Singapore Expats Forum

Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Discuss about where to live, renting a property, tenancy issues, property trend and property investment in Singapore.
Hazethenut
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed, 28 Oct 2015

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

Postby Hazethenut » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 10:06 pm

Thanks guys for all the advices.

We have taken a lot of pics and videos of the mites in action and the mushrooms in the toilet. Thank God.

I shall get all the documents/evidences ready (shall print out all the pics and upload videos taken on phone) and meet up with the LL to re-negotiate.

shaht
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon, 09 Nov 2015

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

Postby shaht » Mon, 09 Nov 2015 4:34 pm

Hi all,

I am new to the forum and a first time poster here. My question is - In the middle of the tenancy, if some furniture, which came as part of fully-furnished apartment - like sofa or bed etc - is broken or not suitable to use....can the tenant ask for the landlord to replace them at landlord's cost.

I am in the fifth year of my tenancy and the sofa (which was used in the first place when I rented the apt 4 years+ ago) is no longer comfortable. The foam is completely compressed and one sinks deep into the sofa when you sit.

Pleased to hear and thanks in advance for your advices.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9288
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

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

Postby x9200 » Tue, 10 Nov 2015 8:46 am

shaht wrote:Hi all,

I am new to the forum and a first time poster here. My question is - In the middle of the tenancy, if some furniture, which came as part of fully-furnished apartment - like sofa or bed etc - is broken or not suitable to use....can the tenant ask for the landlord to replace them at landlord's cost.

I am in the fifth year of my tenancy and the sofa (which was used in the first place when I rented the apt 4 years+ ago) is no longer comfortable. The foam is completely compressed and one sinks deep into the sofa when you sit.

Pleased to hear and thanks in advance for your advices.

Assuming some standard TA condition, yes, you can ask. You pay also for the rental of the sofa and not for something that has no properties of a sofa. Having said that, if the landlord (LL) says no, there is not much you can do except suing him and unlikely your sofa discomfort will outweigh
the inconvenience of the legal proceedings (even at SCT).

This sort of things are best to be negotiated at the contract renewal.

shaht
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon, 09 Nov 2015

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

Postby shaht » Tue, 10 Nov 2015 1:28 pm

Thanks x9200...much appreciated. Yes, standard TA conditions where the total rent is split rent of house plus rental of furshinings. I guess it might come down to the relationship & dialogue between tenant & LL.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

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

Postby JR8 » Tue, 10 Nov 2015 6:43 pm

I thought this quote might come in useful in future. It's from the late Lord Denning, former Lord Justice and Master of the Rolls in the British House of Lords. The top legal position in the country, a brilliant mind, and a rare ability to explain the most complex legal situation in the simplest terms.
-----------
re: the respective repairing obligations between and landlord and tenant, Lord Denning LJ stated:
"What does 'to use the premises in a tenant-like manner' mean? The tenant must take proper care of the place. He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler. He must clean the chimneys, when necessary and also the windows. He must mend the electric light when it fuses. He must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste. In short, he must do those little jobs about the place, which a reasonable tenant would do. In addition, he must, of course, not damage the house wilfully or negligently; and he must see that his family and guests do not damage it; and if they do, he must repair it. But apart from such things, if the house falls out of repair owing to fair wear and tear, lapse of time or for any reason not caused by him, then he will not be liable to repair it."
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 34456
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

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

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 10 Nov 2015 9:03 pm

The problem is, he doesn't define fair wear and tear. Especially in a Sinkaporean mindset. And there lies the problem with the continual referral to British Law which is rarely used 'in it's original form' here in Singapore. If fact, using it here is possibly misleading our readers.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9288
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

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

Postby x9200 » Tue, 10 Nov 2015 9:20 pm

shaht wrote:Thanks x9200...much appreciated. Yes, standard TA conditions where the total rent is split rent of house plus rental of furshinings. I guess it might come down to the relationship & dialogue between tenant & LL.

