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Question(s) on sublet agreements

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kleric
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Question(s) on sublet agreements

Postby kleric » Tue, 05 Apr 2011 10:08 pm

I am in a rental situation that seems unusual and, in my home country, illegal.. but I am not sure what is the law here in SG, so maybe it is actually ok.

The situation:
A main tenant has rented a landed house, and as far as I know legally obtained the right to sublet rooms in the house to the other tenants. However, there is some question of whether it is the tenant that has signed the lease or the main tenant's company, and the individual sublets are directly with the main tenant although proceeds go to the tenant's business (this point potentially irrelevant). The issue is that the rent for the sublets is significantly more than the rent paid to the owner/landlord, and the main tenant has room and place of business for free -- which has me upset, but I am not sure if it is legal here or not... so the questions:

Is it legal to sublet a room/house/flat for more than the total rent paid if the residence is not owned by the tenant?

Are there restrictions on how the contract must be stated if the residence is leased by a business vs. by an individual?

Are there restrictions on how costs, and fees must be itemized in a bill?

Are there restrictions on identifying places of business in the original lease or a statement of doing business?

Are there restrictions on the collection of deposit, agent's fees etc. by tenants (not registered agents)?

In a sublet agreement, must the lease agreements be signed/stamped according to the normal stamp fee laws?

Thank you in advance for your time in reading and responding.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 05 Apr 2011 10:21 pm

Sounds like sour grapes to me. You wouldn't be miffed because they did it and you didn't would you? If you think it's not legal, don't rent from them. Otherwise, you are as guilty as they are. That much is simple fact. If they have permission to sublet from the owner, then there is nothing you can do about it. Most agents do just that for their foreign workers. The charge the workers a fixed amount per "bed" and the agent rents the house. Most of the time the agent is going to come out ahead. That life. Get used to it. Just remember, if you are renting from the main tenant, you are guilty as well, so proceed if you want. You could lose your visa as well. Is it worth it?

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Postby kleric » Tue, 05 Apr 2011 10:27 pm

Perhaps "sour grapes", but where I'm from this is illegal - and taking advantage of people is considered immoral, not just "oh, I wish I had done it first"

Although you chose to ignore the actual questions, I suppose that's an answer: here it is legal to do these things and apparently considered something to be proud of or envious that you didn't do it first.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 05 Apr 2011 10:42 pm

If you want home, you shouldn't have taken up a position in a foreign country. Singapore is commonly referred to as Singapore Inc. It's all about money here. If you want morals, try a convent or monastery.

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 05 Apr 2011 10:43 pm

One of my first breaks in life, subsequent to dropping out of Uni as I knew I could do better than Eddie Murphy did in Trading Places :wink:, was to rent a flat on Kensington High Street in London for 3-4 years.

I took on the lease, let out two bedrooms to a variety of people over that time, and I suppose net net the result was the sub-tenants funded my everyday rent. I can tell you as a young man that really turbo'd me ahead.

Downside risks that I took on was that when tenants left I had to bear the void (no rent). I paid to advertise vacancies. I had the burden of managing people and the property. I had to put up with the bull&hit - like the time I had two Aussie co-sharers who initially appeared high-end, but within two weeks were spewing vomit and squirting blood over the walls etc in their room (smack-heads). That was nice to clean up after I chucked them out. Made a few unpaid bills or a sub-tenant stealing furniture 'to get their own back' pale into insignificance that episode.

Then I had a sub-tenant for a while, a childhood friend, who cottoned on to the bare 'Gross vs Net' rent situation and more or less demanded a refund. What she totally missed was all the overhead that I took on with my position.

So, tough.

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Postby kleric » Tue, 05 Apr 2011 10:48 pm

An interesting point, and well said... I guess in some ways I just wish that this had been clear and honest in the beginning instead of me finding out a few months in. If it's someone's business to manage apartments and take care of upkeep etc., I have no problem with them trying to make a profit... I was just upset to find out that the situation is not what was represented to me before signing the lease, and wanted to know whether there are any legal issues related to the situation.

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Postby beppi » Wed, 06 Apr 2011 10:36 am

If somebody buys goods at price X and sells them at X+Y, making a profit on the way, would you also complain and call it morally wrong?
I call it real world.
You are free to not buy from him if you think his price is too high. But I doubt that the price he bought at has any implications on your decision.
It should be the same for renting: If the price is right for the value you receive, take it. Otherwise not. The expenses your landlord has shouldn't be any of your business (or is it even more immoral, in your eyes, to rent out a house he receives for free?!?).

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Postby kleric » Wed, 06 Apr 2011 10:59 am

Haha... I know no one likes to think what they do is immoral, but your previous compatriot said it themselves... it's about money not morals... and morality is apparently of no concern.

More to the point on your comment though -- it's not immoral to try to make a profit. That is indeed the corner-stone of business to try to minimize costs and maximize profits. However, morality does come into the picture... If lies and deceit are what is used to conduct business, it is immoral... and if the business does not follow the laws of the land, it is illegal also

If I offer to sell you 10 KG of potatoes, you buy it and then find 7KG of rocks in the bag am I a smart person for lowering expense and making more profit, or am I immoral for offering something for sale but using lies & deceit to have you purchase something else? Personally, I would say that it is immoral.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 06 Apr 2011 11:33 am

You are being offered lodging for a certain price. You are welcome to inspect the prospective lodging to ensure that is what you want. If the price being offered and the goods being delivered are acceptable at the time of the exchange, then morally there is nothing wrong. The fact that the guy is smarter than you are has no bearing on the transaction. Nobody is forcing your to live there. In fact, the further you pursue this line of thought, the more immature/naive you are starting to appear. :-|

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Postby kleric » Wed, 06 Apr 2011 11:42 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:It's all about money here. If you want morals, try a convent or monastery.


