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Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

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x9200
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Postby x9200 » Tue, 18 Jun 2013 6:45 pm

I'm having a deja vu.... ap10046, could you please explain why are you writing from India?

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ap10046
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Postby ap10046 » Tue, 18 Jun 2013 6:47 pm

x9200 wrote:I'm having a deja vu.... ap10046, could you please explain why are you writing from India?

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...because that's where I am, getting bombarded with emails/calls

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 18 Jun 2013 7:36 pm

It's actually not the first time I've heard of this happening. Bring in an IT prorammer/designer/DBA, get him to sort out the problem asap and then let 'em go. Not much anybody can do about it other than spread the word on the errant employer.

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Re: Rental Termination

Postby Wd40 » Tue, 18 Jun 2013 8:56 pm

ap10046 wrote:Hi all.
My first post here.
Would greatly appreciate all advice.

I was awarded a good position in Singapore in April.
After all the formalities, etc were concluded, I rented out a really, really nice 2 bed condo on the East Coast.
Needless to say, I paid the full brokerage, stamp duty, "good-will" and 2 month's security deposit.

Exactly a month later, my employer calls me to the office and says, things aren't working out as he had planned and that I should deposit my EP, my contract stands terminated and here's a ticket back. Well, it was during the probationary period, so I got no severance, no relocation, nothing and I got left severely short-changed on many other things which I will not get into, and I can least afford to lose.

Shock, would be an absolute understatement. I was flabbergasted!
I had very little time and no choice, but to return home.

Now, naturally I contacted my brokers/agents and requested them for assistance in the matter and they were of no help whatsoever.
So I contacted the owner directly and honestly explained the situation.
He has asked me to pay the current month's unoccupied rent, which I cannot afford anymore, and then will get back to me later..I don't know what to do or what to expect..I know I am most probably going to lose my deposit..but is there any way this may be recovered?


Feel sorry for you. I have heard similar cases before. I know its a terrible terrible feeling. Most cases this happens with cheapo companies or vendors companies, even though the client place may be a big bank or something. Sometimes its a 2 or 3 level subcontract. You must be very very careful with those types.

In my case, I came here 4 years ago, but I made sure I hedge myself as much as possible. For one, I didnt bring my family here until 3 months of settling into the job and becoming sure that I can last. I just rented a common room and absolutely no contracts whatsoever for those 3 months and I knew a person already in the bank, so I knew I was not dealing with some shady people, yet, it was my own ability to perform that was my concern.

The thing is when you come from a country like India, you tend to trust people from other developed countries. Big mistake. Never trust anyone. Singapore SME employers, Landlords; never ever ever.

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Re: Landord not returning deposit

Postby angrytenant » Mon, 02 Sep 2013 7:22 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.


An update from my side. Finally after about 5 months, I have received the deposit back minus a nominal amount. I pressured my ex-employer to deal with the landlord and they in turn appointed a mediator to deal with this rouge landlord. After much back and forth he returned the deposit to my employer and the employer to me.

I am indeed thankful to many of you who supported me in those distressing times and provided helpful suggestions. Good Luck.

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Postby jshi » Tue, 10 Sep 2013 1:53 pm

After reading all these accounts and having already lived in SG for 4 yrs under a landlord who is turning out to be incredibly difficult, we've decided to move into a condo that is owned and management by a corporation. No individual landlord. They seem to offer much less hassle. I went by the unit today and their workers are testing all the appliance and fixtures to make sure they are working. Then a professional cleaning crew is coming in to clean the whole unit, top to bottom, including inside all the cabinets, drawers and closets.

If the SG RE market continues to cool, I hope more developers will just turn their buildings into rental only projects. These individual landlords are a fracking nightmare.
awww shi....!

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 10 Sep 2013 2:51 pm

Wait till you get to the point you would like to change some clauses in your TA and share here how flexible was your corporate LL and whether you managed to change anything.

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Postby Wd40 » Tue, 10 Sep 2013 3:02 pm

I would imagine corporate LLs are better. The JTC for example had a 2 month notice period to break the tenancy, no deductions. One of my colleagues rented a HDB from a corporate client, not the JTC, but some other developer, they too had easy early break clauses.

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Postby PrimroseHill » Tue, 17 Sep 2013 9:18 am

I wished that I knew about corporate LL. In UK, tenants have all the rights and LL practically none.
Here, LL have all the rights. Nightmare. After more than 3 months of wrangling I finally managed to get our deposit back minus $1500. In the end, I had enough and succumb. Life is too short.