Yes. And what personality is the LL. Some will just acknowledge the problem and change the sofa without any fuss, some will act like complete kiasu morons ready to lose a good tenant trying to save few dollars.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

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

Postby JR8 » Tue, 10 Nov 2015 11:51 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:The problem is, he doesn't define fair wear and tear. Especially in a Sinkaporean mindset. And there lies the problem with the continual referral to British Law which is rarely used 'in it's original form' here in Singapore. If fact, using it here is possibly misleading our readers.


He doesn't need to, because the definition already existed within established law at the time. So that definition is assumed to carry-over, until such future time when it might be amended. I think I have posted the UK definition of it here before, as it is a useful and logical starting point to consider for anyone facing it. It's *roughly*, 'the wear and tear to the property that might be expected to happen over the course of a tenancy caused by a reasonable tenant due to normal day to day occupation'. There's a/the thing... it accepts that W+T will happen, and is unavoidable. Too often in SG a LL will not accept any W+T as being expected and reasonable at all, as such it is the source of or at least part of perhaps the majority of deposit disputes.

That's my main basis re: quoting examples of UK law (more precisely, England+Wales, rather than the whole of the UK). Since E+W Statute law carries over into much of the Commonwealth. Obviously it is locally adapted over time (the US is notable in this way, but it's had 200+ years), but in SG in some facets, the law as a whole has not really changed that much at all. That's why when in SG I review a TA (prior to signing it) from the experience of a UK landlord, and only query any local idiosyncrasies like diplomatic clauses, co-paying for repairs, and so on. 90+% of the rest is exactly the same as I'm used to back home.

When I quote UK law I'm not quoting UK statute, as that likely would lack enough relevance, and risk misguiding people. I'm seeking to quote .... er, 'core underlying principles' which carry over far longer. I always try to be clear about that, but I see that still some people don't see the connection/relevance as I do. The intent is that all any interested reader would have to do is ponder the quoted legal principle, and if they wished to confirm if such still existed in SG, and/or if it had been tweaked/nuanced since adoption in any way, then at least they have a likely starting point.

[Maybe I should revise my tag-line as a disclaimer on when I give suggestions re: property law; so everyone is clear on the basis upon which it is being given...]
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

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

Postby JR8 » Wed, 11 Nov 2015 12:24 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:The problem is, he doesn't define fair wear and tear. Especially in a Sinkaporean mindset. And there lies the problem with the continual referral to British Law which is rarely used 'in it's original form' here in Singapore. If fact, using it here is possibly misleading our readers.


re: Fair Wear and Tear - ref: my earlier on the 'UK' basis for it here -> viewtopic.php?t=68517&hilit=wear+tear&start=45 12/June/15 @ 7.27pm.

That's a starting point of course, but I'm unaware of it's legally accepted definition being different in Singapore. If it is, then perhaps a quote of the local variant of it can be found and quoted? I expect it might prove useful to a lot of local tenants.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

ts77fox
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed, 22 Jul 2015

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

Postby ts77fox » Wed, 11 Nov 2015 1:52 pm

i am new in singapore. but elsewhere we have rental properties. if a tenant stays with us for so many years, and the sofa is no longer comfortable, we would be more than happy to replace it to keep the tenant happy in the apartment ... so it depends on whether the landlord in your case is sensible, especially in view of the sluggish rental market in singapore ....

mr.worry
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed, 11 Nov 2015

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

Postby mr.worry » Wed, 11 Nov 2015 4:52 pm

Hi,

I have a question. ll is taking a long time to replace the faulty aircon unit in the living room and dining room. it has been 2 weeks since we informed of the situation and it is still not fixed. probably we still need to wait til next week (3rd week) to get the whole issued settled. The house can warm and humid without the aircon unless we hide in the bedrooms.

In this situation, can the tenant ask ll for compensation? the lease contract does not mention anything restriction or deadline for ll to improve such situations.

Thanks!

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

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

Postby JR8 » Wed, 11 Nov 2015 5:20 pm

@TS77 - Well quite/+1.
No landlord welcomes having to spend money, but there's a nuanced point where it's clearly pragmatic, as you suggest.

