Tenancy court case

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mma_guru494
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Tenancy court case

Post by mma_guru494 » Fri, 07 Aug 2009 1:20 am

Hello,

To give the reader a clear picture of the question, heres the sequence of event.

1) I am overseas student here in Singapore. Based on my friend's recommendation I took up a room in a HDB flat.

2) However, since I was novice, I just stayed based on a verbal tenancy contract. Neither did the landowner ask me to sign a contract, nor did I bothered asking. The verbal contract just said, that I had to stay for a minimum of 6 months for my deposit to be refunded.

3) Though I had a host of problems (including a bullying attitude) during my 6 months stay, I kept on ignoring them (never mind attitude), on the thought that I will move out after the 6 months.

4) However after the 6 months, and at 1 month notice when I left, the houseowner refused to return me my deposit.

5) I took the matters to the police, which advised me to pursue the matter at the small case tribunal court.

6) At the hearing, the registrar claimed that it was illegal for me to live in the house without the written agreement, and illegal for him to keep me there. Further, at the court, the landowner lied that he had already returned me the money.

Both ways, I am now in trouble (doubtful if I will ever get my deposit back), and case against me for staying there without any agreement.

Further, the flat was 3+1, yet there were a total of 12 ppl living there, and the houseowner rented all the 3 rooms.


Now can some one please help and advice me !?! What can I do to safeguard myself, and at the same time still pursue a case against the houseowner for violation of hdb rules and not returning my deposit.

plenty of thanks !!!

Singapore Property Search

 

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 07 Aug 2009 7:07 am

Chalk it up to experience, find a new place to live and learn a lesson. In Singapore never trust anybody and nobody word here is worth a damn. If you don't have it in writing you don't have anything and even if you DO it's still not a guarantee so never give more than you have to a make plans for a worst case scenario always.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by macaroonie » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 12:51 pm

SMS - wow what a strong post! is this how you truly feel about decency in sg? that no one's word is worth a dam?? and even with proper written agreements it's still not enough? why is this the case, is it a lack of rules and regulations in the rental/property market or is it that people here are at best still considered developing (a first world country as defined by economic success is different to one defined on the behaviour and manners of the population).

Had a comment the other day from locals who said that expats are really not treated well here ...not entirely sure i agree, i think it's our luck, there are horrible and nice people everywhere.

But i am beginning to think on a more global scale that there are more irrational people around than rational people (and what i mean by rational is that one thinks of the consequences before making the decision).

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 2:01 pm

macaroonie wrote:SMS - wow what a strong post! is this how you truly feel about decency in sg? that no one's word is worth a dam?? and even with proper written agreements it's still not enough? why is this the case, is it a lack of rules and regulations in the rental/property market or is it that people here are at best still considered developing (a first world country as defined by economic success is different to one defined on the behaviour and manners of the population).
Why is this the case? All of the above. Lack of regulations, rules, enforcement (only when it's convenient) and a very large lack of morals (by western standards mind you - not Asian standards though - you can get shafted in any country in Asia if you blink your eye).

Strong post? Hardly. A post with over 26 years of dealing with Singaporeans. Living in and among them and in business with and working for them. No, if anything, my post isn't strong enough. Everything here is based on caveat emptor. If you can be shafted (even a little bit) you will be. It's a way of life, this getting something over on somebody else. There's even a word for it here. Kiasu. Afraid to lose, win as much as you can any way you can. Morals be damned, win at any cost. And if anybody complains you just tell them you are being pragmatic. (Pragmatic in so much as "well if I don't shaft you, the next guy will, so I'm being pragmatic as you will lose anyway, so why not lose to me?") That's their excuse for any and everything. :o

Yeah, I know, it happens all over the world........

But how many countries actually coin a word for it because it's endemic to almost the entire population! :P
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by Addadude » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 2:27 pm

I'm afraid that I also share SMS' cynicism in regards to taking what anybody involved in any kind of business transaction says (verbally) as word of honour. The concept of 'my word is my bond' simply does not exist in Asia.

Although Singapore may indeed publically follow the "rule of law", you'll find that, on an individual, case-by-case level, a great deal of 'flexibility' and 'pragmatism' is involved too.

Whatever business dealing you have, be it actual business, rental or employment, GET IT IN WRITING. As a local colleague of mine likes to say, "If it's not in writing, it never happened."

And bear in mind that even when you do have something in writing, people can and very often will attempt to shortchange you.

