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Landlord refusing security deposit

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k1w1
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Postby k1w1 » Fri, 02 Apr 2010 8:19 pm

The landlord is only allowed to with hold money from the deposit for items that are listed in the TA. That's why they are often extremely detailed (down to number of air-con remotes, keys and light fixtures etc - my current TA has even listed drapes and kitchen cupboards).

X9200, have you ever done a handover? The final inspection is done then, and both parties have to agree to what the damages are (if any) and what will be deducted for that. This is all documented and signed by both parties and then the tenant hands the keys over... The landlord is trying to change this now after the tenant has signed it. That just won't hold up in a court no matter how you try to spin it out.

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Postby x9200 » Fri, 02 Apr 2010 9:00 pm

k1w1 wrote:X9200, have you ever done a handover? The final inspection is done then, and both parties have to agree to what the damages are (if any) and what will be deducted for that. This is all documented and signed by both parties and then the tenant hands the keys over... The landlord is trying to change this now after the tenant has signed it. That just won't hold up in a court no matter how you try to spin it out.

Yes. I've done it after staying 7 years in one place but still, the way it is done is up to both parties to agree so it is not necessarily the way you described as there is no law governing it. What I described earlier is based on general, civil law. If you have a situation as you described, meaning that both parties AGREED upon something at the moment of the handover then this is valid and I have no objections here. In such case everything should be documented and signed to avoid later some nasty surprises.

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Postby ksl » Sat, 03 Apr 2010 1:18 pm

x9200 wrote:
k1w1 wrote:X9200, have you ever done a handover? The final inspection is done then, and both parties have to agree to what the damages are (if any) and what will be deducted for that. This is all documented and signed by both parties and then the tenant hands the keys over... The landlord is trying to change this now after the tenant has signed it. That just won't hold up in a court no matter how you try to spin it out.

Yes. I've done it after staying 7 years in one place but still, the way it is done is up to both parties to agree so it is not necessarily the way you described as there is no law governing it. What I described earlier is based on general, civil law. If you have a situation as you described, meaning that both parties AGREED upon something at the moment of the handover then this is valid and I have no objections here. In such case everything should be documented and signed to avoid later some nasty surprises.


X9200 actually you are not quite right at all, the tenant does not have to agree at all, they are just interested in getting the property, that is why the Landlord draws up a contract in his favour and not the tenants.

Most tenants are just not experienced enough in dealing with property rental contracts in various Countries, and can be easy to hoodwink, though if you have experience and a systematic approach of your own high standards, which will in fact be different to mine, you may have a chance of not losing your money.

The more regimental you are in your check in, the safer your deposit is, even if the landlord doesn't agree to your checkin, you still have the proof that you had checked the property in a systematic way and logged all the faults.
Signing a rental contract is not based on two people agreeing anything at all other than paying the rental and deposit. If you do not sign you do not get it and one is not at liberty to change the contract to favour a tenant.

A check list doesn't have to be mentioned at all, and it is not in the landlords favour to mention it! That's how tenants fall prey to landlords.

Though even when the tenant fills in a check list, there are those unethical Landlords that still will not sign or agree to the list.
Even if you take it to court. It is the judge that decides hopefully in your favour when you present the evidence, because Singapore is inclined to favour the landlords over tenants unless you have the proof.

You need to think like Landlord V's Tenant or is it Tenant V's Landlord and not two people agreeing, because one party may just change their mind, You as a tenant have to defend yourself and not admit liability, evidence and proof is the only way. Landlords are strangers and should be treated with caution, even the nicest of person can change, when it comes to money.


Some more food for thought is about car accidents, I have seen here in Singapore, just how naive and stupid people are, when one blames the other for the accident, because one is not 100% sure if they are in the right or wrong, they give in and offer to pay for the damage, without going through the insurance.

Military first word of warning, never ever admit liability, secondly draw a diagram of how the accident occurred, take measurements and witness statements.....because you has a soldier are trained to a higher standard and have routine in driving. If you are negligent you will be punished by two courts of law civilian and military.

Unless you know full well that you caused the accident, you can call the bluff of the other driver, again its how experienced you are at driving and how well you understand the driving code of practise.

I was photographed in the bus lane, and a fine of 130$ was sent to me, on my appeal, the fine was rescinded, because i made a diagram to prove, i was in the right and all the other drivers, where in fact guilty of not allowing me in the driving lane. If you notice at any junction turning left, you are filtered into the road on the far left approaching the bus lane, though traffic must allow you into the driving lane if you are indicating, but rarely do Singaporeans give way.

With a bus behind me, if i stop outside the bus lane, I cause an obstruction to the bus, if i drive on the bus will be on time.....who's at fault, obviously the drivers, that do not allow me into the bus lane.