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Postby katbh » Tue, 17 Sep 2013 9:30 am

Yes, corporate or government landlords are the best. Living in B&W houses is so easy (this was before the nutty rent they go for now). The landlord was so easy and accommodating - but then again, in a B&W you as tenant are responsible for everything inside and in those days they did not come with kitchens or bathrooms - you had to put these in yourself. But they were always good with notice, breaking leasing, doing work between leases.
Also large corporate landlords are good - because they play everything by the rules and can not afford to act badly for their corporate reputation. Not so sure about the smaller corporates though.
Private landlords (apart from my current one who so far has been great) are a greedy lot who not only act as if everything they do has no repercussions but unfortunately, have the might of the law behind them.
Here landlord/tenant is seen ONLY from the business point of view. The LL do not even consider the personal implications that this is someones HOME. To the LL it may as well be a concrete box that is interchangeable with another concrete box.

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Re: Landord not returning deposit

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 17 Sep 2013 9:46 am

angrytenant wrote:
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.


An update from my side. Finally after about 5 months, I have received the deposit back minus a nominal amount. I pressured my ex-employer to deal with the landlord and they in turn appointed a mediator to deal with this rouge landlord. After much back and forth he returned the deposit to my employer and the employer to me.

I am indeed thankful to many of you who supported me in those distressing times and provided helpful suggestions. Good Luck.


Could you give us (the forum) some details on who the mediator was?

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Postby sjiyndg » Sat, 26 Oct 2013 12:23 am

Hi there,

looking for some serious advice. my female friend lives with 2 other girls in a shared apartment and they advised me the landlord recently installed a CCT camera inside the apartment facing INTO the common room. The landlord said this was for security, but then why not facing the external door and why does he need a real time live feed direct to him?

Also they noticed the other night that when they moved to another point in the room the camera would move to point at them and hold there. this really freaked and creeped them out totally. Obviously the landlord is just sat there at home watching them... Now they just dont want to go into the common area.

It is necessary for them to walk through the common room area to go to the bathroom and so now they have to be extra vigilant on their clothing when having a shower. They feel like their privacy is totally invaded and completely uncomfortable while in their own apartment. she also told the landlord will stroll in at any time of day or night using his key and not knocking. she was once nearly caught out in a relative state of undress. From the sound of it I suspect this is why he does it...

There is other stuff as well as he basically bullys them about small stuff like telling them not to leave their shoes at the door but they must be taken inside and put in a show rack. small stuff I know but he has no right to be telling them how to live if it is not materially affecting his apartment

The girls are from Japan and Korea and do not want to kick up a fuss for fear of losing their deposit.

Is there something they can do?

This cannot be legally, well at least morally right? They are genuinely concerned that this guy is making tapes of them ...

Is there someone they can talk with ?

Any advice / guidance much appreciated, thinking more along the lines of official / legal advice.

Many Thanks

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Postby beppi » Sat, 26 Oct 2013 4:45 am

I think they should move to a more reasonable place as soon as possible!
Alternatively, change the lock and accidentally destroy the camera.
They won't get the deposit back in any case, with such a landlord, no matter what they do.

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 26 Oct 2013 7:06 am

If the landlord (LL) is a male go to the police and ask for help. This sounds like may fall under Singapore favorite "outrage of modesty". If so, the police will likely act. Alternatively give the LL an ultimatum demanding to remove the camera.

If the LL is a female you still have IMO a valid point but the best you can do is move out (if she does not agree to remove the camera) and sue her later in small claim tribunal (search it within this forum) if she refuses to return the deposit.

The bottom line is, you should find another place (sooner or later). Unlikely you will be able to trust the LL again and even if the camera is removed who knows what is or will be there that you may not be aware of.

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 26 Oct 2013 9:55 am

As mentioned above, go and have a chat with the police about the legality of this situation. There could be an ‘outrage of modesty’ issue here. Don’t damage the camera, but just put a plastic bag over it.

Change the barrel on the front door lock, and ‘forget’ to give a copy to the landlord for a month or two. Changing a lock barrel is not expensive. That’ll give you some breathing space. Keep the old barrel and keys, so you can re-install it, if needs be, before you leave.

A non-resident landlord cannot just walk into a let property, they have to give ‘reasonable notice’. They also cannot interrupt a tenant’s ‘Quiet Enjoyment’* by for example:
- installing internal CCTV
- visiting without an agreed appointment, except in the case of an emergency (> fire, flood, etc)
- visiting frequently, for no good reason
- dictating in what way the tenants must occupy and use their home (example: re: the shoes you mention).

I tend to agree with a previous poster; with a LL like this it is likely the deposit is not going to be returned. So you might consider not paying the last months rent. [I don’t encourage this, as two wrongs don’t make a right, but it is something to consider].

Lastly, they need to find another place, as it sounds as if all and any goodwill has gone.


* aka ‘peaceable (peaceful) occupation’ of a property. This is not just concerning noise, it concerns undue interference and interruption.


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