Agent says illegal to rent HDB directly with owner

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bluespymaster
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Agent says illegal to rent HDB directly with owner

Post by bluespymaster » Mon, 09 May 2011 11:01 pm

I just renewed my contract directly with owner (to save on agent fees). Agent found out and warned that the transaction is illegal. Said CEA regulations as of Jan. 1, 2011 forbids this kind of agreement. Is this true? Need advise. Thanks!

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nakatago
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Re: Agent says illegal to rent HDB directly with owner

Post by nakatago » Mon, 09 May 2011 11:29 pm

bluespymaster wrote:I just renewed my contract directly with owner (to save on agent fees). Agent found out and warned that the transaction is illegal. Said CEA regulations as of Jan. 1, 2011 forbids this kind of agreement. Is this true? Need advise. Thanks!
Sounds fishy, underhanded and very greedy. However, I don't have proof. That said, you could call the Housing Development Board to confirm.
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JR8
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Post by JR8 » Mon, 09 May 2011 11:40 pm

Go straight to the horse's mouth
http://www.cea.gov.sg/cea/content/index.html

!

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Post by nakatago » Tue, 10 May 2011 12:02 am

JR8 wrote:Go straight to the horse's mouth
http://www.cea.gov.sg/cea/content/index.html

!
I find it funny that "complaints" has a dedicated link, form and section in the FAQ. And necessity being the mother of invention... :roll:
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Post by ausinsg » Wed, 11 May 2011 3:44 am

I think the agent is referring to the CEA regulations which prevent a salesperson from representing both parties in a transaction. So he cannot act on the landlords behalf and on your behalf.

Whether or not you need to pay commission to him for renewing directly with the landlord will depend on the contracts that you have all signed.

Some rental contracts may allow the agent to collect a fee if you renew.

If the agent holds an exclusive agent agreement with the landlord, then they would get a commission even if you went direct. This is the norm in Australia, but in Singapore it is VERY hard to get a landlord to sign an exclusive agreement.

Just look at your contracts (both previous and current) with the landlord and see what is specified. There are copies of the standard agency agreements, exclusive and non-exclusive, which the landlord and agent should have signed, on the CEA website. However these could differ from the original agent's agreement signed when you first moved in.

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Post by sgbenben » Wed, 11 May 2011 5:00 pm

i think it is no problem if landlord agreed to do so without agent once your contract have finished.

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Post by FaeLLe » Wed, 11 May 2011 5:07 pm

It could be illegal because most agents include a clause in the tenancy contract that was signed saying that when a contract is renewed they will be paid the same commission.

If this clause is there then you could be in trouble.

One way I would override this is to "cancel" the original contract.
Register a new tenancy contract directly with the landlord (minus this clause) and go ahead and show the agent the finger.

Of course you will have to pay stamping fees as usual.

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Post by beppi » Thu, 12 May 2011 12:19 am

The usual comment applicable since the estate agent "scene" was (thankfully) regulated a few months ago:

1. If the agent is engaged by (and thus representing) your landlord, not you, all fees are due from him. You don't need to pay. (Agents are no longer allowed to charge both parties, only the ONE they represent.)

2. If you were the one engaging the agent in the first place, check for a clause in the agreement you signed with him/her, or the tenancy contract, for a clause stating that you have to pay on tenancy renewal. If there isn't one, you don't need to pay.

3. If all else fails, check with CEA if your agent is registered and licensed. If not (i.e. moonlighting), you don't need to pay.

If he/she disagrees to the above, announcing a complaint to CEA, CASE or the Small Claims Tribunal often works wonders.

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Post by ausinsg » Thu, 12 May 2011 5:53 am

beppi wrote:
3. If all else fails, check with CEA if your agent is registered and licensed. If not (i.e. moonlighting), you don't need to pay.
Since the 1st of March this year, all agents are meant to wear their CEA issued ID card when performing agent duties. If you cannot see this on your agent, you can request them to show this to you. It will have their photo and name on it. It will also have their registration number. These details can be cross checked against the register of agents on the CEA website.

NB: I use the term agent here to refer to the individual person you are dealing with. CEA's terminology refers to the individual as a salesperson, and the business as the agent or agency. Just to confuse us all! ;)

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Post by ksl » Sat, 14 May 2011 11:01 am

CEA's terminology refers to the individual as a salesperson, and the business as the agent or agency. Just to confuse us all!
This is becuase they the majority are sales people, working on freelance commission basis, after paying a fortune for a course from agencies. They have to cover their own costs, as they are not employees of the agencies.

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