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Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

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

Postby mr.worry » Fri, 13 Nov 2015 3:13 pm

operational units are in the bedroom. it does cause a problem when entertaining guests in the day in the hot humid singapore weather.

asking for compensation is not taking advantage of the situation. it is protection of your rights.

anyways, i am not looking to gain from this situation. just trying to understand the industry practise.

thank you for your help!

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

Postby pbez » Fri, 04 Dec 2015 8:23 pm

This is excellent advice, but I'll add my experience and hope it will help as well. Well, apart from a few bumps and humps, our experience renting in Singapore has been quite ok. We've always been good tenants by giving the properties back (3 in total) in excellent condition, sometimes better than initially. For our 2 first rentals, we got our deposits back in full at the time of handover, no problems at all. This was until our recent handover. We had rented this apartment from a Belgium couple at 33 Hume Ave, Symphony Heights (avoid these guys!). When we met them, they were extra nice, chatting away almost as if old friends. At the time we were signing the contract on site, there was a horrible stench coming through the kitchen window. They were talking away as if nothing were happening. I asked what the stench was and they said it was because they were cleaning the trash in the garage (the apartment is on the first floor). I asked if this happened often and their reply was that it only happened once or twice a year when they did major cleaning. A big first lie. There was a structural problem with garbage in the whole condo and we lived in this apartment for 2 years with stench every single day. We could not open the back windows at all and still the smell would sip in. We also had serious problems with rat infestation in the condo. There were rats everywhere, even during day, leisurely pacing around. The rats would get inside the lowered ceiling through some hole and would start chewing up above us. We woke up with the noise many, many nights. We even filmed the "noise" and sent to our landlord. He never solved the problem, always pushing it to the condo management. There were damaged floors and windows when we moved in and we regret not taking official note of this when we got in, although I did send him emails informing of these. To make the story short, the day of handover, less than a week ago, was a nightmare. Only the wife showed up with the agent and her renovation advisor, looking for things to "fix", and she had every intent of keeping our deposit. We'd not leave without a cheque because we were moving overseas. She finally agreed to discount $1000, which was absolute thievery. The apartment was in the exact same state as when we picked it up, apart from some holes we had made on the walls and which we expressed we intended to pay for. I was appalled to see how she treated us, completely ignoring what we had to say, absolutely cold in countenance, very different from when they had met us. The handover took 1 hour and a half. We were exhausted by the international move arrangements, had a child and a dog to feed and it was getting late at night. My advice: take pictures of every detail, every damaged little thing once you move in, no matter how simple it looks. Send out emails with pictures. Do not assume your landlord will be honest with you. We were naive to assume these people would be honest with us. When we moved in, we even bought a Bosch oven to be installed in the apartment and to stay once we moved out. They took complete advantage of us and were absolutely dishonest from the beginning.

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

Postby LL8 » Mon, 28 Dec 2015 5:39 pm

Hi guys,

A pity straight forward case. Am the tenant.

1. 2 years lease
2. Upon Expiry, joint Inspection carried out, landlord, landlord agents, tenant, tenant agents all presented, clean sign off, a clear clause preprinted in hand back inventory check that the Tenant is unconditionally and irrevocably discharged from all further claims and liabilities from that day onwards.
3. Refund 14 days after.
4. Landlord deduct $1,200, a list of things being found and dealt with after the joint inspection.

Read the SCT website and learnt that have to be careful about the attendance especially the claimant side try not to ask for changing hearing date. Am frequent traveller so afraid of not being able to attend if the day of calling hit the travelling schedule. Or else have to appoint a representative.

Questions:
1. If I appoint representative, can I have different representatives at the stage of consultation and adjudication?
2. I know the time bar of the case would be 1 year. Is it counting from which date? For example, my lease was expired on 31 Dec and full deposit was expected to be returned on 14 Jan. So is it count from 31 Dec or 14 Jan?

Thanks to advise.

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x9200
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby x9200 » Mon, 28 Dec 2015 7:02 pm

LL8 wrote:Questions:
1. If I appoint representative, can I have different representatives at the stage of consultation and adjudication?
2. I know the time bar of the case would be 1 year. Is it counting from which date? For example, my lease was expired on 31 Dec and full deposit was expected to be returned on 14 Jan. So is it count from 31 Dec or 14 Jan?

1) I don't know but according to the guidelines https://www.statecourts.gov.sg/SmallCla ... ation.aspx the mediations and hearing dates appears to be reasonably predictable and within short time after the filing. Not possible to find long enough slot?
2) IMHO from the 15th of January.

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

Postby JR8 » Mon, 28 Dec 2015 10:07 pm

1/2/3) sounds black and white to me. Hence 4) sounds unreasonable.

The check-out inspection is the opportunity for any ‘damages’ to be identified and agreed. The landlord cannot later then claim to have found damages that were not agreed at the check-out. It seems simple why, if the latter were so a ‘check-out’ would have no finality, or legally useful purpose.

IME you have to consider seeking redress at court as a serious option. I don’t mean it’s necessarily difficult, I mean it pays to go in fully prepared to make a compelling case. Perhaps you have watched programmes like ‘Judge Judy’, one side is usually bull-$hitting, time-wasting, or isn’t taking things too seriously – pity if the judge deems that person to be you *despite* you having right on your side.

So I think you have two choices. Go the SCT route and accept that your travel plans will have to fit around it. And why shouldn’t they, going to court *is* just an occasional though unfortunate fact of life. Or go to a higher court ($), and if necessary have someone represent you (potentially $$$). For the sake of $1200 I suggest making time and going to the SCT. Your case sounds simple and should be dealt with speedily. Note; if you don’t appear at the hearing your case will be struck out or summarily ‘found’ against you. Lower courts, especially tribunals [IME], are meant for the average man to access justice, and they frown upon representatives never mind formal legal representation (a lawyer etc).