I think a lot of expats are taken in by Singapore's apparently Westernised way of doing things. Don't be.
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Post by macaroonie » Wed, 12 Aug 2009 11:20 am

Thanks for these posts, i guess i still held out hope in the goodness and honesty of the majority of the population here but of course quite often get rather disappointed. Somethings that are so inherent in western thinking (and what i thought would be quite 'obvious') really doesn't seem to be obvious here - eg standing up for little old ladies or men who obvious can't stand on the bus or train properly even when it's not moving! Gosh one day we are all in those shoes ie being old and grey but i don't understand how they can be so selfish!

And with all the other trappings of rental, business etc can i be blunt and ask how on earth do these people sleep at night??????? :???: How do people go and cheat someone and then have a good night's rest, it doesn't make sense?

There are nice local people, i have met a few, but i know it's pretty difficult to find, but they do exist!

With the lack of laws and regulations, why hasn't something more substantial being done?

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 12 Aug 2009 11:56 am

Collectively, a lot of us old-timers have been asking that same question for at least a century! The governments position? It's pragmatic not to do so (we can't make as much in taxes - in layman's speak). :P
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by macaroonie » Wed, 12 Aug 2009 4:27 pm

So what keeps you here SMS?

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 12 Aug 2009 6:43 pm

Do enough searches of my posts and you will know. It's called an obligation I made to somebody 25 years ago. I'm one of the few who still believe in my word being my bond. Of course I'm from a different generation and being a country boy, it's how we've always lived our lives.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by littlegreenman » Wed, 12 Aug 2009 7:48 pm

Only saw this post now.

NEVER EVER stick to a verbal contract if money is involved like in your case. I could have told you on the first day that you could kiss your money good bye especially as 12 people were living in that flat with all 3 rooms rented out.

Singapore is still a nice place, you just have to watch your back and remember that unlike in many western countries where you still have a feeling of collective benefit outside the major cities at least. In Singapore it is everyone for himself. After 2 years in London though I am happy to move back as the truth is: no place is perfect and in Singapore things are still orderly and safe at least as long as you are vigilant and extend the butt-flaps.

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Post by macaroonie » Thu, 13 Aug 2009 9:32 am

Gosh i think men like you are extinct these days SMS! Good for you though, being able to put up with all of this for the one you love

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Post by Addadude » Thu, 13 Aug 2009 10:15 am

macaroonie wrote:Good for you though, being able to put up with all of this for the one you love
Oh please. If the only thing you have to worry about is ensuring that all your business dealings here are in writing then you can't really complain that much. Try a month or two in Saudi or 5 minutes in Nigeria to discover what hell is really like.

Really, Singapore is a VERY easy place to live in. Once you understand the local culture and realise that this place is NOT Europe or the US, it's perfectly easy to adapt. In fact, you can easily turn this worship of money at all costs to your own advantage if you are smart enough.

And frankly, being cynical about anything to do with money will stand you in good stead anywhere in the world.
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 13 Aug 2009 11:38 am

As I get older, I think more and more like my mom! If we acknowledge that we are actually aging (slowing down) then there is more reason to not trust anybody with regards to money because everybody knows that "old folks are considered easy targets". At 82 my mom's sharp as a tack (reads 4 major newspapers a day and one local and manages the farm in my stead). I don't worry as most where we live know she doesn't take squat from anybody (she even bucked the good ole boy network and pinned their ears back good. :o )

It's just good practice in Asia to get as much as humanly possible in black & white. It's also a simple habit to instill. If I want something from somebody, I also want black & white. If somebody wants something from me, then whether or not they want black & white is their business as my word is all I need to deliver, but if I am expecting something from them in return? Black & White as far as possible.

And yeah, if you think it's rough here, I'd have to go with addadude's suggestions.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by littlegreenman » Thu, 13 Aug 2009 2:17 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:...And yeah, if you think it's rough here, I'd have to go with addadude's suggestions.
Back with the Nigerians, eh? :D

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Post by macaroonie » Fri, 14 Aug 2009 9:37 am

This probably didn't come out clearly. Singapore has sold itself to the outside world as a first world country, as a clean, safe, low crime place, a place full of opportunities, big investments in business, research, etc etc, english speaking, big ambitions, wanting to be the harvard of the east etc etc etc... when we are bombarded with such claims, other expectations such as being a fair country with rules and regulations protecting all, of a country that is at least on par with manners and graciousness of the west. When we are exposed to pretty much the opposite, it comes as a shock. I haven't gone through the extent that SMS has described, but i have heard and read it more than once on this forum.

It is not about comparing our experience here to Nigerians etc.. what it is is a miss-match of expectations, of what is perceived outside and what the reality is on the inside. Is it fair to compare our experiences in a supposed first world country with Nigeria?? It's like a 10 yr old child with no physical abnormalities - if you praise them for being able to walk by saying great at least you don't just know how to crawl, is this a fair comparison when the child should be able to run?

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