Singapore Expats Forum

Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Discuss about life in Singapore. Ask about cost of living, housing, travel, etiquette & lifestyle. Share experience & advice with Singaporeans & expat staying in Singapore.

Sponsored by:
Image
AE Logistics - Movers & Storage

LL8
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon, 28 Dec 2015

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

Postby LL8 » Fri, 01 Apr 2016 2:09 pm

x9200, the lease is a company lease and I am the employee. I take representation for and on behalf of the company.

Semar
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri, 03 May 2013

Option to renew & deposit

Postby Semar » Sun, 03 Apr 2016 9:30 am

Hi,

Am negotiating a lease for a new place and we agreed to a 2 year term, two months deposit, with option to renew for an extra year. Should we decide to opt in for the extra year, do we get one months deposit back from the landlord? Or does the deposit stay as is?

thanks

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9165
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Re: Option to renew & deposit

Postby x9200 » Sun, 03 Apr 2016 10:04 am

Semar wrote:Am negotiating a lease for a new place and we agreed to a 2 year term, two months deposit, with option to renew for an extra year. Should we decide to opt in for the extra year, do we get one months deposit back from the landlord? Or does the deposit stay as is?

This clause is pretty useless as you are not going to force the LL to continue renting it to you anyway. On top of it, this clause may be also dangerous if it is linked to the payment of the commission upon renewal.

As of the deposit I always requested to have it adjusted both to the new rent and the lease period and it was always granted without any problems.

Semar
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri, 03 May 2013

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

Postby Semar » Sun, 03 Apr 2016 10:30 am

Thanks for the quick follow up X9200.
Good advice re. deposit adjustment.

SinghAni
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat, 30 Apr 2016

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

Postby SinghAni » Sun, 01 May 2016 9:01 am

Hi,

I am a south Asian expat living in Singapore since last year in an HDB flat. My lease is for 1 year ending this year in September. I had got a diplomatic clause inserted in my agreement that either party could break away after 6 months with 2 months notice (6+2) [is it my mistake that even landlord could break the lease? allowed legally?].
Now my LL wants me to vacate the house end June. He had given me a verbal notice in April beginning[a written proof last week only. again my mistake]. In the mean time I went ahead and searched for the a house based on his verbal notice and found one (thankfully i have not entered into a contract as of now for new house).
Now when I informed the LL, he tells me round that "technically" I am supposed to stay in the house till end June so I complete two months of notice.
Points for reminder, HE served me NOTICE, so isn't he the party who should serve two months notice and I being the receiving party should be allowed to vacate house as soon as I find an alternate accommodation.
My own agent has gone incognito, and my landlord still has my deposit [also as part of break clause he is supposed to pay me pro-rata agent fee].
I fear that if I stick to the gun of leaving the house early, i will lose most of me security under on pretext or another and he would also delay paying back the agent fee.

I feel I have been left at the short end of the stick.
Any advice would be welcome.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9165
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

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

Postby x9200 » Sun, 01 May 2016 12:36 pm

SinghAni wrote:I am a south Asian expat living in Singapore since last year in an HDB flat. My lease is for 1 year ending this year in September. I had got a diplomatic clause inserted in my agreement that either party could break away after 6 months with 2 months notice (6+2) [is it my mistake that even landlord could break the lease? allowed legally?].

Allowed, why not? If you both agreed?
HDB requires 6 months minimum.


Now my LL wants me to vacate the house end June. He had given me a verbal notice in April beginning[a written proof last week only. again my mistake]. In the mean time I went ahead and searched for the a house based on his verbal notice and found one (thankfully i have not entered into a contract as of now for new house).
Now when I informed the LL, he tells me round that "technically" I am supposed to stay in the house till end June so I complete two months of notice.

He gave you a notice that he wanted you to vacate by the end of June and he still says he wants you out by the end of June, so I am not sure where do you see the problem. IMHO, serving 2 month notice is about allowing period of time as stipulated in the contract, not to trigger some kind of timer - it is also important what the notice is about.
As soon as the other condition (the 6 month period) is over, he can do it any time providing the requested termination date is after the 2 month period. Besides, if serving the notice was required to be in writing, the verbal serving was not valid anyway.


Points for reminder, HE served me NOTICE, so isn't he the party who should serve two months notice and I being the receiving party should be allowed to vacate house as soon as I find an alternate accommodation.

No, unless this is how it is stated in the agreement. The notice to be served protects both the parties, not only you. Of course you can vacate earlier, but you would still need to pay.

See it this way: serving the notice does not annuls the agreement. You still have your duties. It only modifies the end date as requested by the other party. If so, It doesn't give you any right to modify it by your own. Of course, if the LL would gave you a valid notice in the beginning of April (so 3 months from the end date) you could have served your own notice immediately and shorten this period to 2 months (with all the related consequences)


My own agent has gone incognito, and my landlord still has my deposit [also as part of break clause he is supposed to pay me pro-rata agent fee].
I fear that if I stick to the gun of leaving the house early, i will lose most of me security under on pretext or another and he would also delay paying back the agent fee.