I recommend that Singaporean traffic police clamp down on bad drivers, to improve the standards, hit their pockets and they will soon get the message that good driving skills include also road courtesy.

It's really not at all difficult to have high standards of doing most things, if you have the interest and experience to learn from mistakes one makes on life's journey.

If you know you are going to move house many times, then make a systemised plan of action of checking each room. door frames, locks & keys, move left to right, check all walls and window frames, locks & keys, then ceiling and light fittings, last the floor for stains, cracks scratches and other defects, before moving to the next room also pelmets should be dust free.

All toilets should function with no blocked drainage flush toilets, check sinks and pipes by running water and inspect for leaks, check wall tiles and floor tiles for damp by tapping, hollow sound will indicate the tile is not stuck to the plaster or wall a large area will indicate water seeping through the membrane at floor level, check cupboard hinges and draws.

I've moved over 20 times in my short life in many different countries, and each one has their own landlord sharks, though Singapore appears to have the most, because of no tenant protection, so evidence is required to beat the odds of losing some or all of your deposit. Last of all if the landlord or agent refuses to sign the list you made, seal it in a envelope and get the post office to date stamp the back over the seal, to show its not been opened. Post it to yourself and keep it in case any dispute goes to court, only then let the judge open the sealed envelope with the date stamp intact..

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 03 Apr 2010 3:12 pm

Ksl, I simply think we do not understand each other as I completely see no contradiction between what I said and what you said.

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Postby ksl » Sat, 03 Apr 2010 5:50 pm

x9200 wrote:Ksl, I simply think we do not understand each other as I completely see no contradiction between what I said and what you said.
Sorry, you are right I must have misunderstood, brain cells are not what they used to be :cry: and SMS never lets me forget it! :shock:

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 03 Apr 2010 7:06 pm

No need to be sorry, it is usually both sides :)

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Postby ksl » Tue, 06 Apr 2010 12:53 pm

x9200 wrote:No need to be sorry, it is usually both sides :)
Just thought i would post this link because it is a helpful website, there are also real cases with judgments on contract law. Some things are clear cut, other things are not so clear and need looking into more closely. Though I am no expert, i have studied contract law in Denmark, Singapore however may have amendments, though mostly use the UK laws.

http://www.singaporelaw.sg/content/ContractLaw.html

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Postby visitanamika » Sat, 10 Apr 2010 3:47 am

Thanks all.. filed the claim at SCT and attended the first mediation session (no positive outcome from it) - looking forward to the hearing.

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 10 Apr 2010 7:09 am

visitanamika wrote:Thanks all.. filed the claim at SCT and attended the first mediation session (no positive outcome from it) - looking forward to the hearing.

Good luck and please keep us informed on the progress.

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Postby wade_jumpman » Thu, 22 Apr 2010 3:10 pm

visitanamika wrote:Thanks all.. filed the claim at SCT and attended the first mediation session (no positive outcome from it) - looking forward to the hearing.


Hi Visitanamika and everyone here.

As I was checking the web for any advice/idea/solution to a similar problem that I have with the landlord I saw your post here. Can give me an idea of how much it cost you?

Just to share with you guys, when my housemates and I signed the contract last, it is for 2 years. In the contract, there is a clause that goes something like this "if the owner decides to sell the house and end the contract, the owner must provide a written notice period..". But the thing is that contract didn't specify the number of months it should be.

Last 26 March we received a written notice from the owner giving us 2 months notice as she has already sold the place and decided to let us use 1 of the 2 months deposit that gave her initially.

So upon knowing this, we looked for a new place and got lucky and found 1 right away. We have already signed the new contract for our new place and as per the agreement we would be moving in on the 1st of May. That being said, we advised the agent of our situation and asked her to let the owner know that we would be moving out by end of April since our billing cycle is every 1st of the month. When we asked about the remaining 1 month deposit, the owner said that she won't give it back to us and instead wants us to use it saying that she gave us 2 months notice therefor we must consume it before she calls it quits.

Just to give you an idea of the condition of the house. The unit is in good living condition. A perfect testament of this is that the owner was able to sell the house immediately. There are just a couple of damages but those damages occurred beyond our control e.g. 1 of the light sockets in the ceiling is falling off after her handyman changed the light bulb. Our ceiling is more than 2x my height (I'm 177 cm) so it is obviously not our fault. We already advised the agent and the owner about this several times but she is not doing anything about it.


I already asked the agent that we would like to talk with the owner in person with her as an audience to reason and convince her to give back the money since she was the one who ended the contract, we she get the money back since we wont be using the premises anymore beyond 30 April.

