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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 » Thu, 19 Mar 2015 5:07 pm

Yes, mostly for that reason but also to appear more serious. People don't consider emails seriously. If you can write the letter in some semi-legal style it may have some additional effects. Yes, I know it sounds sort of funny but from my experience it often works.

Generally, because you can not do too much (as you fundamentally disagree with the LL's demands) you should try to act reasonably and have a proof of it. Once you are done with it, it will be the LL's turn to respond and his problem what to do with it.

As I said, I don't really think there is any significant risk of the LL taking any legal action but if you want to be covered in case he does something over this line, then just have a proof that you showed good will and acted reasonably trying to solve the issues.

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

Postby joiedevivre22 » Thu, 19 Mar 2015 5:43 pm

For some of your issues, you may consider the following: if the damage is small it is unreasonable to demand the repair (de facto replacement) of the whole item. E.g., a small dent in the parquet should not be a reason for sanding off the whole place. But such defects may require some compensation (propose some adequate amount of money).
If you think some total repairs/replacement may be justified, find out some SG based contractors and ask them for quotations. If much cheaper, include them to the letter as some evidence supporting your stand points.[/quote]

Thank you. Any specific reason why registered mail is better than email?[/quote]

Because it can show proof of receipt.[/quote]

OK, once he gets back with the final bills ( his current one stands at $6750 + $900), I will do that. He has mentioned that he will reduce the amount, but frankly, I expect him to ask us at least another $2K. If we don't agree to pay, he will surely threaten to get it from us legally. This is a bit of a bummer to him because he cannot legally 'sue' me. I am not the contract holder. In the country I come from, this automatically puts him on a legal disadvantage and any lawyer worth his salt will advise him against taking it any further. But, SG might have different rules and a 'occupant' can probably be sued. No idea, though.

Pardon me for the ultra silly question. Is it okay if he knows where I live now?

I would hate a legal suit. My present agent advised me not to share where we live as he may use it against us. We had a delivery of curtains from dry cleaning after we moved out and she advises us to drop it at the old place than have it delivered to my place! Made little sense, but we agreed as it was easier anyway.

On a side note ( and since this is an expats forum) - is it this common to hear statements like - you will be sued or i'll take legal action etc to get things done here? I have lived here for last 5 years ( studied as well) and been hearing this only off late.

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

Postby x9200 » Thu, 19 Mar 2015 6:52 pm

joiedevivre22 wrote:OK, once he gets back with the final bills ( his current one stands at $6750 + $900), I will do that. He has mentioned that he will reduce the amount, but frankly, I expect him to ask us at least another $2K. If we don't agree to pay, he will surely threaten to get it from us legally. This is a bit of a bummer to him because he cannot legally 'sue' me. I am not the contract holder. In the country I come from, this automatically puts him on a legal disadvantage and any lawyer worth his salt will advise him against taking it any further. But, SG might have different rules and a 'occupant' can probably be sued. No idea, though.

I overlooked this part. I believe it is the same in Singapore (so you are not a party of the legal agreement). So what was the legal ground for you to live there? Verbal agreement? Did the LL formally agreed for you to stay there?
If you are not a legal party of the TA would you be comfortable responding to the LL that you are not a legal party of the TA and his demands directed to you have no legal ground? Obviously I am asking about your relation to the formal tenant or whether the main tenant would be ok with you doing this.

Pardon me for the ultra silly question. Is it okay if he knows where I live now?

It's not a silly question. I don't know. On one hand, providing the address means you are open, fair and willing to solve the problem, on the other hand it makes you more vulnerable and may encourage the LL to take some actions. Would it be easy for the LL to determine your address if you are not going to provide it?

I would hate a legal suit. My present agent advised me not to share where we live as he may use it against us. We had a delivery of curtains from dry cleaning after we moved out and she advises us to drop it at the old place than have it delivered to my place! Made little sense, but we agreed as it was easier anyway.

IIRC we had one case described on this forum where the tenant had troubles suing the LL because the LL did not provide the address. It was in the Small Claim Tribunal IIRC.


On a side note ( and since this is an expats forum) - is it this common to hear statements like - you will be sued or i'll take legal action etc to get things done here? I have lived here for last 5 years ( studied as well) and been hearing this only off late.

I think it is pretty common.