IMO a difference is that in SG mass middle-class wealth is quite a recent phenomenon. Couple that with the small country, and not many SGns becoming 'accidental landlords', ie. getting a job in a distant city or abroad and keeping the former home and renting it out. The latter step-1 is a big learning curve and once mastered such landlord's [incl me] might then decide to go on to becoming amateur 'portfolio landlords'.

IME back home there is a wealth of resources for such people, from government agencies to discussion boards on the web. Most usually have only 1,2,3... but I know a few amateurs who have even 100+ rentals, accumulated over perhaps 30 years. Oracles of wisdom that I can tap for knowledge (on-line) as and when required. So LLs back home are well resourced, and perhaps at the outset start off being clearer on what to expect, 'rights vs obligations' etc. In SG there seems to be few if any such resources, and little recourse before all out war (i.e. court); is there even a SGn 'National Landlords Association', or discussion boards specifically frequented by LLs?

So IME in SG, based on some tenant's experiences I've read here over the years, the local approach might be considered shorter-term, and even reasonable expenses, never mind pragmatic ones, 'must be avoided at all costs'. Added to which a sense that landlording can be er... more of a personalised LL vs tenant affair in SG, as opposed to LL with tenant as it's in the LLs own interests too.

An extreme example of the latter that has been noted here a few times, is where a LL refuses to carry out even an everyday repair, or seeks to hike the rent unrealistically, causing the tenant to quit. When that occurs the landlord has i) a void [landlord's mantra no.1 'Voids kill!'] ii) a new set of agent's fees iii) the crystallisation of any repairs that were previously already required + some that perhaps weren't, example: repainting.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

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

Postby JR8 » Wed, 11 Nov 2015 5:33 pm

mr.worry wrote:Hi,
I have a question. ll is taking a long time to replace the faulty aircon unit in the living room and dining room. it has been 2 weeks since we informed of the situation and it is still not fixed. probably we still need to wait til next week (3rd week) to get the whole issued settled. The house can warm and humid without the aircon unless we hide in the bedrooms.
In this situation, can the tenant ask ll for compensation? the lease contract does not mention anything restriction or deadline for ll to improve such situations.
Thanks!


IME/O it comes down responding in a 'reasonable' way. How long should it reasonably take the LL to call the air-con company, make an appointment, and have the issue fixed? I don't know, maybe 2-3 days? Maybe up to a week during very busy holiday period?
It's not obvious to me how a 2/+ weeks delay might occur and still be considered reasonable.
Compensation, from a SGn landlord, I doubt it, since in the first place he appears to resisting the expense of the repair itself.
How has he responded so far, and are you keeping copies/records of the ongoing discussion?
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

mr.worry
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed, 11 Nov 2015

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

Postby mr.worry » Thu, 12 Nov 2015 10:10 am

As we have never met LL and she dont reply to our emails, we have contacted her property agent on 28/10 via phone call, email and whatsapp. Then LL returned call on 2/11 to inform change of whole aircon system with the spare she has.

Fixed on 9/11 afternoon for the replacement but was faced with issues (with new a/c unit & condo regulations) so nothing was done. Due to repairman's tight schedule,the next appointment is on 17/11.

We would like to know what is the regular protocol between LL and tenant when such things happen.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9288
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

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

Postby x9200 » Thu, 12 Nov 2015 12:34 pm

mr.worry wrote:As we have never met LL and she dont reply to our emails, we have contacted her property agent on 28/10 via phone call, email and whatsapp. Then LL returned call on 2/11 to inform change of whole aircon system with the spare she has.

Fixed on 9/11 afternoon for the replacement but was faced with issues (with new a/c unit & condo regulations) so nothing was done. Due to repairman's tight schedule,the next appointment is on 17/11.

We would like to know what is the regular protocol between LL and tenant when such things happen.

There is no regular protocol. You and the LL should do whatever is reasonable. From the dates you posted it still looks reasonable to me (within acceptable timing and schedule). Yes, the LL made a mistake being unaware of the condo regulations but if this is her first mistake you probably should show a bit more understanding. Trying to take advantage in the situations like this one will not make your relationship with the LL any better. What sort of compensation you would expect?You still have the other units operational.


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Property Talk, Housing & Rental”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest