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Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

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newSinga
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Postby newSinga » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 11:21 pm

Thank you very much for your quick reply and feedback

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 11:48 pm

I suppose in a way it comes down to you providing her reasonable opportunity to prove that her allegations are true, but also trying to tease out any inconsistencies in her allegations, before having to rely on court action.

Note very carefully what she says (example: stains vs stain) to try and identify a story that is changing. You said you have a copy of the receipt for the rug... well go to that shop and look to see the price of an equivalent, was $1900 reasonable? Check the date of any invoice for cleaning. If she is lying to you in order to make a profit from your deposit, and is not very calculating, it is possible that the inconsistencies over time in her story will incriminate her. In that case you take her to court and drop a ton of bricks on her (assuming she won't simply pay up), but if you don't get to the point of being say 80% confident you are right I suggest seeking a compromise/settlement. Court is no no fun which ever side of the dock you're on. Winner or loser.

p.s. If my thoughts on this matter help you, that's very nice to know, thx. :)

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 27 Apr 2012 3:52 pm

Just wondering whether you're making any headway on this NewSinga?

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Postby ckongnyc » Thu, 03 May 2012 12:03 pm

I think you can try to get it cleaned professionally but in the end she could say it's still damaged and thus you jsut wasted money on the cleaning.

You could take her to SCT. It is a process though. The mediation, consultation, and final hearing could take up to 6 weeks.

I did this and won my case.
My air conditioner broke and I hired several companies to come assess and provide second opinion. All 3 companies stated that the unit was around 15 years old and should be fully replaced.
My tenancy agreement states that I should take out a "service contract with a reputable firm" to have the unit serviced every 3 months.
I had this unit serviced every 3 months, however I used two different companies since I travel alot for work so scheduling was sometimes an issue.

My landlord used this clause to say that I was in breach of agreement, , and she claimed I was liable in full for replacing her 15 year old unit which comes out to about $4k.

Took her to the SCT, logic prevailed and the judge gave her 2 weeks to replace the unit. However this has been ongoing so I've been living in SG for the past 3 months with no Air con whatsoever.

It's a pain, but the SCT works.

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Postby newSinga » Thu, 03 May 2012 5:46 pm

We have given landlord 14 days to provide a picture of the rug after the 'clean' and a receipt if she had it professionally cleaned.

No response as of yet and we have a few more days to wait.

We are thinking of taking her to SCT if she does not respond but have to say I am not looking forward to the long process if it comes to that but also don't want her to get away with this.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 03 May 2012 6:32 pm

newSinga wrote:We have given landlord 14 days to provide a picture of the rug after the 'clean' and a receipt if she had it professionally cleaned.
No response as of yet and we have a few more days to wait.

That's positive news. If she had it, she could have provided it within 48hrs.

We are thinking of taking her to SCT if she does not respond but have to say I am not looking forward to the long process if it comes to that but also don't want her to get away with this.

See what happens. If she doesn't provide the above then tell her to return the depo or you're taking her to the SCT. Then see how she responds to that.

It wouldn't surprise me if she probably tries to pull this 'damaged rug' story with all her tenants (note how quickly she produced the receipt from it's original purchase years ago, but is so slow to produce evidence of it's cleaned state or the cleaning receipt from just a month ago).

Don't worry about court. It's an arduous process, but it feels damned good when you and vindicated and win.

Please do try and update the forum now and again as to how you get on, as many future people in your shoes are likely to benefit from your experience.




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Postby newSinga » Sun, 06 May 2012 9:23 pm

Hi

So the landlord came back with a response today on the 14th day.

She has supplied a quotation not a receipt, the quote appears to be from a building maintenance company (i googled them and they seem to exist) and lists out work she had asked them to quote for, which included re-varnishing of the scratched wooden floor (which we acknowledged) and the shampooing of a carpet.

She is trying to charge us $250 for the floor but the quote says $550.

On the quote is also the cost of repair for a kitchen light which wasnt working $125 (this was on the list we signed when we moved out but was assumed it was just the bulb) she is not charging us for this.

She has not provided pictures of the rug after the supposed professional clean but has said that her new tenant has made a complaint over the carpet and therefore she feels the carpet is no longer tenantable.

Her stance is that she is showing goodwill by absorbing some of the above costs (only charging us $250 rather than $550 for the floor polishing, not charging us for the light etc). her words below:

' I have already demonstrated goodwill in preparing to absorb the cost of many items list above. I have also deducted only a portion of the replacement cost of the carpet. If you are still unhappy about this and wants to move this forward, then it is with great regret to inform you that I will then claims for the full replacement cost of the carpet which is $1,912.50, the full cost of polish floor, door lock and damaged lighting etc which is $1,046. I believe I am in a strong position to demonstrate this claim as I have solid evidence based on pre-existing conditions photos and report, and check out condition photos and report.'