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

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 19 Mar 2015 9:24 pm

As you are not the contract holder, the T&A is in somebody else name, correct? So who paid the deposits? The original occupant? If so, why do you need to worry about the deposits in the first place? Did you pay them or did the original occupant pay them. If you reimbursed the original occupant for the deposits, the way I see it is the LL needs to go after the signatory to the T&A and then the Signatory needs to come after you. If you have no agreement with the LL directly, I don't see what the problem is. The LL doesn't own you anything anyway. Nor are you obligated to him as far as I can see, if there is not a T&A signed between the two of you. :-k

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

Postby joiedevivre22 » Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:21 am

I am a legal occupant. We are a group of friends who have rented a apartment together. I was on the TA as the main tenant for two years and in this present recontract, the agent suggested we have it in another name and we had it in my friend's name. My name and others are still listed as legal occupants . From the beginning, I have been the point of contact from the owner's end.

The deposit money is split amongst us based on the rooms we have chosen to take. I took a common room to myself and paid around 1000 dollars as the deposit. So of the 3200, my share is around that. We are all friends and there is no legal document amongst us. Have known each other for years now. The person on whose name the contract is has left singapore. She and never met the owner. As I was in town and still am, I handle all the communications

I am not obligated to him at all. My concern was to check if there is a possibility to recover the deposits but now it seems like there isn't. Though it's a blow, as the actual loss is shared, we have to come to terms with losing it. His emails to ask more seem a bit unwanted and hence my query on the legal bit.

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

Postby the lynx » Fri, 20 Mar 2015 9:24 am

x9200 wrote:
joiedevivre22 wrote:I would hate a legal suit. My present agent advised me not to share where we live as he may use it against us. We had a delivery of curtains from dry cleaning after we moved out and she advises us to drop it at the old place than have it delivered to my place! Made little sense, but we agreed as it was easier anyway.

IIRC we had one case described on this forum where the tenant had troubles suing the LL because the LL did not provide the address. It was in the Small Claim Tribunal IIRC.


In this particular case, the LL gave only a PO Box address and it is not admissible for Small Claims Tribunal. So OP, make sure it is a valid address, not a PO Box address.

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

Postby x9200 » Fri, 20 Mar 2015 6:42 pm

Joiedevivre, to recover the deposit you would need to go roughly the same way as the LL to get any money out of your pocket:
1. you would need to sue him and the cheapest and fastest way is in the mentioned SCT (cost you mostly time and traveling expenses)
2. After the ruling is in you favor but the LL is still not going to pay, you would need to get a writ of execution with an enforcement clause
3. with it you go to a bailiff and bailiffs don't work for free
4. IIRC you would need to help the bailiff to point to some assets of the LL the bailiff could use to recover your money - don't count on the bailiff selling the HDB flat to recover your 3k deposit.
To make this story short, if the LL shows no good will you will very very unlikely recover the full deposit (taking into account all the costs you incurred in the meantime). It only make sense if you want to prove some principles.

So getting to your initial question, if the main tenant is fine with this approach, just tell the LL to back off as he has no legal ground to direct his demands to you. Do not provide your new address in this case.

If you still want to try to solve this problem, just offer something you think is reasonable and if the LL accepts this, let him have it after signing a document where he declares that he accept this amount and will have no further demands etc etc. (from all of you including the actual tenant). After you tell the LL that you are not a legal party of the agreement he may be more flexible in his demands.

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

Postby joiedevivre22 » Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:40 am

It went from bad to worse.

While we are still discussing if there is a possibility of recovering the deposit, the LL called me yesterday to ask for 'more'!

He said the quote cant be reduced and he will pitch in some and we should be ready to fork out more. I wish I can post the whole quote here, but I hate to defame them or get into more issues in the process. Anyway, I calmly told him we are not ready to pay more and that the deposit is more than sufficient to cover whatever he says is bad. I also added to say that the house was really not that bad ( if it was, how are tenants living there now) and that he need not replace an entire wall for a chip off etc. He 'screamed' back at how the dining table is broken ( correction - two chairs were and we fixed it. the table and 4 other chairs are fine) and how he had to spend 4 days cleaning it along with the cleaners. Such acquisitions followed suit.

I called his quote ridiculous and told him we are not in a position to pay more. He got angry and told he will take it legally. I then told him I am not 'legally' bound as in not the contract holder and the only reason I am doing all this is because I lived there for 2+ years as a occupant.

Conversation went on and at one stage, he got so mad - screamed at for irrelevant things, bought up unnecessary issues like visitors, making noise etc ( apparently, neighbors complained). My brother stayed with me for a month or so and I didn't inform the LL as we were anyway moving out. He has found this out from the neighbors. Honestly, I didn't think it was necessary to do so for I know many people who have such friends staying over. Is this an issue now, after we have moved out?

I have a few questions and will really appreciate help at this stage.

1. Can he sue me legally? As mentioned - I am not on contract. If he does, what can he sue on? Can someone let me know of the exact legal charges he can pull against us? . He doesn't know where I live but does know where I work ( have given IC earlier).

2. We don't need the money but we don't need his calls, mails etc. A lot of my friends are advising me to change my number, block his email id and it's all over. Should I go to this extreme?

3.I was also told by friends to file a case against him for verbal harassment. I don't want to do this, but is it a possibility?

4. Is not informing of an occupant a SERIOUS offence? Can he sue on this ground, after I have moved out?

Is he doing all this just to hold to the deposit? If yes, it is indeed ridiculous when I have already told him he can.

I know this isn't relevant or helpful - but all this is causing way too much stress for me. I am scared, annoyed and feel helpless. After losing close to 4.5K, we are totally lost on what needs to be done for closure. Hell, I am losing sleep over this! His calls were that disturbing.

On another note, I am so tempted and motivated to study law here and start a proper, legal way to help foreigners like me.

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

Postby x9200 » Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:09 pm

joiedevivre22 wrote:1. Can he sue me legally? As mentioned - I am not on contract. If he does, what can he sue on? Can someone let me know of the exact legal charges he can pull against us? . He doesn't know where I live but does know where I work ( have given IC earlier).

Anybody can sue everybody so in principle he can, but if he does it on the TA ground then you are not a party so it should be dismissed. If he does it on a different ground (e.g. property damage), then he would need a proof that it was you who damaged the property and also document the damages and prove the costs of renovation/repairs.
If he goes to your work place and tells there something defamatory he will not be able to prove then he may be in more serious troubles.


2. We don't need the money but we don't need his calls, mails etc. A lot of my friends are advising me to change my number, block his email id and it's all over. Should I go to this extreme?

As long as you are going to talk to him it would make little sense, but once you come to a conclusion that there is not much more that could be done, why not.

3.I was also told by friends to file a case against him for verbal harassment. I don't want to do this, but is it a possibility?

Yes, there is.

4. Is not informing of an occupant a SERIOUS offence? Can he sue on this ground, after I have moved out?

No, it's not an offence at all. It may be just a minor breach of the TA.

Is he doing all this just to hold to the deposit? If yes, it is indeed ridiculous when I have already told him he can.

He is doing it to milk you further.

I know this isn't relevant or helpful - but all this is causing way too much stress for me. I am scared, annoyed and feel helpless. After losing close to 4.5K, we are totally lost on what needs to be done for closure. Hell, I am losing sleep over this! His calls were that disturbing.

On another note, I am so tempted and motivated to study law here and start a proper, legal way to help foreigners like me.

Unless you are going to do it pro bono it will help nobody.
Having said that, there are no lawyers on this forum so if you want to be absolutely sure I suggest you spend $70-150 and visit one for your own piece of mind.


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

Postby joiedevivre22 » Wed, 25 Mar 2015 2:01 pm

Anybody can sue everybody so in principle he can, but if he does it on the TA ground then you are not a party so it should be dismissed. If he does it on a different ground (e.g. property damage), then he would need a proof that it was you who damaged the property and also document the damages and prove the costs of renovation/repairs.
If he goes to your work place and tells there something defamatory he will not be able to prove then he may be in more serious troubles.


OK, I don't see how he can 'prove' I did anything. He has already documented and has the costs of renovation. I think his rates are on par with a new renovation and are not for a repair job. Thanks for clarifying on the work place bit.

Hate to say this - but he probably thinks he can do something and land me out of SG. That's the attitude I have heard from my friends who have had LL issues.

As long as you are going to talk to him it would make little sense, but once you come to a conclusion that there is not much more that could be done, why not.

I'll think of this. Some logistical issues, but possible.

Yes, there is.

This, I will do if he calls once more. I am trying to get in touch with lawyer for a discussion.

No, it's not an offence at all. It may be just a minor breach of the TA.

THANK YOU! I mean, really thank you. The way this was posed made me feel like a illegal immigrant's host.

He is doing it to milk you further.

and he probably thinks I will cave in for more? I do wish he takes it legal or discusses it to someone and someone else knocks sense on this.


Unless you are going to do it pro bono it will help nobody.
Having said that, there are no lawyers on this forum so if you want to be absolutely sure I suggest you spend $70-150 and visit one for your own piece of mind.