I feel I have been left at the short end of the stick.
Any advice would be welcome.

zenogias
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue, 10 May 2016

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

Postby zenogias » Tue, 10 May 2016 1:18 am

Hello. I am an Indonesian guy working here for 8 years. Married and recently blessed with a baby boy. I am currently having a problem with my current landlord. We recently decided we had to move to a new place due to the newborn baby. Long story short, we found a new place, and notify 1 month in advance to our current landlord that we are moving away. Less than a week before we move out (12 May), to our utter shock, the landlord suddenly informed us that we had to pay 3 month worth of rent to him.

Our contract started on August 2014, 2 years ago. As far as I know, our contract is per year basis. And we were meant to sit down and work on the contract renewal last August 2015. We ask the landlord for this but he had never gotten back to us on it. We didn't pursue the matter and thought it would be no problem. From past experience, me and my wife have moved house a couple of times and asked around friends, relatives & agents, we all believe that once the 1st year contract expires, we are under per month basis, and we only need to notify the landlord 1 month in advance if we want to move out. None of us had to deal with this before. Note that we, as the tenants never gotten any words on the contract renewal at all, and that the 1st year contract is now void. The landlord never even ask us to pay for stamp duty whatsoever last year.

We refused to pay the remaining 3 month rent, but worry that he will pursue legal action against us. I can already tell that they wont be giving us any of our deposit back. We are a single income family who just got our 1st baby, struggling to survive. We cannot afford paying them nor we want to. It feels unfair to us. Any suggestion on what we need to do to cover our backs? Some of property agents I trust recommend us to issue a statement to the police. I am not sure what good that will do exactly. Any suggestion is greatly appreciated.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9165
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

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

Postby x9200 » Tue, 10 May 2016 7:34 am

zenogias wrote:Hello. I am an Indonesian guy working here for 8 years. Married and recently blessed with a baby boy. I am currently having a problem with my current landlord. We recently decided we had to move to a new place due to the newborn baby. Long story short, we found a new place, and notify 1 month in advance to our current landlord that we are moving away. Less than a week before we move out (12 May), to our utter shock, the landlord suddenly informed us that we had to pay 3 month worth of rent to him.

Our contract started on August 2014, 2 years ago. As far as I know, our contract is per year basis. And we were meant to sit down and work on the contract renewal last August 2015. We ask the landlord for this but he had never gotten back to us on it. We didn't pursue the matter and thought it would be no problem. From past experience, me and my wife have moved house a couple of times and asked around friends, relatives & agents, we all believe that once the 1st year contract expires, we are under per month basis, and we only need to notify the landlord 1 month in advance if we want to move out. None of us had to deal with this before. Note that we, as the tenants never gotten any words on the contract renewal at all, and that the 1st year contract is now void. The landlord never even ask us to pay for stamp duty whatsoever last year.

We refused to pay the remaining 3 month rent, but worry that he will pursue legal action against us. I can already tell that they wont be giving us any of our deposit back. We are a single income family who just got our 1st baby, struggling to survive. We cannot afford paying them nor we want to. It feels unfair to us. Any suggestion on what we need to do to cover our backs? Some of property agents I trust recommend us to issue a statement to the police. I am not sure what good that will do exactly. Any suggestion is greatly appreciated.

Without knowing the details of your tenancy agreement (TA) it is only possible at best to guess but generally, if TA expires then you just live without contract. I am not aware of any regulation imposing 1 month notice after expiration period. Now, the tricky part IMO is, that you lived this way for rather long time, voluntarily paying the money defined in the expired contract (right?) so I would rather expect the court may assume verbal agreement for continuation of the expired TA for another year. This mean, that if you had the 3 months notice in that expired contract it may still be considered valid.
Going to the police doesn't make any sense as this is clearly a civil matter.
Your best bet IMO is to threaten the landlord with legal action (if he keeps the deposit) hoping he will get scared and may agree to return it. If not, your only practical option is to sue him in STC. It is cheap to do it (~$10) and there is no need for a lawyer but as I said,I am not convinced it is going to work in your favour. Besides, I would not be surprised if you had to pay the stamping fees before the court allows your case.

Personally, I would see an attorney. There should be some available (at least from time to time) offering free consultations. If not, it should cost ca $70-120 to see one.

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 May 2016 6:59 pm

1)You say you believe the contract is on an annual basis, and clearly that is the first thing you need to check.

2) How did the landlord arrive at his demand for 3 months rent? He cannot make a random demand, it has to be quantifiable and justifiable.

3) ' we all believe that once the 1st year contract expires, we are under per month basis, and we only need to notify the landlord 1 month in advance if we want to move out.'
Same observation as 1) above. What you suggest depends on the original term of the lease.

4) Typically the notice varies according to the party serving it. For example the tenant has to give 2 months notice, the landlord only has to give one. But again it doesn't matter so much what you and your friends believe, you need to state here what is written, what you signed up to, in your tenancy agreement.

5) 'Note that we, as the tenants never gotten any words on the contract renewal at all, and that the 1st year contract is now void. The landlord never even ask us to pay for stamp duty whatsoever last year.'

