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Landlord Problems - What to do

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lumi
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Landlord Problems - What to do

Postby lumi » Wed, 01 Dec 2010 9:47 pm

Is there any kind of government body covering tenancy issues in Singapore? Or does everyone go straight to the small claims tribunal?

My landlord refuses to provide items as agreed in my tenancy agreement and also refuses to fix anything things in the apartment even under the first month clause of the tenancy agreement (has been 1.5 months now). He has said that if we fix ourselves and deduct the costs from our rent he will enter the apartment after 7 days of full rent not being paid and throw all of our belongings out and change the locks.

There's just no talking with this landlord and I am quite certain that he knows he is in the wrong and just trying to bully us. I'm not sure what my next step should be - even the owners' agent is frustrated as the owner will not listen to him when he says it is his legal obligation.

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Strong Eagle
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Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 01 Dec 2010 9:51 pm

How about a few concrete examples of the issues? Right now, have no idea of the situation you are in.

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Postby lumi » Wed, 01 Dec 2010 11:05 pm

Sure, here's a couple..

Some things weren't working when we moved into the apartment (e.g. doorbell, aircon remote even with new battery, exhaust hood for stove, light switches). These issues were brought up and brought to the attention of the owner within the first one month whereby the tenancy agreement says that the owner is responsible for all associated repair costs. The owner refuses to repair any of the issues.

When we moved into the apartment we were told the curtains were at the dry cleaners. It was physically written on the inventory list that one set of curtains were still to be provided for each room (no exact date of when was specified). The owner now says they won't provide curtains even though it is listed in the tenancy agreement. We said that we would buy cheap curtains at Ikea and deduct the cost from next month's rent. Owner says that if we do this he will consider rent not paid in full and after 7 days he will enter apartment and throw all of our belongings outside and change the locks.

No receipt was provided by the owner upon signing the tenancy agreement to show that they had recently serviced the aircons. The agent told us that it's ok to sign and they can show it later but it still hasn't been shown. The aircons look a bit dirty and one especially is a bit noisy when on so I doubt they were serviced. Not sure if anything can be done about this after the tenancy agreement has been signed.

A bit long sorry, I hope that makes it a little clearer.

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Postby beppi » Thu, 02 Dec 2010 12:44 am

Before you do anything else, why don't YOU change the locks and thus prevent the landlord from entering and throwing your things out?
Other than that, the Small Claims Tribunal is your best bet.

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 02 Dec 2010 7:52 am

There is no specific authority covering this. SCT is practically the only reasonable option.
I am not sure how it is in Singapore but in some countries you are not allowed to directly undertake such obligation of (here) the LL and later charge him for this so you may want to check this first if you think of doing it this way.
Another option is to go directly to SCT, get a court order - I am here not sure again how this is executed, and claim in the court part of the rent for the period your flat was not in the shape that was promised. I understand there is a lot of different things so all together it is rather a major annoyance - I would request like 30% of the rent compensation for the respective period. IMHO 30% would be fair and even if it is not, you risk nothing requesting a bit too much.

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Postby brittanny » Thu, 02 Dec 2010 11:25 pm

beppi wrote:Before you do anything else, why don't YOU change the locks and thus prevent the landlord from entering and throwing your things out?


this move is definitely not advisable! pls refrain from such acts as there are repercussions and will encourage the LL to file a counterclaim.

also, best if you have left everything as is i.e. not have repaired / serviced the aircon / incurred any costs on the LL's behalf.

agree with other contributors, the SCT should be able to provide you with the best solution with minimal costs.

http://app.subcourts.gov.sg/sct/page.aspx?pageid=4515

http://app.subcourts.gov.sg/Data/Files/ ... mForm.pdfs

do update us on your progress. SCT claims should move along pretty quickly and most matters are settled at the mediation stage.

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Postby ksl » Thu, 02 Dec 2010 11:57 pm

This looks like a bigger problem to be!

What ever you do, you must not hold back rent! Always ensure you get proof of payment.

Can you guarantee this person is the real Landlord?

You have a contract, it doesn't mean that it is a legal contract.

But relax and just keep paying the rent, as long as you pay the rent he cannot throw you out, even when you start proceedings against him.

Though at the end of your contract, you will struggle to get any deposit back, that is for sure.

My advice is to take your time, to photograph and record the state of the apartment, working in a systematic way around the rooms. I have posted a check list and the way to do it. You can also use a Dictaphone stating the time and date....with the facts recorded.

You can at your leisure, make a plan of action to secure yourself, go down to have a discussion with the Small claims court and lodge the complaint, request your rights of action and discuss, your worries on moving out and your deposit too.

They will probably give you some sound advice.

Though if you want to remain there in the apartment, I would suggest forgetting what's in the contract until you are almost ready to move out.

Otherwise this jerk may just make your life a bloody misery, like the loan sharks do. Stay cool and flow with the wind if you intend to remain there.

If you want to move on, discuss when you submit the complaint of the contract being broken, to get all your money refunded. I doubt the contract is officially stamped, he may well not be the legal owner, but the actual tenant, subletting to make profit. And still living with family or in laws, if that's the case a police report should be made for fraud.

So there are a few things that you need to check out first! Good luck!

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Postby Saint » Fri, 03 Dec 2010 12:00 pm

Is your agent aware of all these problems as he/she would have been the one who would have drawn up the LOI and TA? If all these conditions were clearly stated in the LOI and TA so I would tell the agent that he/she will be reported to the relevant authorities for not carrying out duties as an agent. Did you pay stamp duty on signing the TA and received stamped TA back?

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longstebe
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Postby longstebe » Fri, 03 Dec 2010 2:47 pm

What if the OP were to move out, apart from losing the deposit how else would this effect him/her?

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Postby x9200 » Fri, 03 Dec 2010 3:55 pm

You mean he/she moved out voluntarily? Could lose some more money if LL decided to sue him - probably 1-2 monthly rent equivalent and a part of commission if applicable.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 03 Dec 2010 4:13 pm

I think it is pretty clear that the landlord is being a perfect shit about the whole thing, and it seems pretty clear that a trip to SCT will be necessary to iron things out.

First, set up a plan. Do you want to stay in the lease with such a scheisskopf for a LL? If not, then part of your plan is to get out of the lease with all your money back.

Start with your own letter to the LL. Highlight that if he doesn't meet his obligations under the TA you will seek legal recourse, including all attorney fees to enforce your rights under the TA.

Then, get a lawyer to right a similar letter. If you want to move out, you can offer to break the lease and will vacate the premises upon return of full deposit to you.

Just be prepared to follow through. The key is to make sure the LL understands you are dead serious, and that you know your rights. Back him down.

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Postby x9200 » Fri, 03 Dec 2010 4:24 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:Then, get a lawyer to right a similar letter. If you want to move out, you can offer to break the lease and will vacate the premises upon return of full deposit to you.

Only if moving in/out costs are negligible. If not, should be claimed. Probably will end up in SCT anyway.

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 03 Dec 2010 4:56 pm

I like your approach SE...

But also as a landlord I have to say I perhaps strangely rather enjoy getting these blunderbuss lawyers letters, and then ignoring them to see what happens next.

I will add that it has only happened twice in about 100 let/years. I think the downfall is that the lawyer is not briefed correctly, or... is just crap. So half of what they say is shite. Coupled with their full attack-dog style it can be amusing. Pity the punter paying them $200 an hour...

p.s. I do my own law and accounts for a reason 8-)

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 03 Dec 2010 5:24 pm

JR8 wrote:I like your approach SE...

But also as a landlord I have to say I perhaps strangely rather enjoy getting these blunderbuss lawyers letters, and then ignoring them to see what happens next.

I will add that it has only happened twice in about 100 let/years. I think the downfall is that the lawyer is not briefed correctly, or... is just crap. So half of what they say is shite. Coupled with their full attack-dog style it can be amusing. Pity the punter paying them $200 an hour...

p.s. I do my own law and accounts for a reason 8-)


Yah... I tend to agree... I am a landlord as well. Then again, my philosophy is that a happy tenant pays the rent on time, and keeps the place up. So I work to ensure that my tenant is happy.

This LL doesn't seem to get that, and while people's willingness to confront vary, I'd be right in the middle of his face in a very large way.

You are also correct about 'blunderbuss' lawyers. The best letters are the ones that are on solid legal ground, pleasant, but with the unmistakable undercurrent of a serious legal threat.

Bad: We'll take you to court and squeeze your nuts off.

Good: My client wishes to work with you in a friendly and cooperative manner so that you can avoid the expense, aggravation, and loss of face that might occur should an escalation of remedies be necessary.

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Postby longstebe » Fri, 03 Dec 2010 6:50 pm

Strong, hit the nail on the head.
Happy campers all around. If my LL was a complete bell end then I would be looking to get one over on him/her.
Why would anyone want to be looking over there shoulder at all times.


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