What I am thinking here is that she just doesn't want to lose that additional earning not until the new owners of the unit has decided to take full control of it. What do you think? Isn't reasonable to only pay for what we will be using? Mind you, she wants us to stay there for 1 more month so that we would be able to consume the remaining deposit before she calls it even.

When worse comes to worst and the owner has decided not to return any of our deposit, I am thinking of going to SCT. What do you think of our chances getting back the deposit?

Apologies for the lengthiness of my post. I just want all of you to have the most information as possible for your to make your balanced assessment of the situation.

Your opinions are highly appreciated.

Thanks!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 22 Apr 2010 4:03 pm

SCT is probably your only hope. What has probably happened is that she doesn't have the deposit. She probably spent in on a vacation and that's why she want's you to stay for the two months so she doesn't have to cough up the bread. This is typical behaviour here as there is not central deposit repository like in some other countries.

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Postby visitanamika » Wed, 28 Apr 2010 11:13 pm

Folks..

There is hope at SCT. I went all the way this Monday to the hearing and won (the greedy owner did not take up offer during the mediation and he came worse off in the hearing). The whole procedure costs only $10 - it is quite effective as the judgment is systematic and evidence driven. Will write a more detailed post this weekend.

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Postby Caesar712 » Wed, 17 Nov 2010 8:07 pm

Hi,

I am also having problem of getting back my security deposit.
Can you please tell me more on your case? How you file your case and what documents or evidence to provide to win the case?

thank you

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Postby tenant » Sat, 05 May 2012 8:55 pm

k1w1 wrote:You definitely can take this to small claims court. As KSL said, he cannot add things after the handover is done! It has been signed and agreed to, and he has 14 days to return the deposit from that date.

You may find just the threat of small claims court is enough. I did this once and got my money in 24 hours. I also have colleagues who paid a lawyer $100 to write them a letter claiming their deposit was being unlawfully with-held and they'd claim the legal fees too. They got their money back immediately.

It's too late for this now, but I've also heard you're much better off just not paying the last month's rent.


Hi,

Could you please let me know how to proceed to give a notice from small claims court. Our landlord is holding the money from 3 weeks. He bluntly said that "I will not give you the deposit till one month".

He is renovating his whole house with our deposit. We returned the house in tenantable condition for that we did many electrical and wood works. But still landlord is said he will deduct 75% of my deposit.

All the repairs listed (room and ceiling paintings, etc) landlord doing should not be bared by the tenant (according the contract on which we signed.)

Any advices.

Thanks.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 06 May 2012 6:04 am

tenant wrote:
Hi,

Could you please let me know how to proceed to give a notice from small claims court. Our landlord is holding the money from 3 weeks. He bluntly said that "I will not give you the deposit till one month".


Try doing a search on keywords SCT and landlord, or SCT and deposit. Try both search buttons at the top right above. This will give you an idea of what and how people in your shoes have done before.

By the way, 2 weeks is regarded as a reasonable time-frame to return a deposit where deductions have been agreed with a landlord on checking-out from an apartment, so him suggesting a month is not on the face of it reasonable.


He is renovating his whole house with our deposit.

He might be, but you cannot prove this statement so it is better to stick with the facts you are certain of. Imagine any statement you make here or to the landlord in writing is being read out in court before a judge, it helps focus the mind.


We returned the house in tenantable condition for that we did many electrical and wood works. But still landlord is said he will deduct 75% of my deposit.

Has he provided you with a breakdown of how these deductions have been arrived at?

Also note that (speaking as a long-time landlord myself) tenant's carrying out 'improvements' is not a plus unless perhaps the tenant is a professional tradesman. In fact they are usually a total PITA and the landlord has to reverse them. Plus for example, I imagine that you are not qualified under Singaporean electrical regulations to carry out electrical works. So do not mention either of these as if anything it will detract from your case. Focus on the good condition that it was returned in instead.


All the repairs listed (room and ceiling paintings, etc) landlord doing should not be bared by the tenant (according the contract on which we signed.)

Any advices.

You should have returned the property in the same condition as which you received it in, with an allowance made for fair wear and tear. It helps a lot if you had a check-in and out inventory, or you took a record of photos on checking in/out etc.

Once you have your thoughts clearly together write to the landlord and give him fourteen days to return your deposit (or what you feel is the appropriate amount). Express yourself calmly and clearly.
- This is the situation as I see it.
- This is what you have said to me in reply.
- This is what I require you to do.
- This is when I require you to do it by.

If he refuses or ignores you then write again and tell him you are giving him seven days to comply otherwise you will take him to the SCT. If he still does not comply then take him to the SCT.

Keep copies of all correspondence, and if possible a diary of events and conversations as well, as compiling such evidence sometimes months after the event is difficult and another PITA.

Please let us know how you get on


Thanks.


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