Apartment Rental: Am I being cheated?

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revhappy
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Apartment Rental: Am I being cheated?

Post by revhappy » Sun, 05 Sep 2010 9:56 pm

Hi Guys,

This happened last Friday evening.I was looking at renting a new apartment. I saw an ad on one of the online classifieds in Sengkang 2+1, 1600$ PM. The ad said that 1 room would be locked. So I called up the agent and asked if the apartment was approved. She replied yes it was approved. Its just that the owner has some expensive things which he would like to lock in the master bedroom and hence he would like to lock the master room. I was fine with it so I went to view the apartment. It was really posh. It had Vitrified tiles, LCD TV and really looked like a very expensive apartment. Only negative was there was no aircon.

There was another couple who came apart from me to view the apartment. The agent who had put up the ad was actually the owners agent. And after viewing the apartment she asked what my offer was. I said 1.6k. She said if its 1.6k then I will have to give 2 months rental in advance, or else I will have to offer 1.7k pm for 1 yr lease term. I said I was willing to offer 1.6k with 2 months advance.

Later the other couple also liked the apartment and they were ready to offer 1.8k but needed aircon to be installed. The agent started pressurising me to up my offer. But I stuck my ground. Another thing they told me is that the owner will not accept check but only cash. Then they said that I could go home and then the owner would decide and let me know.

Later I got a call that the owner has selected me and they came to my house and wanted me to give cash and sign the letter of intent. They said I need to give 1 month advance as cash and the remaining 1 month advance and 1 month rent on the date of move-in. I agreed and gave them 1 month cash and then signed the letter of intent. The owner and me exchanged phone numbers.

On saturday afternoon, suddenly the owner calls me and tells me that the house is not approved and that he is going to apply to the HDB for the approval process. He also told me that in case the approval doesnt happen his will return my deposit on monday evening. I insisted that I need my deposit back right now. He said he is in JB and he will come on sunday and return my deposit on sunday. On Sunday he says that he has deposited the money in his current account and today being sunday he cannot withdraw it. So he can give me check or I will have to wait till monday.

I called up the agent and blasted her how could she tell me that the house is approved. She says that locking 1 room is ok and not illegal and they can do room rental aggreement. I told her I would like to get my cash back and not go ahead with deal. She said ok and she will try to set up a meeting with the owner to get my cash back.

So the current status is that the owner is going to try for HDB approval tomorrow and at 6pm he is going to either give me my cash back or we will go ahead with the aggreement.

Can you guys please let me know what I should do now? Now if the HDB gives approval to the owner then since I have already signed the letter of intent so if I cannot back off from the deal or else I will have to forfeit my deposit. But if the owner doesnt get the approval then can I lodge a complaint against the owner?

Please let me know my options? My move in date is 25th Sep.

Thanks in advance!

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Post by ksl » Mon, 06 Sep 2010 12:22 am

They new it was illegal in the first place, so i suspect they may have conned you, if they don't deliver your cash, I would get the police involved asap. No if's or but's.

You do not deal with anyone without getting their ID's all people have ID's here, you make a note of everything on the card, not just look at it and give it back!
You also need to check with HDB before parting with any monies to anyone!

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Post by Mad Scientist » Mon, 06 Sep 2010 1:46 am

Revhappy

If you have been living and working here, you would realise these monkeys like to eat bananas and climb on trees, how can you easily part your money just like that . This is very naive of you having reading your other post about investment and fund management and very frugal with what you want to do with your money , I really wonder.......
Go to the police and make a police report NOW..... as a back up and report this ruse to HDB. From the onset the agent and the LL are two bloody monkeys toying with you..
If everything goes to custard, you already have that to show proof to the agent and the Land lord that you meant business.
Even if he returns your money , please do not let other unsuspecting tenant get con by them. "Be a Man and do the right thing" as what Russell Peter said
These people ought to be thrown against the wall and be shot !!
Let us know if you need other advise.
The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.Yahoo !!!

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Post by x9200 » Mon, 06 Sep 2010 8:02 am

I think it is just a typical lousy way majority of such matters are carried on here. Makes not too much sense to call you on Saturday if this is a con. Now the owner is trying to buy some time to get the approval and keep the money he probably already spent.
Still, if this is not solved by the end of today I would report it to the police.

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Post by revhappy » Mon, 06 Sep 2010 10:34 am

x9200 wrote:... Makes not too much sense to call you on Saturday if this is a con. Now the owner is trying to buy some time to get the approval and keep the money he probably already spent...
Thats exactly what I am suspecting. I have verified from the HDB site that he is indeed the owner.

Now by evening the owner might actually get the approval from HDB, thats my worry. In that case I wont be able to get the money back. I dont want to go to that house now.

Also I read in another site that an owner can first get the letter of intent signed from a tenant and then go to the HDB to get approval. So as of now, there is nothing illegal that the owner has done. But the agent lied to me that the house is approved.

So I guess I have no choice other than wait till evening to see what game they are upto.

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Post by JaanJ » Mon, 06 Sep 2010 11:04 am

@revhappy - 999 should be on your Speed Dial by now. Or head to the nearest Police Post,

By right, agents should show the HDB Approval letter to the tenants during viewing of the house.

What crap stories the agent and landlord gave you. Report the agent to her company for lying in the first place.

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Post by revhappy » Mon, 06 Sep 2010 8:09 pm

Hi Guys,

I got my money back.

At 6:00pm when I called the owner asking him for cash he said he can give it at 8:00 PM. I was furious and asked him where he is and I would come there and collect the cash from him. He said he is in Sentosa!

I then hung up and sent him an SMS saying that if I dont get the cash today I will go to the police. He called up immediately and told me that he will meet me at Tampines Mart at 7 pm and hand over the cash.

He got delayed a bit, but he handed over the cash to me and I returned his reciept.

What a sigh of relief!

I am still not sure was the owner trying to con me.
There are plenty of ads on the internet which state that they would lock one room and then make a room rental agreement. Although it is illegal, this is rampantly followed here.

As a matter of fact look at this site, flatsdb

http://www.flatsdb.com/index.php?act=re ... &ID=790404

they infact have an option in their template to specify that one room is locked, that should give you an idea how common it is.

So this owner could have easily done the same thing and tenants he would have found tenants wanting to rent his house and take the risk.

I wonder why the agent initially told me that it is approved and then the owner call me the very next day saying it is not and that he can return me the cash. Very silly! All in all, my weekend was spoilt :(

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Post by x9200 » Mon, 06 Sep 2010 8:38 pm

revhappy wrote: There are plenty of ads on the internet which state that they would lock one room and then make a room rental agreement. Although it is illegal, this is rampantly followed here.
Why do you think it is illegal?

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Post by durain » Mon, 06 Sep 2010 8:45 pm

the low rental price is always the bait.

i bet the owner is in sentosa gambling with your money. luckily he won, so you got your money back :).

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Post by revhappy » Mon, 06 Sep 2010 8:51 pm

x9200 wrote:
revhappy wrote: There are plenty of ads on the internet which state that they would lock one room and then make a room rental agreement. Although it is illegal, this is rampantly followed here.
Why do you think it is illegal?
The rule is that if an owner has stayed in the house for 5 years(or whatever the minimum period is) he/she can rent out the whole unit.
If not they can sublet a room but the owner should be staying in the house.

But the workaround for this rule is that owners lock one room and do a tenancy for the rest of the house. The owner can then say that the room is occupied by him.Obviously if someone complains to HDB the owner could be fined, not sure about the amount, or even the HDB can take back the house from the owner.
durain wrote:the low rental price is always the bait.

i bet the owner is in sentosa gambling with your money. luckily he won, so you got your money back :).
:)
Few lessons learnt:
1. Never agree to pay more than 1 month rental
2. Never pay in cash
3. Insist on having a look at the HDB approval letter.

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Re: Apartment Rental: Am I being cheated?

Post by singaish » Tue, 07 Sep 2010 1:46 pm

revhappy wrote:Hi Guys,

This happened last Friday evening.I was looking at renting a new apartment. I saw an ad on one of the online classifieds in Sengkang 2+1, 1600$ PM. The ad said that 1 room would be locked. So I called up the agent and asked if the apartment was approved. She replied yes it was approved. Its just that the owner has some expensive things which he would like to lock in the master bedroom and hence he would like to lock the master room. I was fine with it so I went to view the apartment. It was really posh. It had Vitrified tiles, LCD TV and really looked like a very expensive apartment. Only negative was there was no aircon.

