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angrytenant
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Landord not returning deposit

Postby angrytenant » Wed, 17 Apr 2013 8:19 pm

Hello,

I have been reading this forum as my position is similar to many others who have written before me. The TA for my unit was between my ex-employer (on behalf of and underwritten by me) and the landlord. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I left the employment of this company the same day as the expiry of the tenancy agreement.

On expiry the unit was handed over to the landlord (we had no agent) with only one minor issue which was duly noted, acknowledged in writing by me on the handover document. This issue was settled in 2 days by me to the satisfaction of the landlord. As per the TA, the security deposit was to be returned within 14 days. On the 15th day, the landlord reverts to me on email stating the security deposit has been withheld because of dirty condition of the unit and appliances at the time of handover. This was not the truth since my wife and I had taken special efforts and ensured that each and every corner and appliance and furniture was cleaned. At the time of handover, none of these things were raised by the landlord and hence none of them were recorded in writing except the one issue I wrote above.

Now, the landlord is refusing to return the deposit and my ex-employer also wants me to handle this issue directly with the landlord. I have tried calling the landlord several times, but he refuses to answer my calls (quite strange considering that during the tenancy agreement, he had all the time in the world and chatted with me in person for couple of hours at time). Now I would entertain reasonable discussion with the landlord to settle the issue, but he simply wont talk to me. I guess he knows that I am no longer in employment with his counterparty to the TA and he sees a chance to gobble up the security deposit.

Do I have any legal right as a tenant, considering that the TA was signed with my ex-employer. What should I do in this case. Any advise would be appreciated much.

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Re: Landord not returning deposit

Postby offshoreoildude » Wed, 17 Apr 2013 10:21 pm

angrytenant wrote:Hello,

I have been reading this forum as my position is similar to many others who have written before me. The TA for my unit was between my ex-employer (on behalf of and underwritten by me) and the landlord. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I left the employment of this company the same day as the expiry of the tenancy agreement.

On expiry the unit was handed over to the landlord (we had no agent) with only one minor issue which was duly noted, acknowledged in writing by me on the handover document. This issue was settled in 2 days by me to the satisfaction of the landlord. As per the TA, the security deposit was to be returned within 14 days. On the 15th day, the landlord reverts to me on email stating the security deposit has been withheld because of dirty condition of the unit and appliances at the time of handover. This was not the truth since my wife and I had taken special efforts and ensured that each and every corner and appliance and furniture was cleaned. At the time of handover, none of these things were raised by the landlord and hence none of them were recorded in writing except the one issue I wrote above.

Now, the landlord is refusing to return the deposit and my ex-employer also wants me to handle this issue directly with the landlord. I have tried calling the landlord several times, but he refuses to answer my calls (quite strange considering that during the tenancy agreement, he had all the time in the world and chatted with me in person for couple of hours at time). Now I would entertain reasonable discussion with the landlord to settle the issue, but he simply wont talk to me. I guess he knows that I am no longer in employment with his counterparty to the TA and he sees a chance to gobble up the security deposit.

Do I have any legal right as a tenant, considering that the TA was signed with my ex-employer. What should I do in this case. Any advise would be appreciated much.


1. In contract law terms you have no obligation to do anything.
2. If you are owed the deposit by your employer (who is owed it by the LL) that is a matter between your employer and you (as parties) and the LL and ex employer (as separate parties).
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Postby JR8 » Thu, 18 Apr 2013 2:43 am

@ Angrytenant.

Yes I think your read of the situation is probably right. The LL sees that you will likely have to leave SG, and so is taking the opportunity to blindly try and scalp your deposit. It's wrong, it's immoral, it's disgusting, but I'm afraid it seems to be typically Singaporean behaviour.

See previous posts, re: taking him to the SCT. Tell him you have a new job in SG so are not going anywhere (whether quite true or not). State your case (as you have here), give him 7-days to return what you consider a stated equitable/reasonable sum from your deposit, or otherwise SCT will immediately follow. If he doesn't perform, to the letter, then follow through.

'''These kind of foreign landlords scums, needs to be taughts a lessons in how to behaves!'''.

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Postby angrytenant » Thu, 18 Apr 2013 9:35 am

Many thanks for your words of encouragement.

@offshoreoildude - Do I serve some kind of (legal) notice on my ex-employer for recovery of the deposit. I have already written to them regarding this issue, but they have refused to get drawn into this issue stating I deal with the landlord directly. I have to reveal here that before I was released from the company, I was made to sign a undertaking to indemnify the company for any legal or other action specifically with respect to this tenancy agreement. I feel I am in a bit of a spot here.

@JR8, Thank you for your suggestions. I am indeed staying in Singapore for few more months since I am on PEP and I have all the time in the world to pursue this doggedly. I am dismayed by the attitude of such rich, educated people who treat you as the best friend for 2 years and after handover all of a sudden, dont have the decency to answer a phone call from me. It's as if I have insulted him by asking him to return the deposit!!

Should I consider taking a lawyer's help to build my case. I know I cannot be represented in SCT by a lawyer and I will have to present my own case. But can he help build a solid case to present to the tribunal.

Again, grateful for your encouragement and suggestions.

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Postby offshoreoildude » Thu, 18 Apr 2013 12:48 pm

angrytenant wrote:Many thanks for your words of encouragement.

@offshoreoildude - Do I serve some kind of (legal) notice on my ex-employer for recovery of the deposit. I have already written to them regarding this issue, but they have refused to get drawn into this issue stating I deal with the landlord directly. I have to reveal here that before I was released from the company, I was made to sign a undertaking to indemnify the company for any legal or other action specifically with respect to this tenancy agreement. I feel I am in a bit of a spot here.

@JR8, Thank you for your suggestions. I am indeed staying in Singapore for few more months since I am on PEP and I have all the time in the world to pursue this doggedly. I am dismayed by the attitude of such rich, educated people who treat you as the best friend for 2 years and after handover all of a sudden, dont have the decency to answer a phone call from me. It's as if I have insulted him by asking him to return the deposit!!

Should I consider taking a lawyer's help to build my case. I know I cannot be represented in SCT by a lawyer and I will have to present my own case. But can he help build a solid case to present to the tribunal.

Again, grateful for your encouragement and suggestions.



Why on earth did you sign that? You signed it under duress though so it's not valid IMO.

ARE you owned money on this? Is the deposit YOUR money or your ex employers? If it is the latter - why are you involved and if it is the former - how did that come about?
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Postby JR8 » Thu, 18 Apr 2013 4:17 pm

angrytenant wrote: @JR8, Thank you for your suggestions. I am indeed staying in Singapore for few more months since I am on PEP and I have all the time in the world to pursue this doggedly. I am dismayed by the attitude of such rich, educated people who treat you as the best friend for 2 years and after handover all of a sudden, dont have the decency to answer a phone call from me. It's as if I have insulted him by asking him to return the deposit!!

Should I consider taking a lawyer's help to build my case. I know I cannot be represented in SCT by a lawyer and I will have to present my own case. But can he help build a solid case to present to the tribunal.


Ah perfect, so you have time. Yes, if there is one country crying out for the holding of tenancy deposits to be regulated it is SG. Getting screwed-over when vacating a place seems par for the course if you're a foreigner.

I wouldn't use a lawyer, they'll do little more than you can, but they intentionally over-complicate it so to max out on their fees. AFAII you cannot claim for costs at the SCT, so if/when you win a huge slice of it would cover those legal bills.

Can you clarify though, who paid what, and in what name was the tenancy agreement? As per OffshoreOD it is not completely clear what the set-up was.

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Postby offshoreoildude » Thu, 18 Apr 2013 4:29 pm

JR8 wrote:
angrytenant wrote: @JR8, Thank you for your suggestions. I am indeed staying in Singapore for few more months since I am on PEP and I have all the time in the world to pursue this doggedly. I am dismayed by the attitude of such rich, educated people who treat you as the best friend for 2 years and after handover all of a sudden, dont have the decency to answer a phone call from me. It's as if I have insulted him by asking him to return the deposit!!

Should I consider taking a lawyer's help to build my case. I know I cannot be represented in SCT by a lawyer and I will have to present my own case. But can he help build a solid case to present to the tribunal.


Ah perfect, so you have time. Yes, if there is one country crying out for the holding of tenancy deposits to be regulated it is SG. Getting screwed-over when vacating a place seems par for the course if you're a foreigner.

I wouldn't use a lawyer, they'll do little more than you can, but they intentionally over-complicate it so to max out on their fees. AFAII you cannot claim for costs at the SCT, so if/when you win a huge slice of it would cover those legal bills.

Can you clarify though, who paid what, and in what name was the tenancy agreement? As per OffshoreOD it is not completely clear what the set-up was.


(IF he was working for a local Stinkyporean I wouldn't be surprised if his last paycheck was offset by the deposit if Cheaterporean Pte Ltd paid it when he moved in!).
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Postby Steve1960 » Thu, 18 Apr 2013 6:24 pm

I would always advise paying close attention to the contract of course. However, my focus remains on ensuring the contract is not mentioned because if it ever has to come out of the desk drawer multiple things have already gone wrong which could probably have been avoided or fixed.

Just examples.

I fix all the small stuff myself regardless of what the contract says. I try and look at it from a landlords perspective and it would be aggravating to say the least to have a tenant making contact every week on minor issues. Of course it helps that I am a good handyman.

I am gradually re painting the entire apartment. The rooms were not dirty when we moved in but there were many marks on the walls. Every room is white, the paint is not expensive and it will cost me only 4 hours of my time 6 weekends a year. If / when we do leave there should be no dispute as to the condition of the rooms. Plus it makes for a nicer environment for us while we are living here and my efforst impress 'her in doors' which is the biggest benefit of all :wink:

However, to be sure I keep a live Word document open on my computer where I list everything I do in the apartment with regard to repairs or improvements and I send it to the landlords agent every 6 months.

If there was a dispute at the end of the contract period it ought to be fairly easy to resolve.

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Postby angrytenant » Thu, 18 Apr 2013 10:41 pm

@offshoreoildude & @jr8:

Thanks for your reply. I ought to have been more specific about the TA. I was on a local remuneration package (as opposed to expat package) which meant that all my housing, education etc was provided to me on a Cost to Company basis. However, at the time of signing the TA, my company agreed to lease the apartment as a company lease and they deducted the monthly rental from my salary. In this process, I paid the company the 2 months rental deposit which was paid to the landlord by the company (as the TA was with the company). Now, the Landlord owes money to my company and my ex-company in turn owes money to me. My company is not at fault here, in fact they went out of their way to enter into this lease agreement in the first place. n fact, they have already communicated in writing and orally to the landlord that they should refund the deposit to me.

In fact there has been some more news, today it seems the HR department had a long conversation with the landlord. The landlord has now cooked a story suggesting that he did not want to talk to me because I had been too arrogant at the time of the handover. I was completely shocked by this absurd allegation because all I had asked him that day was when I should expect my deposit cheque. I am now convinced that this landlord is a liar and is out to cheat me out of my deposit.

He is now supposedly going to send another detailed list of work to be carried out. I was advised by the HR dept to work out a compromise in this situation and get on with life. They seem out to discourage me from using the legal route to recover my money.

I dont know what this new list will contain and I am convinced the man is trying to cheat me on this transaction. Should I consider the compromise or still press for legal course of action.

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Postby offshoreoildude » Fri, 19 Apr 2013 8:44 am

angrytenant wrote:@offshoreoildude & @jr8:

Thanks for your reply. I ought to have been more specific about the TA. I was on a local remuneration package (as opposed to expat package) which meant that all my housing, education etc was provided to me on a Cost to Company basis. However, at the time of signing the TA, my company agreed to lease the apartment as a company lease and they deducted the monthly rental from my salary. In this process, I paid the company the 2 months rental deposit which was paid to the landlord by the company (as the TA was with the company). Now, the Landlord owes money to my company and my ex-company in turn owes money to me. My company is not at fault here, in fact they went out of their way to enter into this lease agreement in the first place. n fact, they have already communicated in writing and orally to the landlord that they should refund the deposit to me.

In fact there has been some more news, today it seems the HR department had a long conversation with the landlord. The landlord has now cooked a story suggesting that he did not want to talk to me because I had been too arrogant at the time of the handover. I was completely shocked by this absurd allegation because all I had asked him that day was when I should expect my deposit cheque. I am now convinced that this landlord is a liar and is out to cheat me out of my deposit.

He is now supposedly going to send another detailed list of work to be carried out. I was advised by the HR dept to work out a compromise in this situation and get on with life. They seem out to discourage me from using the legal route to recover my money.

I dont know what this new list will contain and I am convinced the man is trying to cheat me on this transaction. Should I consider the compromise or still press for legal course of action.


As the contract is between the company and the LL you cannot pursue legal action unless your company allows you to do so on their behalf.

I'd be pursuing your company for return of the deposit.

The sort of cock eyed arrangement always results in a loss.
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Postby JR8 » Fri, 19 Apr 2013 6:46 pm

angrytenant wrote: Thanks for your reply. I ought to have been more specific about the TA. I was on a local remuneration package (as opposed to expat package) which meant that all my housing, education etc was provided to me on a Cost to Company basis. However, at the time of signing the TA, my company agreed to lease the apartment as a company lease and they deducted the monthly rental from my salary. In this process, I paid the company the 2 months rental deposit which was paid to the landlord by the company (as the TA was with the company). Now, the Landlord owes money to my company and my ex-company in turn owes money to me. My company is not at fault here, in fact they went out of their way to enter into this lease agreement in the first place. n fact, they have already communicated in writing and orally to the landlord that they should refund the deposit to me.


If I were a lawyer I’m sure I could reach a clear conclusion on this very quickly, but alas I not not.

What I can say though is that it was a pretty strange arrangement. The company was the tenant, with all the parallel Rights and Obligations. And you were effectively the company’s sub-tenant or licensee. But you had no tenancy agreement with the company; rather you had to sign an indemnifier against taking legal action against the company, in matters concerning their tenancy. That just does not sound right!

And so now the landlord sees that the company are trying to remove themselves from the equation, they’re just not interested, and there is his opportunity to indirectly screw you.

angrytenant wrote: In fact there has been some more news, today it seems the HR department had a long conversation with the landlord. The landlord has now cooked a story suggesting that he did not want to talk to me because I had been too arrogant at the time of the handover. I was completely shocked by this absurd allegation because all I had asked him that day was when I should expect my deposit cheque. I am now convinced that this landlord is a liar and is out to cheat me out of my deposit.


Judge to Defendent (landlord): ‘And what are the grounds for you with-holding the plaintiff’s deposit money?’
Defendent to Judge: ‘Because he was arrogant at the time of the handover’.
Judge to Defendent: 'Oh FFS behave will you!? After the event, suddenly alleging arrogance, is not a valid Ground for with-holding the Plaintiff’s deposit. In actual fact it is quite the reverse, it is your own high-handed and opportunistic arrogance that has brought us all here today’.

angrytenant wrote: He is now supposedly going to send another detailed list of work to be carried out. I was advised by the HR dept to work out a compromise in this situation and get on with life. They seem out to discourage me from using the legal route to recover my money.
I dont know what this new list will contain and I am convinced the man is trying to cheat me on this transaction. Should I consider the compromise or still press for legal course of action.


This revised list is an irrelevant distraction. Let’s guess... it will magically require works that cost all or most of your deposit. As OSOD said, you cannot negotiate a contract to which you are not a party, unless instructed/authorised, like say, a lawyer might be. HR probably wish to discourage the legal route, as that would reveal the tawdry little corner that they have forced you into. So they’re not going to take action, as they got the money from you, and they don’t want you taking action (even if you could) as it might perhaps reflect badly on them.

I think you should consider switching the focus to the company. Did they attend the check-out inventory and inspection of their tenancy?

p.s. And that indemnifier re: legal action re: the tenancy, I expect in much of the world that would be deemed an unfair contractual term. It shifts liabilities onto you, that are of the company’s own making. You’re dealing with greed from the landlord, fuelled by the obvious apathy of the company. One avenue would be summarising some of the above, and what OSOD says, and if you know any lawyers (friends of friends, or some way to run it by one on a local forum, and so on), just get an informed sanity check on the best way in. My gut feel is that giving the company 2 weeks to return your deposit (less any originally agreed damages), ‘failing which this matter will be handed to my lawyer’, might motivate them enough to break the log-jam.

Anyway, let us know what you decide to do, as as you can see the path you’re on is a well-worn one, and any updates you can provide will be most useful to those who will inevitably follow in your unenviable footsteps.

Good luck!

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Postby offshoreoildude » Fri, 19 Apr 2013 7:35 pm

Another reason all schools should do Law 101 (as I did - it taught me an astonishing amount in one semester).
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Use of condo facilities?

Postby vanyali » Fri, 26 Apr 2013 4:15 am

Hello, I have a question on the use of condo facilities by tenants:

I have a lease at the Cote D'Azur condo by Parkway Parade. This condo has three tennis courts. Residents pay $2/hour to the office to reserve court time to use the courts. The rest of the time they are padlocked.

Earlier this week, I reserved time on the court late at night, when the courts are unused. I entered the court with my family and my little sausage dog (dachsund) and we started throwing a tennis ball around for the dog to chase.

Immediately, condo management comes to throw me out. First, they assume that I must not have reserved the court. When that failed, they said that they didn't like that I wasn't "playing tennis". Finally, they complained about the dog.

I refused to leave until they could show me a rule I was violating. They eventually (after a lot of screaming, they threatening me with the police, and my complaining about the poor condition of the courts and entire complex) brought out the rule book, and still couldn't find a rule that I was breaking. Still, they insisted that I couldn't use the courts, because they didn't like it. They wouldn't even refund my $2 reservation fee.

So my question is, given the fact that I rent at the condo, and given the fact that included in that rent is supposed to be use of the facilities, and given the fact that there isn't any rule in the rulebook against dogs on the courts or requiring that someone use a racquet when batting tennis balls back and forth, what are my rights to the facilities and what can I do to enforce them?

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Re: Use of condo facilities?

Postby AngMoG » Fri, 26 Apr 2013 10:48 am

vanyali wrote:I have a lease at the Cote D'Azur condo by Parkway Parade. This condo has three tennis courts. Residents pay $2/hour to the office to reserve court time to use the courts. The rest of the time they are padlocked.

Earlier this week, I reserved time on the court late at night, when the courts are unused. I entered the court with my family and my little sausage dog (dachsund) and we started throwing a tennis ball around for the dog to chase.


Chasing a dog (of whatever kind) around the tennis court (in whatever state) with a ball is not intended use of the tennis court. There is probably also no rule against BBQing there, or against sunbathing, but most likely management would frown on that, too.

tl;dr the management is right to chase you out, and if you want to play with your dog, use a park that allows it.

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Re: Use of condo facilities?

Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 26 Apr 2013 2:38 pm

vanyali wrote:Hello, I have a question on the use of condo facilities by tenants:

I have a lease at the Cote D'Azur condo by Parkway Parade. This condo has three tennis courts. Residents pay $2/hour to the office to reserve court time to use the courts. The rest of the time they are padlocked.

Earlier this week, I reserved time on the court late at night, when the courts are unused. I entered the court with my family and my little sausage dog (dachsund) and we started throwing a tennis ball around for the dog to chase.

Immediately, condo management comes to throw me out. First, they assume that I must not have reserved the court. When that failed, they said that they didn't like that I wasn't "playing tennis". Finally, they complained about the dog.

I refused to leave until they could show me a rule I was violating. They eventually (after a lot of screaming, they threatening me with the police, and my complaining about the poor condition of the courts and entire complex) brought out the rule book, and still couldn't find a rule that I was breaking. Still, they insisted that I couldn't use the courts, because they didn't like it. They wouldn't even refund my $2 reservation fee.

So my question is, given the fact that I rent at the condo, and given the fact that included in that rent is supposed to be use of the facilities, and given the fact that there isn't any rule in the rulebook against dogs on the courts or requiring that someone use a racquet when batting tennis balls back and forth, what are my rights to the facilities and what can I do to enforce them?


Man, you seem like a "dream" tenant... Do you have problems everywhere you rent?
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