It is your suggestion that morals are not the concern. The point is whether the goods (in this case a room) which are provided is the same as what was offered.

You are right that I was perhaps naive to expect that there is some sense of morality, but as you pointed out that's not the way things are.

As far as intelligence or maturity goes, I understand that you'd prefer not to have a frank discussion where you question yourself and think about whether actions you have performed were moral whether or not they were legal... and if you cannot justify morality it's much easier to try to insult in order to end the discussion. I will not resort to personal insults such as yours against someone I don't know. However, I will continue to consider morality as a topic of thought even if there is nothing legally wrong with the situation I am in.

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Postby Saint » Wed, 06 Apr 2011 11:49 am

kleric wrote:If I offer to sell you 10 KG of potatoes, you buy it and then find 7KG of rocks in the bag am I a smart person for lowering expense and making more profit, or am I immoral for offering something for sale but using lies & deceit to have you purchase something else? Personally, I would say that it is immoral.


Yes, but this isn't the situation you are going on about. As SMS has stated and I relate to to your example above, you are offering 10kg of potatoes and we agree a price and I received 10kg of potatoes. The fact you paid less for the 10kg of potatoes is irrelevant.

When I go to my local bar and order a pint I don't expect to pay the same as what the owner paid the brewery for it!

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Postby beppi » Wed, 06 Apr 2011 11:57 am

Of course it is immoral (and legally wrong) to deliver less goods or lower quality than was agreed upon. But what does that have to do with your rental case?
I suppose the landlord did not tell you how much he pays, but even if you specifically asked and he gave you wrong information I don't see how that affects the value of what you receive.
In any case, no deceit is noticeable from your post, just disappointment that your own assumptions were wrong.
If your post is incomplete and there actually was a deceit, please let us know.
But be prepared that, even if morally wrong, lying is not illegal as long as it doesn't lead to personal gain (which again I cannot see from your post, unless the rent is above typical market rates and his lies led you to accept that).

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Postby beppi » Wed, 06 Apr 2011 12:14 pm

Please also note that any discussion about morality in an intercultural setting is bound to get on thin ice.
Legal issues, while different between countries, are at least guarded by written rules that (at least in reasonable countries) apply universally and without emotions.
Morals, on the other hand, are by their very nature individual and emotional. What is immoral to you (e.g. killing and eating dogs, or not letting women vote) might be perfectly o.k. for others.
No "universal moral rules" exist in this world!
Many a small mind vehemently portray their emotional issues with how different others are as opposing morals, while the more open minded people don't judge and quietly (without inviting opposition) help broadening the view of those around them.

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Postby kleric » Wed, 06 Apr 2011 12:40 pm

beppi wrote:Of course it is immoral (and legally wrong) to deliver less goods or lower quality than was agreed upon. But what does that have to do with your rental case?
I suppose the landlord did not tell you how much he pays, but even if you specifically asked and he gave you wrong information I don't see how that affects the value of what you receive.
In any case, no deceit is noticeable from your post, just disappointment that your own assumptions were wrong.
If your post is incomplete and there actually was a deceit, please let us know.
But be prepared that, even if morally wrong, lying is not illegal as long as it doesn't lead to personal gain (which again I cannot see from your post, unless the rent is above typical market rates and his lies led you to accept that).


In my case the difference in price is disappointing, but not necessarily illegal (hence my first question in the OP) -- note that in many places it is illegal for someone who is not the owner of a property to sublet for more than the original rent. In fact, I now found that until the mid 90's Singapore had a law to that effect in order to control unfair rent inflation practices that can seriously affect the overall economy.

The portion that is in my opinion is still immoral (although I understand and try to consider your point on cultural differences in morality) is that before I signed the lease it was represented to me that I was subletting from an individual, and the price of the apartment was shared equally among the residents. However, I later found out that the 'individual' was actually a company named to resemble an individual's name, the company is earning substantial profit from the situation rather than the represented equal sharing... Therefore, I wanted to determine (and ensure) that the lease I think I am bound by is legal since if the business did something incorrectly, that offers no protection for me from having the land owner evict everyone for illegal sublet practices (if anything that they did actually is illegal, which is apparently questionable) Because it was not represented as a business, and there is no notary verification of the lease or the names of people/business associated with the lease, I'm concerned about the legal standing.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 06 Apr 2011 1:29 pm

Actually, it still sounds like sour grapes. It sounds like you want to get out of your subcontract and are clutching at straws trying to make a case. Unless we actually know the facts (which obviously you don't know) there is no why we can pass judgment. The fact that you signed a sub-tenancy agreement with a company or individual (doesn't matter which - and you should have investigated before you signed it) makes you liable for the contents contained therein. If they are breaking any laws, that would be between them and the owners. Presumably the owners know about it, why don't you call them and ask them. At least that way, everybody else in the house will know just what kind of person you are, if they don't already. :roll:


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