There was another couple who came apart from me to view the apartment. The agent who had put up the ad was actually the owners agent. And after viewing the apartment she asked what my offer was. I said 1.6k. She said if its 1.6k then I will have to give 2 months rental in advance, or else I will have to offer 1.7k pm for 1 yr lease term. I said I was willing to offer 1.6k with 2 months advance.

Later the other couple also liked the apartment and they were ready to offer 1.8k but needed aircon to be installed. The agent started pressurising me to up my offer. But I stuck my ground. Another thing they told me is that the owner will not accept check but only cash. Then they said that I could go home and then the owner would decide and let me know.

Later I got a call that the owner has selected me and they came to my house and wanted me to give cash and sign the letter of intent. They said I need to give 1 month advance as cash and the remaining 1 month advance and 1 month rent on the date of move-in. I agreed and gave them 1 month cash and then signed the letter of intent. The owner and me exchanged phone numbers.

On saturday afternoon, suddenly the owner calls me and tells me that the house is not approved and that he is going to apply to the HDB for the approval process. He also told me that in case the approval doesnt happen his will return my deposit on monday evening. I insisted that I need my deposit back right now. He said he is in JB and he will come on sunday and return my deposit on sunday. On Sunday he says that he has deposited the money in his current account and today being sunday he cannot withdraw it. So he can give me check or I will have to wait till monday.

I called up the agent and blasted her how could she tell me that the house is approved. She says that locking 1 room is ok and not illegal and they can do room rental aggreement. I told her I would like to get my cash back and not go ahead with deal. She said ok and she will try to set up a meeting with the owner to get my cash back.

So the current status is that the owner is going to try for HDB approval tomorrow and at 6pm he is going to either give me my cash back or we will go ahead with the aggreement.

Can you guys please let me know what I should do now? Now if the HDB gives approval to the owner then since I have already signed the letter of intent so if I cannot back off from the deal or else I will have to forfeit my deposit. But if the owner doesnt get the approval then can I lodge a complaint against the owner?

Please let me know my options? My move in date is 25th Sep.

Thanks in advance!
Hi i am facing a similar problem. I had got a room in Senkang near compassvale LRT. They agreed for $700 including PUB and Internet. After paying them the caution deposit and signing the agreement end of Aug 2010. Now the landlord says she wants $750+ PUB if it exceeds $ 150 (difference amount) + she is asking me to take my own internet connection which I cannot do it, as there is already a cable connection at the house. She accepted for $ 700 flat for everything when signing the contarct. I am supposed to shift by 15th Sep. But now I am facing this problem. I told them to return my caution deposit back, which they are not willing to. They are forcing me to pay more and asking me to stay there. I can do it, coz its way beyond my budget. The owner also says people are ready to take the room for $ 800+ without aircon now, I told her to proceed with them by paying back my caution deposit.

My agent is willing to pay back her commission what i paid. But the owner and their agent is not picking up our calls or responding to my messages. i have even told them in a decent way that If i dont get my money back I would go legally. I guess they are least bothered.

Please guide me... how do i proceed

thanks in advance

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Re: Apartment Rental: Am I being cheated?

Post by x9200 » Tue, 07 Sep 2010 1:56 pm

singaish wrote:I had got a room in Senkang near compassvale LRT. They agreed for $700 including PUB and Internet.
Is this stated in your contract?

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Re: Apartment Rental: Am I being cheated?

Post by revhappy » Tue, 07 Sep 2010 2:11 pm

singaish wrote:
revhappy wrote:Hi Guys,

This happened last Friday evening.I was looking at renting a new apartment. I saw an ad on one of the online classifieds in Sengkang 2+1, 1600$ PM. The ad said that 1 room would be locked. So I called up the agent and asked if the apartment was approved. She replied yes it was approved. Its just that the owner has some expensive things which he would like to lock in the master bedroom and hence he would like to lock the master room. I was fine with it so I went to view the apartment. It was really posh. It had Vitrified tiles, LCD TV and really looked like a very expensive apartment. Only negative was there was no aircon.

There was another couple who came apart from me to view the apartment. The agent who had put up the ad was actually the owners agent. And after viewing the apartment she asked what my offer was. I said 1.6k. She said if its 1.6k then I will have to give 2 months rental in advance, or else I will have to offer 1.7k pm for 1 yr lease term. I said I was willing to offer 1.6k with 2 months advance.

Later the other couple also liked the apartment and they were ready to offer 1.8k but needed aircon to be installed. The agent started pressurising me to up my offer. But I stuck my ground. Another thing they told me is that the owner will not accept check but only cash. Then they said that I could go home and then the owner would decide and let me know.

Later I got a call that the owner has selected me and they came to my house and wanted me to give cash and sign the letter of intent. They said I need to give 1 month advance as cash and the remaining 1 month advance and 1 month rent on the date of move-in. I agreed and gave them 1 month cash and then signed the letter of intent. The owner and me exchanged phone numbers.

On saturday afternoon, suddenly the owner calls me and tells me that the house is not approved and that he is going to apply to the HDB for the approval process. He also told me that in case the approval doesnt happen his will return my deposit on monday evening. I insisted that I need my deposit back right now. He said he is in JB and he will come on sunday and return my deposit on sunday. On Sunday he says that he has deposited the money in his current account and today being sunday he cannot withdraw it. So he can give me check or I will have to wait till monday.

I called up the agent and blasted her how could she tell me that the house is approved. She says that locking 1 room is ok and not illegal and they can do room rental aggreement. I told her I would like to get my cash back and not go ahead with deal. She said ok and she will try to set up a meeting with the owner to get my cash back.

So the current status is that the owner is going to try for HDB approval tomorrow and at 6pm he is going to either give me my cash back or we will go ahead with the aggreement.

Can you guys please let me know what I should do now? Now if the HDB gives approval to the owner then since I have already signed the letter of intent so if I cannot back off from the deal or else I will have to forfeit my deposit. But if the owner doesnt get the approval then can I lodge a complaint against the owner?

Please let me know my options? My move in date is 25th Sep.

Thanks in advance!
Hi i am facing a similar problem. I had got a room in Senkang near compassvale LRT. They agreed for $700 including PUB and Internet. After paying them the caution deposit and signing the agreement end of Aug 2010. Now the landlord says she wants $750+ PUB if it exceeds $ 150 (difference amount) + she is asking me to take my own internet connection which I cannot do it, as there is already a cable connection at the house. She accepted for $ 700 flat for everything when signing the contarct. I am supposed to shift by 15th Sep. But now I am facing this problem. I told them to return my caution deposit back, which they are not willing to. They are forcing me to pay more and asking me to stay there. I can do it, coz its way beyond my budget. The owner also says people are ready to take the room for $ 800+ without aircon now, I told her to proceed with them by paying back my caution deposit.

My agent is willing to pay back her commission what i paid. But the owner and their agent is not picking up our calls or responding to my messages. i have even told them in a decent way that If i dont get my money back I would go legally. I guess they are least bothered.

Please guide me... how do i proceed

thanks in advance
If it is already stated in the contract, then you just move in on the move in date.

Since they are refusing to return your amount, they are hoping that you will be ready to forfeit the deposit, so that they can find another tenant.

DONT Budge. Just move in on the said date and stay there for 1 month and fight it out with them.

This kind of thing is happenning way too often in SG. Every friend of mine has a story like this. Really sad state of affairs here.

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Post by singaish » Tue, 07 Sep 2010 2:36 pm

Yes everyhting is mentioned properly now. But I still have not got the house keys yet. Owner told me that she will pass it to the day I come... before that all these issues have started. do yoou think going to the police would be of any use ?

I dont mind giving a police complaint.... but will that have any problem of me cannot move out the country or something, i am going on a official visit to midddle east by 18th of this month.....

I am afraid that this women would create problem even if i go there and stay.. may be she will tell me not to use washing machine... this that... shit man...... one side office tension another side this issue...... getting frustrated like anything

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Re: Apartment Rental: Am I being cheated?

Post by Saint » Tue, 07 Sep 2010 2:47 pm

revhappy wrote:
Later I got a call that the owner has selected me and they came to my house and wanted me to give cash and sign the letter of intent. They said I need to give 1 month advance as cash and the remaining 1 month advance and 1 month rent on the date of move-in. I agreed and gave them 1 month cash and then signed the letter of intent. The owner and me exchanged phone numbers.
Word of advice, the LOI isn't worth the paper it's printed on, it's by no means a legally binding contract so never hand over large amounts of cash on signing a LOI. By all means hand over a small securing deposit but don't start handing over large wads of cash until the TA is signed by all parties.

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