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Landlord's refurbishment forcing business to close

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BaliMan
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Landlord's refurbishment forcing business to close

Postby BaliMan » Mon, 31 Aug 2009 9:41 pm

I seek kind advice on following matter. My friend operates an F&B business and are the only tenant in the premises. The premises is quite old and it's why it can't attract more tenants.

Just recently, the landlord informed us of early termination of the rental as they plan a major refurbishment work. My friend was given 6 months before he discontinues the business. However, the works had started even 4 months before the tenancy ends. It caused serious impacts on his business whereby the sales dropped by 65% and the cash flow turned negative immediately. Due to this, he then decided to close the business earlier as it is no longer feasible to run the business. He had no choice but to retrench the staffs and sell all restaurant equipment very cheaply.

He presented this case to the landlord agent asking for compensation and rental reduction. Until now no reply from the landlord and their agent even urged him to settle the last monthly rental payment asap. Certainly, he can not pay unless it is deducted from the rental deposit. Through the agent, he has requested a meeting directly with the landlord to explain this, but no answer.

Anyone please advise how to address this issue. To be frank, he can't afford to bring up this matter legally. Any free legal services in Singapore that can help.

Many thanks.

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ksl
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Re: Landlord's refurbishment forcing business to close

Postby ksl » Tue, 01 Sep 2009 1:58 am

BaliMan wrote:I seek kind advice on following matter. My friend operates an F&B business and are the only tenant in the premises. The premises is quite old and it's why it can't attract more tenants.

Just recently, the landlord informed us of early termination of the rental as they plan a major refurbishment work. My friend was given 6 months before he discontinues the business. However, the works had started even 4 months before the tenancy ends. It caused serious impacts on his business whereby the sales dropped by 65% and the cash flow turned negative immediately. Due to this, he then decided to close the business earlier as it is no longer feasible to run the business. He had no choice but to retrench the staffs and sell all restaurant equipment very cheaply.

He presented this case to the landlord agent asking for compensation and rental reduction. Until now no reply from the landlord and their agent even urged him to settle the last monthly rental payment asap. Certainly, he can not pay unless it is deducted from the rental deposit. Through the agent, he has requested a meeting directly with the landlord to explain this, but no answer.

Anyone please advise how to address this issue. To be frank, he can't afford to bring up this matter legally. Any free legal services in Singapore that can help.

Many thanks.
small claims court, although you will need all the documentation to back up your story...like the 6 months written notice, and some proof that the landlord started the works, before your contract finished. It would obviously damage your revenue, although you will have to document the revenue before and after the work started. You have a good case and it's not that expensive to take them to the small claims court. There is free legal advice in Singapore in designated HDB community areas. call into one of the Community offices and ask about the free legal advice.

BaliMan
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Postby BaliMan » Tue, 01 Sep 2009 9:29 pm

Thanks all for the advice.

There was in fact one more issue I seek for advice. The term of contract was 2 years. After about six months, the premises was bought over by the new landlord. My friend was then informed and asked to sign a new contract for novation (replacing a party to an agreement with a new party). Without his knowledge, the termination of service was changed from 12 to 6 months. He was not aware of that and no one informed him about the amendment. Is it legally possible in the case of novation, the old or new landlord amended the contract?

Again many thanks for your helps.

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ksl
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Postby ksl » Tue, 01 Sep 2009 11:44 pm

BaliMan wrote:Thanks all for the advice.

There was in fact one more issue I seek for advice. The term of contract was 2 years. After about six months, the premises was bought over by the new landlord. My friend was then informed and asked to sign a new contract for novation (replacing a party to an agreement with a new party). Without his knowledge, the termination of service was changed from 12 to 6 months. He was not aware of that and no one informed him about the amendment. Is it legally possible in the case of novation, the old or new landlord amended the contract?

Again many thanks for your helps.


Without his knowledge, the termination of service was changed from 12 to 6 months.
I think it's only reasonable to believe that your friend had signed the contract and that contract would stand, if he didn't read the contract before signing, it is his own fault that he didn't read the amendment! Now I am no legal expert at all, so please do not take my word for it, I am just replying in what i believe to be a logical process....This signing of new contract could have been done with deliberat intent, to distract the person while trying to read the document could happen. It's quite often done by agents on commissions, known as closers, although more often seen in the time share industry. A good closer can make you sign your life away before you know it, just to get his commission, although the court of arbitration, would consider all evidence before making any judgment. For every cause there is an effect, and for every effect there is a cause it will be looked at closely and many legal questions from the court will be asked regarding legal procedures with intended novation. Only a court can decide that.

brittanny
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Postby brittanny » Wed, 02 Sep 2009 9:17 am

in this case, it is a novation of the old landlord's rights/obligations to the new landlord, and yes it is possible to have amendment provisions in this deed.

i also assume that your friend's signature was witnessed by a third person (the agent?), and having all relevant parties signing, these parties have consented to and acknowledged the novation and amendment.

i don't mean to rub salt to the wound, but moral of the story is : before putting your signature on any paper, do read the fine prints.

all the best.


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