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Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby x9200 » Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:59 am

jindalritesh1026 wrote:
JR8 wrote:
jindalritesh1026 wrote:Hi,
Need help regarding transfer of main tenancy. I wanna move out of my current house because of personal reasons. Currently I am the main tenant of the house and have already found a replacement who is ready to take over the main tenancy. But the problem is the owner wants me to do all the procedure in the HDB.
Could you please guide me with this. I even tried to find stuff on HDB WebInfo but couldn`t crack it. Has anyone faced such an issue before? Please help!!!


How did you sign your current TA, did you visit the HDB with the landlord, and if so what happened/what was their involvement? I ask as as long as the landlord has permission from the HDB to let the flat, then I cannot see why or how they are further involved.

Unless the LL has to provide the HDB with a copy of the revised TA (which might well be a requirement, I don't know), but can't it just be posted to them? My gut feeling is that perhaps he's a bit out of his depth and he somehow wants the security of the HDB 'officiating' over this amendment.

Perhaps you can ask him what the role of the HDB is in this. Of course you could also call and ask them. I wouldn't be surprised if their answer might be along the lines of 'Don't come here, we can't help you'.


Hey thanks for the reply. There was an agent involved and the owner herself went to HDB later for registration (this is what the agent told me). Now the agent is not responding to me. He doesn`t pick up my call nor replies to my messages. I did call the HDB and they said that the owner should come to us and we will do it. When I did told the owner she says you get the procedure done and i`ll just sign wherever you want me to.

Now I am in a very bad stage and don`t understand what to do at all.


1. Call HDB again
2. Ask them what (i.e. what documents) should be prepared before coming over
3a. If some specific forms, ask them how to get them, get them and fill them in
3b. If only new TA, write it (copy from your old one replacing the specific data related to new tenant and the terms).
3c. If nothing, do nothing
4. Take your LL to HDB

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby SinExpat135 » Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:48 pm

Hi Singapore expats,

I have a dispute with my landlord and I would like to know your opinion.
I rent a condo with a 2 year contract. But I lost my job so I need to leave Singapore. I'm making use of the diplomatic clause, so at the end of the month is going to be the first year plus the 2 month notice (total of 14 months renting the condo unit).
The landlord is asking me to pay the prorate of the agent fees (which are the remaining 10 months out of 24 months) - as far as I know this seem to be a common practice in Singapore, however for what my tenant agreement says I am not sure it should be my case.
I've ask my agent, and he said my TA is not the common one and he also thinks I shouldn't pay.
However, the landlord agent doesn't want to reply or give any information.

I post here the two clauses in my TA:
REIMBUSE FOR PREMATURE TERMINATION:
"If the Tenant is in breach of any clause and / or terminates this tenancy prematurely, then the Landlord shall be entitles to deduct such reimbursement from the security deposit held by the Landlord under Clause 2."

DIPLOMATIC CLAUSE
"Notwithstanding anything herein contained, if at any time after the expiration of twelve (12) months from the date of the commencement of this tenancy, the immediate occupant of the said premises, Mr (myself) shall be transferred out of the Republic of Singapore permanently by his firm, ceased to be employed by the Tenant or if for any cause whatsoever he shall be ordered to leave the Republic of Singapore, then and in such case, it shall be lawful for the Tenant to determine this tenancy by giving no less than two (02) months advance notice (this is in addition to the twelve (12) months aforesaid) in writing to the Landlord or by paying two (02) months' rent in lieu of such notice. Documentary evidence of such transfer, cessation or order shall be required and such notice shall be deemed to have commenced on such date as the Landlord shall have actually received such evidence."

To my understanding, the diplomatic clause terminates the contract rather breaking it. Also there is no compensation mentioned in the diplomatic clause section.
The situation is very frustrating because nobody is able to explain this properly and my agent suggested me to hire a lawyer but I would like to know if I am right (at all) and if someone faced a similar situation before.

