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Leaving the country and getting security deposit back..?

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Leaving the country and getting security deposit back..?

Post by StockAnswer » Tue, 03 Nov 2009 12:47 pm

I wanted to know about other folks experiences about getting their security deposit back when properly concluding their tenancy and leaving Singapore.

From some other posting I remember reading that the landlord had 2 weeks to refund the security deposit.

If this is the case I am wondering whether anyone has experienced not getting their deposit back?

Part of the reason for this is that I suspect my landlady has money problems, well, at least because of the certified letters we keep getting from some law offices. Some time ago there were some people looking for her at our place; we were not at home but the condo management informed us that there were people looking for her and that there was "some serious problem".

So I suspect that if I were to leave Singapore, my landlady might no longer have the $6K we gave her as deposit. I should of course have placed the money on some kind of a joint or escrow account instead.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 03 Nov 2009 3:44 pm


Unfortunately, it this country, way to often. They rarely "put it into escrow". Normally, they spend it and then find excuses or "repairs" that you will be liable for so as to eat up the deposit. There is no renters board where deposits are held as I've heard there are in some countries. I'd never heard of them but someone mentioned them on this forum a couple of months ago. Generally, you don't get to "leave in good graces" and quite often the norm is to just not pay the last months rent in order to eat up the deposit yourself.

Good luck. You might need it.

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Post by StockAnswer » Tue, 03 Nov 2009 4:05 pm

Thank you for your reply sundaymorningstaple.

What you are saying explains why I did not find any information about the "escrow" type of accounts before getting this apartment...

They have that system e.g. in Australia were I lived before and it worked nicely.

But would it really be possible to not to pay the last months rent, I mean I thought the landowner can kick you out quite soon after they have not received the rent?

And do they have the system here (like in USA) that evictions are handled by law enforcement personnel?

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Post by teck21 » Wed, 04 Nov 2009 2:43 pm

StockAnswer wrote:And do they have the system here (like in USA) that evictions are handled by law enforcement personnel?
Strictly speaking, yes. But of course, I am sure landlords have simply waltzed into properties and tossed everything out and changed the locks. And I have no idea what recourse the tenant has that is not more trouble than it's worth.

Such is the state of consumer protection in this country. The letter of the law is strong, the spirit is non-existent.

Tenancy laws are actually very favourable to the tenant here, it's just that the means of enforcement are sufficiently onerous to make them null and void.

You might want to do a bankruptcy search on your landlord here:
Costs $6. Doubt it will be useful since your landlord may be in all sorts of financial trouble without having been made bankrupt yet.

At least if the result is positive, you know exactly what you should do.

Drag your feet on paying the last month's rent, act BLUR! You are out of the country etc etc.

Acrually, do the same thing even if the result shows up nothing. Given what is happening, there exists significant uncertainty (to say the least) as to your landlord's eventual ability to refund you your deposit in part or in full.

I've actually been thinking about this escrow issue and can't help but think there is a simple way to do it. Quite simply, upon signing of the tenancy agreement, the secuirty deposit simply gets deposited into a jiont bank bank account between the tenant and the landlord, in which transactions require both signatures.

That way, upon tenancy expiry or termination, both parties simply must come to some sort of agreement as to the refund or else everyone loses.

I can see how this could potentially greatly disadvantage the landlord but perhaps there are ways to tweak it to make it equitable.

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Post by jpatokal » Wed, 04 Nov 2009 4:30 pm

StockAnswer wrote:But would it really be possible to not to pay the last months rent, I mean I thought the landowner can kick you out quite soon after they have not received the rent?
I usually wouldn't recommend this: if you do not pay the last month's rent, you'll be in breach of contract, the landlord can sue you for damages, and yes, they can kick out quite fast after non-payment (usually around one week, check your contract).

However, since you're leaving Singapore permanently and you know that your landlord is in serious financial trouble, it's probably worth the risk. Plan ahead: ship out your stuff before the last month, and like teck21 said, act blur. If you can leave Singapore a little early, all the better... and as long as the amount you owe here matches the amount she owes you, she's unlikely to sue you, because you could sue her right back.
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Post by econoMIC » Wed, 04 Nov 2009 4:50 pm

I did the "using the deposit as the last month's rent" when I left Singapore. I have to add that my landlord was great though. Because they went on holiday they looked at the flat three days before I left and I just popped the keys in the letterbox when I left. There was quite a bit of trust there. So I would say it depends on who your landlord is.
a.k.a. littlegreenman

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