[/quote][/quote]

Yes, if at all, it would be pro bono. But that's a long shot! Overall, I think awareness on legal issues among foreigners is poor. There are no legal counsels to help as well ( SPR and citizens have several). There is a severe need for technical support in this area, and I am not a lawyer, so can't do much.

Thank you for your time!

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

Postby TheBigHunt » Sun, 29 Mar 2015 10:17 pm

Hi
I've read lot of pages of this forum and I must admit that I'm quite scared about all these stories...
Anyway, here is why i'm positing here:
I'm in Singapore since a bit more than 3 years now and i've rented already 3 units without having any issue.
The last one, so, the fourth, gives me a bit more pain.
Here is the situation.
I've contracted the lease on the 1st of Oct 2014. It's a 2 years lease with the diplomatic clause.
Unfortunately for me, my company requested my relocation in Europe.
I've informed the LL through the agent (I dont have any phone number of email address of the LL, everything is kept by the LL agent) that i'll leave on the 31 of May 2015 and I asked him the authorisation to find a new tenant to take over. I went more far by offering to topup the rent if the new tenant wanted to rent the flat at a lower price (current 4100SGD).
I've my own agent also.
I've asked to both of them to publish ads and to find new tenant.
Since now two months, several potential tenants visited the appartement but everytime, the LL agent find something to say taht it wont fit the requirement. Because they are indian, or because they have children, or because they want to put a fan (at their charge)...
Last week, a potential tenant did a LOI where she says that she want to replace the shower curtains by glass doors and to put fans in place of light. In the LOI, she doesnt ask for the LL to pay for them and she says that everything will be removed before the end of the lease.
The offer has been rejected by the agent because of "too complex, too much risk".
Even if i'm engage until the end of the month of May, i'll have to leave Singapore mid april.

So, here are my questions:

1) What are the risk to cut and run? (if i comply to the tenant agreement, i would have to pay the 14 months minus the 8 months already payed at the date of the 31 of may = 24600SGD)
2) If i comply to the TA, do I need to pay the full 24600SGD when I leave of do i pay them each month ?
3) Still if I comply to the TA, can i use the 2 months of deposit to pay the last two months (13 and 14th)?
4) I really feel that the LL or at least the Agent are not keen to change the tenant. I can imagine that if they dont find any new tenant, they will get my money and as soon as i'll have left SG, they will rent the flat to get the new rent + my rent. As told before, the LL agent refuse each time it's an indian family or even couple, as soon as they have kids, etc... Is it legal and should i consider to sue the LL / agent for not putting the effort to find a new tenant?
5) If they dont find any tenant before the 31th of may, do I have to pay any agent fees as they didnt find anybody? (I guess no)
6) Let's say I leave SG, and in june, they find a new tenant, do i still need to pay the compensation amount related to the diplomatic clause ?
7) Related to my notice letter, i've written that i will terminate my contract on the 31th of May. As i'll leave mid april, i'll ask to do the exit handover mid april. Normally, they are supposed to give me back my deposit within 2 weeks. If 2 weeks later, I didnt get back my deposit, it means that the landlord is in fault. Can I use this to do not pay the remaining money (like "as you didnt give me back my deposit, i consider that you break the contract that exist between you and me, you are in the illegality, i stop to pay)?
8) Is it normal to do not have the phone number or email to be able to contact the LL ?
9) I don't trust at all into the LL agent. I even think that he didn't submit the last LOI to the LL. He is a chicken and doesnt have any guts. How could i be sure that the LL got the LOI ?

Well, this is a long list of question but as you see, the amount of money is huge and it scares me.
As I'll be traveling to SG several time a year, i dont want to be stopped at the border when i'll come back for several days in a business trip.

Thank you very much for any help.

Regards

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

Postby x9200 » Mon, 30 Mar 2015 9:11 am

I could go point by point but it would not make any good so just general remarks.
1) if your company wants you to relocate they should compensate for any loses related to it - I don't mean there is a law making them do it, but you should have taken care of it before you agreed for such relocation.

2) why do you talk to the LL's agent if you have your own? Why this agent supposed to do anything for you (i.e. looking for the replacement tenant)? Do you have any written agreement with the agent? I am not sure if this is even legal (double representation).

3) at the end of the day it comes down to the pragmatics: who are you going to sue and how are you going to recover anything if you are leaving the country? Are you ready to pay a few S$1k to a lawyer who would act on your behalf once you are left from Singapore?