Thanks a lot!!!

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby PNGMK » Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:19 am

SinExpat135 wrote:Hi Singapore expats,

I have a dispute with my landlord and I would like to know your opinion.
I rent a condo with a 2 year contract. But I lost my job so I need to leave Singapore. I'm making use of the diplomatic clause, so at the end of the month is going to be the first year plus the 2 month notice (total of 14 months renting the condo unit).
The landlord is asking me to pay the prorate of the agent fees (which are the remaining 10 months out of 24 months) - as far as I know this seem to be a common practice in Singapore, however for what my tenant agreement says I am not sure it should be my case.
I've ask my agent, and he said my TA is not the common one and he also thinks I shouldn't pay.
However, the landlord agent doesn't want to reply or give any information.

I post here the two clauses in my TA:
REIMBUSE FOR PREMATURE TERMINATION:
"If the Tenant is in breach of any clause and / or terminates this tenancy prematurely, then the Landlord shall be entitles to deduct such reimbursement from the security deposit held by the Landlord under Clause 2."

DIPLOMATIC CLAUSE
"Notwithstanding anything herein contained, if at any time after the expiration of twelve (12) months from the date of the commencement of this tenancy, the immediate occupant of the said premises, Mr (myself) shall be transferred out of the Republic of Singapore permanently by his firm, ceased to be employed by the Tenant or if for any cause whatsoever he shall be ordered to leave the Republic of Singapore, then and in such case, it shall be lawful for the Tenant to determine this tenancy by giving no less than two (02) months advance notice (this is in addition to the twelve (12) months aforesaid) in writing to the Landlord or by paying two (02) months' rent in lieu of such notice. Documentary evidence of such transfer, cessation or order shall be required and such notice shall be deemed to have commenced on such date as the Landlord shall have actually received such evidence."

To my understanding, the diplomatic clause terminates the contract rather breaking it. Also there is no compensation mentioned in the diplomatic clause section.
The situation is very frustrating because nobody is able to explain this properly and my agent suggested me to hire a lawyer but I would like to know if I am right (at all) and if someone faced a similar situation before.

Thanks a lot!!!



If it's not int the TA, refuse to pay. The SCT should back you up on this.
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby JR8 » Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:48 am

Sorry to hear this all too familiar tale played out yet again.
It is regrettable that an ‘efficient’ country such as Singapore doesn’t have a standard ‘National’ template Tenancy Agreement, to which clauses could be added, amended, or removed with mutual agreement between the parties. That would avoid so many of these kinds of disputes that serve to drag the image of renting in Singapore into the gutter.

My instinctive feel (feel not fact, as I’m not a lawyer) is that what ever arrangement or contract the landlord entered into with the agent is the concern of the involved/bound parties, i.e. the landlord and agent, and not you. You are not bound by a contract to which you are not a party.

So, on what basis does the landlord claim that you are liable to pay *his* agents fees?

>>> I've ask my agent, and he said my TA is not the common one and he also thinks I shouldn't pay.
--- You should press him further to explain why.

>>>However, the landlord agent doesn't want to reply or give any information.
--- Well, that’s to be expected. He’s the LLs agent and not yours, nor answerable to you. NOTE: the irony of his agent not speaking to you, BUT you are now being asked to indirectly pay him. How can that circle be squared?

>>>REIMBUSE FOR PREMATURE TERMINATION: "If the Tenant is in breach of any clause and / or terminates this tenancy prematurely, then the Landlord shall be entitles to deduct such reimbursement from the security deposit held by the Landlord under Clause 2."
--- ‘Such reimbursement’ of what? As it stands I can’t see that clause holds any weight.

>>> DIPLOMATIC CLAUSE "Notwithstanding anything herein contained, if at any time after the expiration of twelve (12) months from the date of the commencement of this tenancy, the immediate occupant of the said premises, Mr (myself) shall be transferred out of the Republic of Singapore permanently by his firm, ceased to be employed by the Tenant or

--- Makes no sense. You, the tenant, cease to be employed by er, you the tenant...?