So it feels as though she is trying to scare us by saying we could be liable for far more than she is taking from us now. I really feel as though she is trying to rip us off because there is no reason to give us a reduced price for the items which she says she has paid full price for. Could we really be liable for all of what she says? e.g. approx $3k rather than the $1.5k she has taken already?

Advice much appreciated

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 07 May 2012 12:43 am

newSinga wrote:Hi
So the landlord came back with a response today on the 14th day.

She has supplied a quotation not a receipt, the quote appears to be from a building maintenance company (i googled them and they seem to exist) and lists out work she had asked them to quote for, which included re-varnishing of the scratched wooden floor (which we acknowledged) and the shampooing of a carpet.

And what is the date of the quote? The point we go back to is that your liability is limited to the agreed required repairs at the time of your check-out.



She is trying to charge us $250 for the floor but the quote says $550.

I don't know what polishing or varnishing a floor costs but $550 sounds a lot. I wonder if she knows these contractors and has had them issue an inflated quote? As you say she has provided no receipt.



On the quote is also the cost of repair for a kitchen light which wasnt working $125 (this was on the list we signed when we moved out but was assumed it was just the bulb) she is not charging us for this.

It probably was just the bulb. I'd advise all tenants to ensure lights are working at the time of their check-out, because a) it is a PITA when tenants leave loads of blown bulbs, because then you have to get an electrician in to replace them, and then the tenants complain like fury about why it cost so much (er, because an electricians call-out and labour charge is not cheap, but your time would have been!). But also because b) now she is able to say she had to replace the light fitting and you will have a harder job proving that she is lying.


She has not provided pictures of the rug after the supposed professional clean

Probably because she can't prove her point, this is a very strong plus-point in your case. And once again we have to go back to what was agreed at the check-out. She cannot add deductions afterwards.


but has said that her new tenant has made a complaint over the carpet and therefore she feels the carpet is no longer tenantable.

That is absolutely not your problem. Refer previous point re: check-out condition.


Her stance is that she is showing goodwill by absorbing some of the above costs (only charging us $250 rather than $550 for the floor polishing, not charging us for the light etc). her words below:

One of which might be inflated, and the other maybe entailed changing a bulb rather than replacing a light. So her 'generosity' is perhaps nowhere near as great as she suggests.

' I have already demonstrated goodwill in preparing to absorb the cost of many items list above.

I wonder if she could provide the applicable receipt/s at the SCT?

I have also deducted only a portion of the replacement cost of the carpet. If you are still unhappy about this and wants to move this forward, then it is with great regret to inform you that I will then claims for the full replacement cost of the carpet which is $1,912.50, the full cost of polish floor, door lock and damaged lighting etc which is $1,046.

Haha, nice, she's trying to blackmail you! Oh man, a court is not going to look kindly at that at all.

Secondly I see no case for carpet replacement on two grounds. a) Yet again, it was not agreed at check-out. b) she has already agreed that the claimed damage represented the depreciated cost of the rug. I.e. the rug had already reduced in value when you moved in, so you weren't liable for the full replacement cost (notwithstanding the point that you aren't liable in the first place). So to now suggest you're liable for the full cost is incorrect and crude, and I expect a court would look at it in the same way.

BTW did you ever go to the source of that rug and see what they cost? As from the picture you linked it looks like a piece of cheap nylon shag-pile to me... max S$250 in Europe.


I believe I am in a strong position to demonstrate this claim as I have solid evidence based on pre-existing conditions photos and report, and check out condition photos and report.'

But we know the rug was not mentioned in the check-out report. End of.

So it feels as though she is trying to scare us by saying we could be liable for far more than she is taking from us now. I really feel as though she is trying to rip us off because there is no reason to give us a reduced price for the items which she says she has paid full price for.

Good observation! I agree

Could we really be liable for all of what she says? e.g. approx $3k rather than the $1.5k she has taken already?

I can't see it myself. Look back at what has happened. She's trying to charge for a rug that was not an agreed problem at check-out. She's kindly 'doing you favours' on two other items, it doesn't add up. No pictures and no receipts.

It is quite simple as a landlord doing an inventory check-out.
- You agree required repairs.
- You carry out repairs.
- You calculate deductions from deposit, and return deposit to ex-tenant with breakdown of any deductions, and copies of receipts.

It is that simple. The last thing that a landlord needs is some extended argument or similar crap, never mind being taken to court. So ask yourself why it is proving so very difficult in your case? My gut feel, is that her deductions and 'generosity' are either fictional or inflated, and that a court would see it the same way.


Advice much appreciated

No problem. Please note I'm off on a trip to the boon-docks shortly for a few weeks.... so from a day or two hence I'm not going to be able to provide further lengthy replies like the above until week #1 of June. But never fear there are others here that also understand a lot about landlord and tenant law...

Best of luck, and once again please keep us updated.



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Postby relocaterelocate » Tue, 08 May 2012 12:36 pm

Been fuming for the past 48 hours with no real access to any advice and then I remembered this forum.

So here goes.

We moved into a brand new unfurnished condo in Oct 2010. The original landlord sold the property in Dec 2011 to a new landlord.

For various reasons, we decided a few months ago we would like to move. I contacted the new landlord directly and we both agreed that it was in our both interests if we did so. We agreed to draft a letter which would state that we were both willing to break the contract and that there would not be any liabilities doing so. We also agreed to pay 1000SGD for the agent, but the rest of the deposit (minus any reasonable repairs) of 6000SGD would go back to us.

A few days ago the landlord came to inspect the property. Needless to say, he found a lot of very minor “damages”

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 08 May 2012 12:55 pm

What you described is IMO typical wear and tear and that's all what you should say in SCT (if it comes to that stage) - have it well documented in pictures, not only close-ups but also showing the "magnitude" of the damage from a normal daily use perspective.
I would not touch it over the line that he did not buy it brand new because it may create an impression that you think you could have damaged anything and get away with this only because somebody sold the place and did not inspected it. This is not true.

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Postby relocaterelocate » Tue, 08 May 2012 1:46 pm

Fair point, I understand the implication if I do so.

But it still nevertheless baffles me. He didnt buy it new, therefore he shouldn't expect it new. All the faults he listed are really minor issues which were there at the time of the sale. Wear and tear. Logic dictates he shouldn't expect the flat in better condition than he bought it in.

Also, if taken to a SCT, would the person making a decision solely rely on photos/written evidence? Could I insist on a visit for them to take a look themselves?

Another question. We asked the original landlord to place those screens on the glass doors of our kitchen (My son has done stupidier things than running into glass doors - just wanted the doors to be visible). He agreed if we paid. It cost us 300SGD. If the new landlord continues to be petty, can I ask for that money back?

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 09 May 2012 8:27 am

relocaterelocate wrote:Fair point, I understand the implication if I do so.

But it still nevertheless baffles me. He didnt buy it new, therefore he shouldn't expect it new. All the faults he listed are really minor issues which were there at the time of the sale. Wear and tear. Logic dictates he shouldn't expect the flat in better condition than he bought it in.

Welcome to the world of the local landlords. Do not expect too much logic. Do expect a lot of greed.

Also, if taken to a SCT, would the person making a decision solely rely on photos/written evidence? Could I insist on a visit for them to take a look themselves?

I would expect the court is going to rely mostly on such indirect evidence. The whole idea of SCT is to make it cheap and fast and having the site inspection involves some third parties to go there what involves more costs. You may try to find such independent party (no idea who could it be in Singapore) and pay them for a visit and a report. Later you can use it in the court what would probably make your case even stronger but in expense of your money.

Another question. We asked the original landlord to place those screens on the glass doors of our kitchen (My son has done stupidier things than running into glass doors - just wanted the doors to be visible). He agreed if we paid. It cost us 300SGD. If the new landlord continues to be petty, can I ask for that money back?

He agreed if you'd pay (so he does not pay a dime) or he agree to cover the expenses but you arrange it and pay the contractors first?


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Postby JR8 » Wed, 09 May 2012 7:16 pm

x9200 wrote: You may try to find such independent party (no idea who could it be in Singapore) and pay them for a visit and a report. Later you can use it in the court what would probably make your case even stronger but in expense of your money.


In the UK inventories (check-in and check-out) are normally drawn up by professional inventory clerks, and you could ask one to carry out an interim condition report and assessment of wear&tear/damage for a fee of about £100.

Trouble is I don't know if such a thing exists in SG. Landlords seem to draw up their own often garbled tenancy agreements and back of an envelope inventories... :?

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Postby Bett » Mon, 11 Jun 2012 5:28 pm

hi i'm a tenant currently renting a HDB flat.

I'm going to renewal my current lease for the second time but did not want to pay my agent commision coz i'm not aware that i have to. When she brought me the tenant agreement to sign the year before, she did not highlight to me that i need to continue paying her the comm although i paid her the 0.5 month rental as comm last year for the first renewal. This is because i have lost the the agreement i signed with her and cannot check back. I also paid her out of goodwill then coz i took into consideration that were i to sign a two-year lease initially, she would be entitled to a full month's rent as commision. hence, i feel i have being more than fairly and appropriately reward her for her efforts.

however i find it ridiculous to pay her again for this upcoming renewal when she done nothing except to call me when my lease is due for renewal.

so my question is, can i negotiate directly with my landlord without going thru my current agent. Note, she is NOT the landlord's agent, merely a co-broke. I saw the add for the property on . website previously, that's how i get to know her during then.

I scanned thru the tenant agreement i signed with her during the renewal last year and there's no indication i must use her service for subsequent renewal, only that i need to pay her commision if i choose to renew.

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 11 Jun 2012 5:38 pm

Bett wrote:I scanned thru the tenant agreement i signed with her during the renewal last year and there's no indication i must use her service for subsequent renewal, only that i need to pay her commision if i choose to renew.


So you have to pay her commission if you choose to renew, and you've signed a contract to agree this.

Er, what is the question?


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