Overall, if you could prove what you said above from your communication with the LL's agent (agreement to advertise, LOIs rejected etc) I would just send a letter pointing that you had done what is reasonable to prevent the LL from any losses related to you breaching the contract and rejecting the replacement tenants by him was not reasonable. You will lose your deposit and this would likely be the end of the story.

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

Postby TheBigHunt » Mon, 30 Mar 2015 9:24 am

x9200 wrote:I could go point by point but it would not make any good so just general remarks.
1) if your company wants you to relocate they should compensate for any loses related to it - I don't mean there is a law making them do it, but you should have taken care of it before you agreed for such relocation.
Yes i know but it's like that. Let's say that I didn't have the choice.

2) why do you talk to the LL's agent if you have your own? Why this agent supposed to do anything for you (i.e. looking for the replacement tenant)? Do you have any written agreement with the agent? I am not sure if this is even legal (double representation).
No, i dont have any written agreement. I'm talking to the LL agent as i'm in relation with him as he come to do some visits.

3) at the end of the day it comes down to the pragmatics: who are you going to sue and how are you going to recover anything if you are leaving the country? Are you ready to pay a few S$1k to a lawyer who would act on your behalf once you are left from Singapore?
I totally agree and that's why i'm not keen to sue anybody. I know that it's a nightmare if you are not there.

Overall, if you could prove what you said above from your communication with the LL's agent (agreement to advertise, LOIs rejected etc) I would just send a letter pointing that you had done what is reasonable to prevent the LL from any losses related to you breaching the contract and rejecting the replacement tenants by him was not reasonable. You will lose your deposit and this would likely be the end of the story.
Yes, i'll lose my deposit. But my concern is that if we look at the TA, then i'm obliged to pay the rent until the 12+2 months. The LL can sue me i guess.


Do you have any answer for the other questions?

Thank you very much

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

Postby joiedevivre22 » Mon, 30 Mar 2015 2:00 pm

Hi there,

Not an expert, but want to say/ask a few things.

What does your diplomatic clause say? Is there a termination clause in your contract where it states you need to compensate for remaining months?

This is usually a blanket statement used by LL's to make the tenant pay up. I have heard this in three places so far ( two for me and one for a friend). I have been informed by an agent on how it is just a marketplace tactic and not a legal issue. You don't have to pay up so much unless you have signed that you will do so. Even if you have, a compensation can be negotiated.

I've informed the LL through the agent (I dont have any phone number of email address of the LL, everything is kept by the LL agent) You know, this is a pain. You can't even sue the LL ( if you have to) without their address.

What are the risk to cut and run? (if i comply to the tenant agreement, i would have to pay the 14 months minus the 8 months already payed at the date of the 31 of may = 24600SGD)

Still if I comply to the TA, can i use the 2 months of deposit to pay the last two months (13 and 14th)?


For breaking of lease, my previous LL's agent asked us to pay up an extra month's rent in addition to the deposit for breaking the contract 3 months earlier to the end. We ended up paying much more, but that's another story.

I also know of some guys who have posted the key to the LL ( or have simply left inside the letterbox) and left Singapore. The risk they are taking is a legal suit, but they were convinced of two things - LL is too stingy to spend $$ on it and that they aren't going to return to SG anytime soon.

Chances are, the minute you are out of the scene (irrespective of you paying or not), the LL will get in another tenant.

8) Is it normal to do not have the phone number or email to be able to contact the LL ?
9) I don't trust at all into the LL agent. I even think that he didn't submit the last LOI to the LL. He is a chicken and doesnt have any guts. How could i be sure that the LL got the LOI ?


No, it is not normal but it is common here. As a tenant, you can demand for the LL's address and contact details once you have paid your agent the commission. Why are you interacting with LL's agent? Talk to your agent and ask him to get the LL's address. As a measure, do contact a lawyer on this as well.

More stuff to write, but later. Good luck.

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

Postby TheBigHunt » Mon, 30 Mar 2015 3:27 pm

To x9200 and joiedevivre
Thanks both for your replies.
I've been quite busy today to try to sort out this bothering story.
To be short:
- I've met 3 different lawyer to be sure about what can be done.
They all advise me to cut and run.
For many reasons, the cost of a case, the fact the I'll let the deposit, etc, they all advise me to do not continue.
They also told me that I can't be arrested at the border as it's not a crime case but a civil one.
To be fair, one of them advise me to do a last try to negotiate but in case it doesn't work, I'll have all the proof to show that I've done all my possible to find a good win win arrangement.
I'll update the forum of what will happening.
Thanks a lot


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