I don’t think a time bar matters much re: 2 weeks here or there. My 2c FWIW is from the date the ‘wrong’ was crystallised. I.e, as X9200 suggests the day after the depo was not returned as agreed.

As per another similar topic yesterday, where is your agent in all of this? Why are they not representing you? It seems common but wrong to me that a tenant pays for an agent, then if a problem arises in returning the depo the agent just walks away, like it’s nothing to do with them. What does your contract with this agent say about the scope of their responsibilities? And indeed what does your agent say about this situation? I’d tend to go after the agent to act on my behalf to any extent I could, before considering taking my own action directly vs the landlord.

And also if you are to go after the landlord directly, I’d suggest getting a more bullet-proof case. For example, he might be in hospital and unable to return your deposit. You don’t know, but a court will give him far more benefit of the doubt that you might believe possible! So, have you written to the LL stating the facts as you understand them, as you have described here? Stating that you require him to return your deposit as required per the tenancy agreement? I think that’s the least you need to do before considering legal action. [Follow-up suggestions might come up depending on if/how he responds, but that’s for later].

So, 1) what’s you agent’s position on this? 2) At this time, have you had any discussion re: the depo with the landlord, beyond his claim for deductions that you mention above?
'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 LL8 » Mon, 28 Dec 2015 11:36 pm

Dear JR8 and x9200,

Thanks mates. Simple, the agents can't twist the owners mind. After few rounds, gave up.

Am thinking about the agents to represent in SCT for me, in case the the date hit my schedule. Rather than wait for, say, submitting the case 3 months after where I could find a two months slot without travelling schedule.

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

Postby x9200 » Tue, 29 Dec 2015 4:21 am

LL8 wrote:Dear JR8 and x9200,

Thanks mates. Simple, the agents can't twist the owners mind. After few rounds, gave up.

Am thinking about the agents to represent in SCT for me, in case the the date hit my schedule. Rather than wait for, say, submitting the case 3 months after where I could find a two months slot without travelling schedule.

Oh, overlooked one important thing. I believe you can not have a representative at all, except the case where you are not a resident of Singapore. Traveling surely doesn't count for this.

CHAPTER 308
23.—(1) Subject to this section, a party to proceedings before a tribunal shall present his own case.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), where a party to proceedings before a tribunal is —[..]

(h) a person who is not resident in Singapore and who is unable to remain in Singapore until the hearing of the case, any other person who is duly authorised by him in writing may, with the approval of the Registrar or tribunal, present the case on his behalf; [..]

(3) No party to any proceedings before a tribunal shall be represented by an advocate and solicitor or, except as provided by subsection (2), an agent, whether paid or otherwise.

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

Postby LL8 » Tue, 29 Dec 2015 2:34 pm

Thanks x9200,

Yes that would delete the option to ask my agents to represent me. Have decided to wait and see clearly at least one month grounded in Singapore on the case.

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

Postby x9200 » Tue, 29 Dec 2015 4:30 pm

LL8, have you already send an official demand letter? If not, send one. Should be very formal, stating point by point the case including ruling clauses of the TA, and your demands. Give the LL a week or two to fulfil his obligations. Threaten him with legal action if he fails. Explain this may incur additional costs for him. All by registered mail with RA, preferably in quasi legal language. There is some chance this may convince him already.

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

Postby LL8 » Tue, 29 Dec 2015 4:56 pm

He said would like to see me in the court and give me a chance to see our Singaporean justice.

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

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 29 Dec 2015 5:09 pm

Sounds like he is trying to pull a bluff to me. He sounds like he's testing to see who has the biggest cojones or we are missing part of the equation.

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

Postby x9200 » Tue, 29 Dec 2015 5:26 pm

Nice. I met some like this. I wish you all the best and hope you will teach him a lesson. And yes, I agree with SMS, most likely bluffing, then you may also see a nice transformation in one point from the arrogant bastard to a humble peasant. It may be worth more money than what he owes you.

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

Postby LL8 » Tue, 29 Dec 2015 5:37 pm

Can't see there are any missing parts. The TA is well drafted and laid down clear procedures on security deposit. Joint inspection to be carried out and that's the day of settlement and not beyond. The list of issues he made up is a kind of shopping list he would like to make good to increase marketable value. There are no breaking things or have them well documented before moving in. 90 pct minimeters measured spot dirts or dust plus an item missing which was not in the inventory list (I never seen before during the tenancy). JR8 he is healthy and not staying in hospital.

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

Postby BBCWatcher » Tue, 29 Dec 2015 5:55 pm

If market rents had risen instead of fallen, and your landlord can now get a higher rental rate for the unit you are vacating, do you think your landlord would offer you a share of the windfall as a token of appreciation? ;)

Given that the landlord is jockeying for revenue not permitted under your mutual rental agreement, I recommend being careful about making sure any amounts he still owes you are actually paid at the inspection/handover, not later.

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

Postby JR8 » Tue, 29 Dec 2015 6:49 pm

x9200 wrote:LL8, have you already send an official demand letter? If not, send one. Should be very formal, stating point by point the case including ruling clauses of the TA, and your demands. Give the LL a week or two to fulfil his obligations. Threaten him with legal action if he fails. Explain this may incur additional costs for him. All by registered mail with RA, preferably in quasi legal language. There is some chance this may convince him already.


^ Agree completely. Even if you can't get a court date now, it pays to have your case/evidence tied up and ready.

LL8: He said would like to see me in the court and give me a chance to see our Singaporean justice.

Haha, If I were you I'd definitely incorporate that communication within the bundle of evidence presented with the case: The 'judge' is just going to LOVE that .... oh yes! :o :lol:
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard


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