>>> To my understanding, the diplomatic clause terminates the contract rather breaking it. Also there is no compensation mentioned in the diplomatic clause section.
The situation is very frustrating because nobody is able to explain this properly and my agent suggested me to hire a lawyer but I would like to know if I am right (at all) and if someone faced a similar situation before.


If it is your landlord suggesting he withhold your money for a liability, then it is down to him to explain and justify it, not the other way around.
But this is a situation we see played out time and time again.
- Tenant leaves.
- Landlord does his best to screw him over, knowing that’s he’s not going to be long enough to pursue it via legal channels.


In circumstances like these, I really see why some tenants leave and simply stop paying their final rents. It is not right, but maybe it’s to be expected when so many tenants here get lined up like ducks to the slaughter... and there is so little that they can do about it.

Maybe you could ask him why you’re liable to pay his agent commission. What contract to which you are a party binds you to this obligation. He won’t have an answer, and you better proceed within the expectation that you’re not going to see a cent of your deposit back... It’s really sad to say that, but too often it’s simply true.


---------
From a weekly news round-up e-mail I received from the National Landlords Association in the UK just last night, the Chairman’s comment:
‘Whatever size our portfolio, from just 1 to 1000, we are offering a service to a customer in return for reward and we underestimate the significance of that at our peril. If we don’t operate in a business-like manner, with the right paperwork, good customer relationships and one eye kept firmly on the profit margin we are setting ourselves up to fail.’
---------

Sadly too many SGn landlords don't seem to consider their business in a similar way...
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby SinExpat135 » Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:34 pm

Thanks a lot PNGMK and JR8 for your answers! Much appreciated.
Quick question, SCT stands for 'The State Courts'?

JR8, I'm not sure what you mean by this:
--- Well, that’s to be expected. He’s the LLs agent and not yours, nor answerable to you. NOTE: the irony of his agent not speaking to you, BUT you are now being asked to indirectly pay him. How can that circle be squared?

Also, I would like to ask your opinion again, it really helps!
The 14 months of contract in my flat (with diplomatic clause and two months notice) ends the 31st of December of 2014. However on the 20th I need to leave Singapore since the extension of my visa terminates by then.
My intention is to re-enter Singapore with a tourist visa since I want to stay in Singapore for the following 3 months (or the duration of the tourist visa).
Now, I've just received an e-mail from the LL agent asking me to send him a copy of my extension visa, which makes me feel very concerned.
If the extension of the visa ends on the 20th and after that I'm going to be a tourist, but my TA ends on the 31st - can the LL quick me out of the flat on the 20th? if that is the cause, can I ask for a refund of the days I already paid (from 21st to 31st)? Is there any protection on this I can have?

Sorry for asking so many things, but I'm really desperate and frustrated about this matter. I've rented places in a few countries before and I never faced such situation. I've called to Singapore government but they say they can't provide any advice?? :(

Thanks a lot again for your help!

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 17 Dec 2014 1:02 pm

If you apply for and get an extension visa, the landlord has every right to demand compensation for the additional time you are in Singapore I would think, as the dip clause is assuming you have to leave Singapore immediately. If you come back in on a tourist visa for another 90 days, then you exercised the dipclause erroneously to my way of thinking. The fact that you cannot stay there as you won't be here in a residency capacity would be of no concern to the LL, but the fact that you had no intentions of returning to your country and invoking the Dip Clause would be of concern. I'm not a legal beagle so I don't know for sure, but it sure sounds like you are trying to pull a fast one.

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby PNGMK » Thu, 18 Dec 2014 9:33 am

SCT = small claims tribunal.
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby JR8 » Thu, 18 Dec 2014 1:36 pm

SinExpat135 wrote:JR8, I'm not sure what you mean by this:
--- Well, that’s to be expected. He’s the LLs agent and not yours, nor answerable to you. NOTE: the irony of his agent not speaking to you, BUT you are now being asked to indirectly pay him. How can that circle be squared?


I meant that in this kind of situation you have 'your' agent, and the LL has his. It's like hiring lawyers and going to court, they only represent the person who hired them. You can't lean over the courtroom dock and expect advice from your opponents lawyer. That is why he 'refuses' to speak to you. Hence why you cannot be expected to fund someone who represents the landlord, and very specifically NOT you.

SinExpat135 wrote:The 14 months of contract in my flat (with diplomatic clause and two months notice) ends the 31st of December of 2014. However on the 20th I need to leave Singapore since the extension of my visa terminates by then.
My intention is to re-enter Singapore with a tourist visa since I want to stay in Singapore for the following 3 months (or the duration of the tourist visa).
Now, I've just received an e-mail from the LL agent asking me to send him a copy of my extension visa, which makes me feel very concerned.
If the extension of the visa ends on the 20th and after that I'm going to be a tourist, but my TA ends on the 31st - can the LL quick me out of the flat on the 20th? if that is the cause, can I ask for a refund of the days I already paid (from 21st to 31st)? Is there any protection on this I can have?


This has all the prelim hallmarks of the landlord readying to screw you on your deposit.
How does the landlords agent know your employment visa has expired?
If the landlord terminates you, then he has to refund rent paid for the later period. But odds on (knowing how some LLs here operate), he'll simply try and screw you on it instead.

edit: typo
Last edited by JR8 on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby x9200 » Thu, 18 Dec 2014 1:57 pm

Just speculating....
He may be liable based on general civil law (statutes). Let's consider this: TA is just a document with additional regulations based on the underlying law and within this law limits. It is not all inclusive documents. Unless there is something specific to the tenancy, this law provides a mechanizm to compensate for damages. Now, the situation would be clear if the TA contained a clause that after the lawful termination of the contract the tenant's liabilities are limited to this, this and that but there is nothing like this in a typical TA. TA cares about what to do with the deposit because this is not the money belonging to the LL (so s/he has no legal power over it) but IMHO TA never by default limits liability.

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby carolynililan » Fri, 19 Dec 2014 3:53 pm

need urgent help from professionals.

i have been renting a room (in landed house) from the main tenant who rent from the landlord.
<as far as i am understood, i found that it is actually legal if you rent from subletting "landlord" for more than 6 months->according to URA>

upon signing the TA with this main tenant (on June 1st), i only signed 6 months minimum n can give 1 month notice after 6 months is fulfilled. and i gave 2 months rent deposit as she requested. <we signed with rent is inclusive of PUB>

total 7 people moved in this landed house at the same time, 3 couples + the main tenant.
in November, 1 couple moved out, in December another couple moved out. from what i understood right now.
both of ex-tenants, have not taken their 2 months deposit back yet!!! the main tenant claimed she has cash flow issue, moreover, we also found out she kept on having outstanding PUB bills and starhub bills.

I gave my notice in Early November to tell that my move out day will be in end of January (i have completed my 6 months already, and this is 2 months notice), since i have 2 months deposit with her, i told her i am not going to pay last month's rent, so she only needs to pay me 1 month deposit back upon move out date.
she never replied my notice email until yesterday, which is mid december already, to tell me i cannot use my deposit to cover my rent, threatening me if i dont pay in 7 days i will be evicted.

I haven't told her i know her financial problems and i also have decide that i will go to court if she doesnt pay me back deposit. what i want is that i don't want to have 2 months deposit in her hand without knowing when she can pay me back. i'd rahter have 1 month deposit with her.

i need help on
1. does this "main tenant" have the right to change the lock or ask me to leave? in law, is she a landlord or just a tenant?
2. in general, is it actually legal or do-able to use 1 month deposit as rent?? (consider i actually gave her 2 months)
3. i have the proof of the place i am living at being posted on . with fake address by a licensed agent in Sept. which this property isn't the main tenant's property at all. will this work if i threaten to report to the government?
4. i also have the proof of the main tenant rent the place to random people for short term like 1 month only....can this fact help anything?

appreciate with anyone's reply! thank you

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby beppi » Fri, 19 Dec 2014 4:10 pm

1. She can ask you to leave, but it will take longer than you are planning to stay to enforce.
2. Legally speaking, no, you can't. But this is nevertheless quite common practise. I'd recommend you move on and forget about your one month deposit loss, as it will be too difficult to recover.
3.+4. This has no relevance to your case.

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby carolynililan » Fri, 19 Dec 2014 4:18 pm

beppi wrote:1. She can ask you to leave, but it will take longer than you are planning to stay to enforce.
2. Legally speaking, no, you can't. But this is nevertheless quite common practise. I'd recommend you move on and forget about your one month deposit loss, as it will be too difficult to recover.
3.+4. This has no relevance to your case.


hello thanks for your reply.
however, technically, i have a high chance to lose "2 months deposit" if she doesnt let me use up my 1 month rental. are you saying i might as well just go to small claim after this?

for the 3 and 4. if i get to expose her illegal acts, can i not get the real landlord to do something?
if he is the owner of the house, no way i can use this against her? what will happen to her if i do so..

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby beppi » Fri, 19 Dec 2014 4:31 pm

My recommendation (even if not entirely legal): Just sit it out and not pay the last month rent until you move out. That way you lose one month deposit (plus a few potentially uncomfortable weeks).
Forget about SCT and other legal actions: If she has no money, you will not get anything (and only generate costs, which you'll have to bear).
You can of course inform the main landlord out of revenge. The result can range from nothing (he doesn't bother) to immediate termination and eviction for all inhabitants. There is no personal advantage you can gain from any of this (other than satisfaction of having made somebody's life even more miserable). I would not waste my time here.

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby x9200 » Fri, 19 Dec 2014 5:24 pm

Just some comments...

beppi wrote:1. She can ask you to leave, but it will take longer than you are planning to stay to enforce.

All TA I have seen so far had a clause that if the rent remained unpaid for 7-14 days the LL or her representatives could enter the premisses, so it may take not that long time do it and I think it will be legally justified.

beppi wrote:2. Legally speaking, no, you can't. But this is nevertheless quite common practise. I'd recommend you move on and forget about your one month deposit loss, as it will be too difficult to recover.

"Legality" (not adhering to the TA to be more correct), depends on the TA, but majority of TA indeed include a clause that the deposit could not be utilized to cover the rent. Check this out with yours, maybe you will be that lucky to have it missing (I doubt).

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby carolynililan » Fri, 19 Dec 2014 6:56 pm

x9200 wrote:Just some comments...

beppi wrote:1. She can ask you to leave, but it will take longer than you are planning to stay to enforce.

All TA I have seen so far had a clause that if the rent remained unpaid for 7-14 days the LL or her representatives could enter the premisses, so it may take not that long time do it and I think it will be legally justified.
on my TA, it has in case of non-payment of rental....blah blah blah, doesnt mention days.
but that's why, i wonder if she serves as a "landlord" here and is allowed to take my possession?

beppi wrote:2. Legally speaking, no, you can't. But this is nevertheless quite common practise. I'd recommend you move on and forget about your one month deposit loss, as it will be too difficult to recover.

"Legality" (not adhering to the TA to be more correct), depends on the TA, but majority of TA indeed include a clause that the deposit could not be utilized to cover the rent. Check this out with yours, maybe you will be that lucky to have it missing (I doubt).


as my TA is the most most simple one, mine doesn't have a clause that the deposit couldnt not be utilized to cover the rent...my TA, basically its a TA (a generic one between "LANDLORD" and "the tenant", in it some of the clause mentioned agent too...)


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