Rolling over from a fixed term to a Periodic tenancy agreement does not need agreement, a Periodic tenancy forms automatically upon the expiry of the original term, unless either party have taken the specific steps required to terminate the agreement by serving the appropriate notice.
Rolling over onto a Periodic [aka 'month-to-month'] agreement does not void the original agreement. On the contrary it automatically carries over all the original terms, unless either party specifically negotiate and agree variations, for example to the rent.

If you have rolled over onto a Periodic agreement the question of stamp duty is an interesting one. There is no new agreement, the original one has simply slightly evolved into another form. How long might you then stay on this Periodic agreement, i.e. how might one calculate what stamp duty might be due when you don't know the duration of this rolling extension?

Either way it's a civil matter so the police can't help. But I'd suggest reading your original agreement and stating here clearly what the key terms are:
Start month
End month
The wording of any break-clause
plus is possible clarifying how the landlord arrived at his claim of '3 months rent'.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

targoy
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat, 28 May 2016

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

Postby targoy » Sat, 28 May 2016 3:35 pm

Hi Guys,
I recently signed a TA with owner's agent, did not have an agent of my own. I had asked him in particular about an electrical appliance in the house, before signing the TA,if it was working fine and he affirmed - I have it on whatsapp as a record. The item was also mentioned on his listing on the property site.
Few hours after signing the TA, the agent called me and said there was some issue and that they would not put that item in the inventory as the owner did not want to fix it.

I have asked him to get it fixed as during inspection of the house I had enquired about that appliance again and he said it was working ok.

I was not given an inventory list as I still have not moved into the house so can I do something legally if they don't get that appliance fixed?

This seems to be cheating and malpractice to me.
Cheers

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 34270
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

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

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 28 May 2016 4:45 pm

Just seems like Singapore to me.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9165
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

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

Postby x9200 » Sat, 28 May 2016 4:58 pm

targoy wrote:Hi Guys,
I recently signed a TA with owner's agent, did not have an agent of my own. I had asked him in particular about an electrical appliance in the house, before signing the TA,if it was working fine and he affirmed - I have it on whatsapp as a record. The item was also mentioned on his listing on the property site.
Few hours after signing the TA, the agent called me and said there was some issue and that they would not put that item in the inventory as the owner did not want to fix it.

I have asked him to get it fixed as during inspection of the house I had enquired about that appliance again and he said it was working ok.

I was not given an inventory list as I still have not moved into the house so can I do something legally if they don't get that appliance fixed?

This seems to be cheating and malpractice to me.
Cheers


If you don't have it in your TA, you can not do anything about it.

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 » Sat, 28 May 2016 7:41 pm

They're probably imagining that you'll get it repaired and swallow the cost. Which would be the kind of 'dumb/clever' trick some SGn landlords seem to try and pull.
You have it verbally and then in writing that the machine works, and that was part of the basis on which you signed the TA.
So taking [renting] the flat requires the LLs provision of a functioning machine. But making them agree to that is probably not going to be easy, and hence probably not worth fighting for.
An alternative might be saying that since it doesn't work can the LL remove it. You might suggest if he isn't willing to then you will, since 'I have a friend with a spare functioning machine he is willing to loan me' or similar. You can buy 2nd-hand but serviceable machines inexpensively. The hassle of removing/dumping a machine is significant and might just about spur the LL into action.
Either way this gives advance warning of what the LL and his agent are like, and IME their attitude is unlikely to improve from here.

- The above assumes you've already paid the rent+depo. IF you haven't it could be different. There's probably scope to argue you have it in writing a functioning WM was to be included. Hence you won't move into a property whose condition is other than was mutually agreed/contracted. [Don't know, just noting that thought to develop further if it came to it].

Let us know how you get on, however you decide to proceed.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

targoy
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat, 28 May 2016

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

Postby targoy » Mon, 30 May 2016 8:07 pm

Hi Guys,

Thanks for your valuable responses. Although they didnt agree to get the oven fixed, they agreed to pay for something else instead. But really, I feel cheated on this matter and like JR8 said - it is just a warning for things to come.

Since I had paid the deposit I could not do much here. The attitude of owner's agent changed hours after paying the deposit so I am going to very careful during the handover and will make full use of my DSLR to click fotos of every scratch or mark that that house has and post it back to owner and agent.

I don't think that can safeguard me against all the dirty tricks that these agents have at their disposal but better be safe than sorry.

Cheers,
T

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, 31 May 2016 2:10 am

I think that's a good idea (para 2). What I have also experienced is that during check-in, it's rush-rush 'I have other appointments you know', and so on. Don't be rushed, take as long as you reasonably need. IME at check-out they always have alll the time in the world to go through absolutely everything seeking justification for deductions, even if it takes hours.
Last time we did a check-in I did take many pix. General views of rooms to show general condition, then close-ups of any instance of pre-existing damage, even 'wear and tear', scuffs on walls etc. She got so p'd off, rolling eyes etc, sighing, repeatedly looking at her watch etc. Then part-way through she said she had to go and asked me to finish off the inventory myself and send it to her! :-D
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Staying, Living in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest