Payment of agent rental commission

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Payment of agent rental commission

Post by JayCee » Thu, 13 May 2010 5:51 pm

Hi all,

Hopefully I can get some help here, it's been a long time since I posted but I read quite regularly and have found a lot of useful information before :)

My situation is as follows: We saw an advert online for a condo near dover road so my girlfriend called up and then viewed it the next day, she liked it.

Amongst the usual questions she asked the agent if there are any fees to pay, as she knows that when I moved into my current condo in 2008 the agent did not charge me any fees because the rent was over $2500 but this practice seemed to have been dying out a bit. The agent informed her that there were no fees to pay because his company claim the commission from the landlord for rents above 3000 (we negotiated a price of 3100 and 2 year contract). She liked the place so the 'no fee' part sealed the deal and she signed the letter of intent that day. I went to view the place the next day and was happy so we signed the tenancy agreement with the landlord there and paid up the month's advance rent and the 2 months deposit, this was all fine as it's what I did when I got my current place.

That was just over a week ago, so we are now just waiting for our move in date at the end of June to come around, however today I get an email from the agent stating the following:

Hi Ms X, Mr X,

Here's some update news regards to the unit mention above.

1. (Not important here).
2. (Not important here)
3. Regards to the commission of the rental, according to new regulations, any rental of lesser den $3.5K monthly is bearable by both party as of 1st of May 2010.


Now this bit I am obviously not happy about. My girlfriend first viewed the place on 3rd May and we signed the tenancy agreement on the 4th, both these dates are after 1st May and no mention was made on either day of 'new regulations' around commissions. As far as I know, these commission regulations are not regulations at all as different agents seem to do different things.

I'm just going to tell the agent no chance we're not paying, get it from the landlord and if he won't pay then tough luck, one of the reasons we took the flat so quickly was because there were no fees, if we had to pay we would have looked at a few more and probably used my old agent who still does not charge fees for rents above 2500.

So I guess my question is - does anyone know anything about these 'new regulations' that supposedly came in on 1st May and are we legally obliged to pay anything?

Thanks a lot
JC

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Re: Payment of agent rental commission

Post by Saint » Fri, 14 May 2010 8:51 am

JayCee wrote:
1. (Not important here).
2. (Not important here)
3. Regards to the commission of the rental, according to new regulations, any rental of lesser den $3.5K monthly is bearable by both party as of 1st of May 2010.


Now this bit I am obviously not happy about. My girlfriend first viewed the place on 3rd May and we signed the tenancy agreement on the 4th, both these dates are after 1st May and no mention was made on either day of 'new regulations' around commissions. As far as I know, these commission regulations are not regulations at all as different agents seem to do different things.

I'm just going to tell the agent no chance we're not paying, get it from the landlord and if he won't pay then tough luck, one of the reasons we took the flat so quickly was because there were no fees, if we had to pay we would have looked at a few more and probably used my old agent who still does not charge fees for rents above 2500.

So I guess my question is - does anyone know anything about these 'new regulations' that supposedly came in on 1st May and are we legally obliged to pay anything?

Thanks a lot
JC
Absolute bollox (excuse my French) this is a complete lie, there are no official regulations concerning agent's fees, only guidelines.

Anyway, commission has to be paid immediately upon execution of the TA by the Landlord and Tenant. I'm guessing the Landlord is now refusing to pay the Agent his fees so he's concocted this "new regulation" to try and get it out of you.

I would personally go back to the agent and advise him that you will be reporting him to his Company and the appropiate authorities.

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Re: Payment of agent rental commission

Post by JayCee » Fri, 14 May 2010 10:53 am

Saint wrote:
Absolute bollox (excuse my French) this is a complete lie, there are no official regulations concerning agent's fees, only guidelines.

Anyway, commission has to be paid immediately upon execution of the TA by the Landlord and Tenant. I'm guessing the Landlord is now refusing to pay the Agent his fees so he's concocted this "new regulation" to try and get it out of you.

I would personally go back to the agent and advise him that you will be reporting him to his Company and the appropiate authorities.
Thank you very much for your reply, you are indeed a Saint sir :)

That was pretty much my feeling too, there are no government regulations and only guidelines which agents may or may not choose to abide by, in his case it sounds like he didn't get an agreement with the landlord in writing about his fees so now he's trying it on with us to make up his shortfall. I'll be informing he that we won't pay and as the tenancy agreement is already signed there isn't anything that he can do, I'll also suggest that I'd like to speak with his boss about these new regulations and see what he says to that (methinks the problem may go away :lol: )

Thanks again

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Post by AliciaCC » Fri, 14 May 2010 11:50 am

when me and my roomies are planning to renew the contract with the landlord, the agent contacted us and told us "by law you have to pay the agent fee every time you renew your contract". we said: BULLSH*T!

did i mention that we paid the agent fee as 1 month rent? our rent is around 4 k. Because all of us were new to SG, we have no idea about that regulation at all by then....

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Post by JayCee » Fri, 14 May 2010 2:33 pm

I mailed the agent and told him we're not paying and surprisingly he replied and said he understands and hasn't pushed the issue anymore, whether that will last who knows.

As a point of interest for others that may be confused by the whole 'Rent is more than X amount per month, do I pay a fee?' issue, I gave MDN (ministry of national development) a call and they redirected me to IRAS who informed me that there are no such regulations for agent commissions and payment of commission basically just a private agreement between agent and tenant/landlord to be sorted out between them. So for an agent to say there are regulations is, as Saint said, a downright lie. If an agent says they don't charge the tenant for rent over a certain amount then that's their company policy and not a government regulation.

If anyone is interested the number for IRAS 63512468

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Post by observer » Sun, 16 May 2010 11:04 am

AliciaCC wrote:when me and my roomies are planning to renew the contract with the landlord, the agent contacted us and told us "by law you have to pay the agent fee every time you renew your contract". we said: BULLSH*T!

did i mention that we paid the agent fee as 1 month rent? our rent is around 4 k. Because all of us were new to SG, we have no idea about that regulation at all by then....
Not quite BS. It should be in your tenancy agreement.

To Jaycee, thanks for the confirmation. Most threads on this have said pretty much the same thing. Clearly your agent was pulling a fast one, and I would even think that maybe he tried to squeeze an additional commission out of you, as well as the landlord.

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Post by JayCee » Tue, 25 May 2010 12:38 pm

The plot thickens...


One thing I didn't mention in my previous posts was that after receiving the request from the agent for a commission fee, I called up the landlord and asked him whether the agent had been asking him for more money too.

He told me that he'd not received any requests for more money from the agent but the cheque for the first month's rent had bounced. To explain, this was not my cheque but rather a cheque from the agent. What happened was that when my girlfriend did the letter of intent on the evening she saw the place, as it was late and I wasn't there to give a cheque the agent wrote a cheque for the first month's rent which he gave to the landlord.

The next day I wrote a cheque addressed to the agent to re-inburse him for this, I saw the receipt for the cheque he had given the landlord from his own account and the cheque number so it all looked fine. I gave the landlord a cheque for the 2 months deposit addressed to him when we signed the tenancy agreement and it was discussed then that the agent had already given the landlord a cheque for the first month's rent hence why I gave a cheque for the first months's rent to the agent and not the landlord. Everyone seemed happy and no queries.


Fast forward to now and the landlord has been pursuing the agent for the one month's rental that he is owed (and which we have already paid to the agent) for the last couple of weeks and still has not received it. The agent has been uncontactable so the landlord has now gone to his company to complain and demand his money from them, I am in constant contact with the landlord as to the situation.


All this shouldn't really affect us as tenants because we have paid everything that we should, however in discussions with the landlord he suggested that if he's unable to recoup the money from the agent would we split it with him, so we basically pay him $1550 to compensate for the $3100 he's lost. Clearly I'm not too keen on this because it should be a matter between landlord and agent, however the landlord still has the keys and we've also requested a few things like a washing machine, new coat of paint etc... for the place when we move in, so I don't want to flat out refuse and piss him off because I would imagine all the things we've requested likely won't get done then and having a bad landlord for 2 years is not my idea of fun.

So right now we're just waiting on a update from the landlord regarding his complaint to ERA the agent's company, hopefully it gets sorted but if not I guess I'll have to stump up another $1500 :x


As a sidenote, I've been considering whether to move back home in a couple of years or whether to take out PR and stay in Singapore long-term and this has more or less made my mind up for me. For a supposed first world developed country Singapore in very lawless and backwards in a lot of ways and the rip off culture here is gradually wearing me down, which is a shame because Singapore has a lot of things going for it too

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Post by daytripper65 » Tue, 25 May 2010 3:58 pm

Hi,

Sorry to hear about your experience. It's hard to understand in such a regulated country why realtors and agents are allowed to run amok like this with essentially no accountability to anyone.

From your first post, it seems that the agent represents the landlord, and is not somebody you engaged to show you places. If that's the situation, I wouldn't be too keen to compensate the extra $1500. If you have proof that your check was cashed and this agent basically stole your money, I would invest your energy in reclaiming it from the company by whatever means necessary, and reporting them to whatever agencies oversee these things, IF any.

The landlord should understand and assist you with this, and not withhold the agreed upon updates OR have any animosity toward anyone aside from this no good agent. He has more to lose if you get fed up and walk away from this and pursue your own losses with the agent.

Don't worry about hard feelings, this is a business matter and the wronged party is very clear. Stand firm, and don't part with your money just to make things more convenient for him.

Good luck!
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Post by JayCee » Tue, 25 May 2010 4:37 pm

Yes you're absolutely right the agent was not representing us as we just replied to an internet ad and had we not been interested in the place we would have just answered other ads rather than engaging his services. I didn't think of that but it's something I will mention to the landlord if he pushes us for more money, the guy was his agent and not ours so it's really not our problem. For now it was just a suggestion to split when we spoke on the phone earlier but we're waiting to see if he gets anywhere with ERA before we discuss it.

Certainly your point "The landlord should understand and assist you with this, and not withhold the agreed upon updates OR have any animosity toward anyone aside from this no good agent. He has more to lose if you get fed up and walk away from this and pursue your own losses with the agent. " does make sense to me and the landlord to his credit has seemed pretty reasonable about the whole thing so far but of course who knows if things could change.

We both stand to lose if we all walk away and the agent can't be found (we lose the one month's rent and he loses the commission that he has already paid to ERA plus the rent we'll be paying him for the next 2 years) so it makes more sense for everyone for us to move on the date agreed in the tenancy agreement and for the landlord to pursue the agent further (he's singaporean so I would estimate he'll have a better chance of success than us as foreigners too)


I think I will let my girlfriend handle things if it gets to the point where the landlord wants us to split the losses as she's a very tough negotiator (I guess growing up in China helped with that :) ) and much better at it than me being from the UK where we're used to get ripped off and don't make as much fuss about it as we should

Thanks a lot for your help

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Post by macaroonie » Tue, 25 May 2010 4:45 pm

There was an article in a local newspaper yesterday about a somewhat similar scenario... the landlord apparently had found tenants and got their deposits, and in the meantime kept looking for more tenants and taking their deposits, even though he already had rented the place out. It turns out that all the different parties made individual police reports and the guy got 16 months jail!

Why don't you consider reporting this to the police? I hope you have the agent's NRIC.

Good luck! and keep us posted

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Post by JayCee » Tue, 25 May 2010 5:28 pm

Not sure if I have his NRIC but I certainly have proof that the cash was checked (it shows up on my bank statement) and the name to whom it was addressed. We'll give it a couple more days then will report it to the police as theft of our money by the agent, the landlord is on the verge of doing it anyway so we might aswell go down there with him.


As a warning to others, the agent's name is Ken Peh and he works for ERA (not Kenneth Peh of ERA as he is another agent there, this one is just Ken), I have a link to his main page on a property site with his picutre which I'm not allowed to post a link to here. If anyone wants to know who he is PM me
Last edited by JayCee on Thu, 03 Jun 2010 7:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Saint » Tue, 25 May 2010 5:39 pm

JayCee wrote:Not sure if I have his NRIC but I certainly have proof that the cash was checked (it shows up on my bank statement) and the name to whom it was addressed. We'll give it a couple more days then will report it to the police as theft of our money by the agent, the landlord is on the verge of doing it anyway so we might aswell go down there with him.


As a warning to others, the agent's name is Ken Peh and he works for ERA (not Kenneth Peh of ERA as he is another agent there, this one is just Ken), I have a link to his main page on a property site with his picutre which I'm not allowed to post a link to here. If anyone wants to know who he is PM me
Stomp him!

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 25 May 2010 6:22 pm

Saint wrote: Stomp him!
Good idea.
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Post by morenangpinay » Wed, 26 May 2010 1:27 am

couple months ago i posted a problem bout our landlord as well. we were promised to move in on a certain date which turns out we cant coz the old tenant is still living in the apartment. we still got to move in at a later date but we werent able to recover some of the expenses we had during the time we couldnt move in...annndd now he is kicking us out ..only 6 months after we moved in. And he claims that the contract is 6 mos. only.he has only given us 2 wks notice on our move out date and now we're soooooooo tired of encountering these kinds of landlord.

my other friend told me another experience where the landlord turned off their electricity which forced them to move out even though their lease isnt finished yet.

i really hope the government does something about this...if its a big problem and too many people are encountering the same problems the government should step in.

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Post by NBB2 » Wed, 26 May 2010 5:35 am

morenangpinay wrote:
i really hope the government does something about this...if its a big problem and too many people are encountering the same problems the government should step in.
The are. They did. It's pretty safe to say that the concept of self-regulation isn't working. So, in fact just a few weeks back, the government announced a new set of rules that will make it that much more difficult for agents to "run amok" and get away with it.

Bit of a bummer for all the bona fide agents. But in the end if the entire profession can this way rid itself of the rotten apples, then the industry and we, the customers, are all the better off for it.

BTW, I've been here almost 5 years, but I've yet to meet a dodgy agent or landlord.

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