if you can negotiate a settlement before it comes to that. In the meantime I think you need to focus your thoughts a little, hence the still open questions above.

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Postby newSinga » Thu, 19 Apr 2012 6:02 pm

Okay here's the details

We moved in to the apartment in Jan 2012 on a 3-month short term rental and signed an inventory list that included the rug. I am aware now that I should have taken images of everything in the apartment.

On our departure at the end of March we walked through the apartment with her and agreed and signed to a number of things that were wrong with the apartment. This did not include the rug.

After the handover, she sent images through MMS saying there were stains on the carpet.

It was only once we received our deposit refund and the explanation that she stated that she tried cleaning the carpet and it was not success.

She has provided the original receipt stating it was purchased 3 years ago at $1900 and since she has been able to get 3 years worth of wear (expecting 8 years) she has deducted 3 years off the original cost and is charging us $1200 5 years worth of a replacement.

I will ask her to provide the cleaning receipt and the latest pictures of the rug as to be honest other than dirt I'm not sure what could be on it (no red wine, etc).

What I am struggling to understand is how a minor stain (we didn't notice it on the rug) could require us to have to pay this much in damages on something is does wear and tear.

Thanks

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 19 Apr 2012 6:30 pm

Right I see now.

When you did your inventory ‘check-out’ you say that you agreed a number of things and those were signed. I think that is going to be a key back-stop for you, I hope you still have that document. That check-out was to agree deductions to the deposit, and I do not see that the landlord then has open remit to later add to the legitimate deductions. Perhaps they could argue that they had cause to as a certain item of damage was not initially apparent but I think they would have to provide some solid evidence to substantiate it’s reasonableness. I.e. the onus would be on them to establish that.

If I were you I’d write to her along the lines intimated within the above. You did an inventory check-out and mutually agreed deductions from the deposit. No damage was noted at the time to the rug. Furthermore you cannot understand how alleged damage supposedly serious enough to require the rugs outright replacement might have gone completely unnoticed. And as you are unaware of any damage having taken place to the rug during your time in the property you require any deduction for said rug to be refunded in full within 14 days.

You might hold off with the demand at that for now. You could go on and say something like ‘and if you decline to refund these monies we will have no choice but to file a case at the Small Claims tribunal against you... [etc]’. But sometimes all it needs is for them to see you won’t take any crap, rather than having to go in with all guns blazing and getting their ‘water face’ and backs up.

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Postby newSinga » Thu, 19 Apr 2012 8:15 pm

Thank you very much for your feedback. I'll provide an update once I hear back from the landlord

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 19 Apr 2012 8:22 pm

Please do.

Sadly not many tenants-in-distress update us as to the the eventual outcomes, and it really would help others.

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Postby newSinga » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 8:39 pm

Hi JR8

Wondering if you can offer some additional advice.

The landlord has now provided an image of the rug that she supposedly took on the day we handed over. She has stated that no tenant would want to live with a stained rug and that is why she is charging us the amount as detailed in my previous post.

We feel that without the blue circle you wouldn't know whether it's a stain based on the colour of the rug.

Image

We are thinking of asking to see the rug and to have it professionally cleaned or do you think there's a better solution or skip and go to Small Claims?

As mentioned previously, we assume that she is now still using this in the apartment. If we ask for the rug and she then tells us that she has gotten rid out it, do we have any recourse?

Thanks

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 11:09 pm

It is not entirely straight forward as the point is subjective, and the source info is not in hand rather it is being summarised for me. For example I would want to know why she apparently originally reported to you that there were stains on the carpet and then sends a picture of a single alleged stain. Who cleaned the rug and how, on the same day after your check-out, or was the picture before the cleaning? Did your tenancy agreement include a clause requiring that you had the place ‘professionally cleaned’ prior to hand-over, or that you were liable to pay her for such cleaning? If there is such a clause does it include cleaning of the rug? This is important, please clarify if you can.

But we’re going around in circles somewhat. If you did write broadly along the lines suggested in my post of 19Apr 6.30pm then she appears to have simply ignored what you said, and repeated her position. She has added a picture (the timing of which is debatable, as it looks like a Flickr user can manually choose a date (I haven’t ever used Flickr though)), but rugs with a shag-pile like that naturally present patches of apparent different colour in different parts (you said she paid $1900 for that... really, hmmm?).

The fact is unchanged this alleged major damage was not noted at check-out. Also note a court will always give you credit in a case if you demonstrate that you have acted ‘reasonably’ towards finding a solution*. So my next move would be to ask her for a copy of cleaning bill (this depends on the issue of cleaning mentioned above). I.e. you want to know a professional attempt to clean it has been made. You also want to know that the cleaning happened before the damage that she is asserting currently exists, i.e. the cleaning happened before she took that photo – that a is perfectly reasonable request. If she can’t or won’t produce one, then I’d give her 14 days notice to return the deposit or you’ll take her to the SCT.

When you write again I’d suggest repeating that ‘we are unaware of having caused any damage to the rug, and no damage was noted by yourself to the rug at the inventory check-out’. If it comes to having to collate an evidence bundle these kind of statements in your communications repeated over and over can leave a desired impact (after all she has not acknowledged these points so far ... why?).

---

If she’s thrown out the rug she has no evidence. And since this alleged damage was not apparent at the official check-out, well I don’t think she has much to stand her case on.


*so for example writing ‘I require that my deposit is returned in full within 14 days’, and not ‘Refund my deposit by tomorrow or I’m taking you to court!’ ';)


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