Singapore Expats Forum

Need Advice - Landlord won't return my Holding Deposit

Discuss about the latest news & interesting topics, real life experience or other out of topic discussions with locals & expatriates in Singapore.

beefycow
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu, 14 Jul 2011

Need Advice - Landlord won't return my Holding Deposit

Postby beefycow » Thu, 14 Jul 2011 11:39 pm

Hi Everybody,

I'm currently in a situation with a very unprofessional landlord and her representing agent. Two weeks ago, on June 30, I paid a holding deposit and submitted a letter of intent to the owner and her agent for a condo I was interested in renting. The offer was accepted by the owner, and she signed the letter of intent. After the acceptance, they became very unresponsive. It took them about 4 days to send me the Tenancy agreement, and after I sent them my proposed amendments, I never got a response back. It turns out that they were trying to market the apartment while holding onto my deposit. I showed up on the weekend to hopefully expedite the signing of the TA, but to my surprise, they had the nerves to have viewings right in front of me. The landlord's agent assured me that I would still have first priority, and told me that they were only doing this because they were afraid I wouldn't sign the agreement. I assume they found another tenant that had a higher offer, because they notified my representing agent a few days later that they will no longer be renting the apartment to me. I was shocked that they had the nerves to do such a thing after taking my holding deposit. I am even more shock now, because they refuse to return my deposit. The letter of intent in which the owner signed, clearly states that if terms of the tenancy agreement could not be agreed upon within 5 days, the holding deposit is to be returned immediately to the tenant. I am pretty sure what they did, and what they are currently doing, is illegal. What actions can I take on them? Do I have to have to bring this to a small claims court in order to get my deposit back? Is there anything else I can do to get the money back immediately since there is no doubt in the world that I am entitled to my refund?

Any help / advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby ksl » Fri, 15 Jul 2011 3:08 am

Lodge a complaint with the small claims court, it's quite cheap. Also notify the Agency that controls the agents, that your agent is screwing you! try and do a search for the addresses on the forum here, Or maybe SMS may have the links handy on his website.

User avatar
k1w1
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 680
Joined: Mon, 30 May 2005

Postby k1w1 » Fri, 15 Jul 2011 5:02 am

I assume you paid them a cheque? Call the bank and cancel it immediately.

User avatar
BillyB
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1807
Joined: Fri, 23 Jul 2010
Location: My laptop

Re: Need Advice - Landlord won't return my Holding Deposit

Postby BillyB » Fri, 15 Jul 2011 10:53 am

beefycow wrote:Hi Everybody,

I'm currently in a situation with a very unprofessional landlord and her representing agent. Two weeks ago, on June 30, I paid a holding deposit and submitted a letter of intent to the owner and her agent for a condo I was interested in renting. The offer was accepted by the owner, and she signed the letter of intent. After the acceptance, they became very unresponsive. It took them about 4 days to send me the Tenancy agreement, and after I sent them my proposed amendments, I never got a response back. It turns out that they were trying to market the apartment while holding onto my deposit. I showed up on the weekend to hopefully expedite the signing of the TA, but to my surprise, they had the nerves to have viewings right in front of me. The landlord's agent assured me that I would still have first priority, and told me that they were only doing this because they were afraid I wouldn't sign the agreement. I assume they found another tenant that had a higher offer, because they notified my representing agent a few days later that they will no longer be renting the apartment to me. I was shocked that they had the nerves to do such a thing after taking my holding deposit. I am even more shock now, because they refuse to return my deposit. The letter of intent in which the owner signed, clearly states that if terms of the tenancy agreement could not be agreed upon within 5 days, the holding deposit is to be returned immediately to the tenant. I am pretty sure what they did, and what they are currently doing, is illegal. What actions can I take on them? Do I have to have to bring this to a small claims court in order to get my deposit back? Is there anything else I can do to get the money back immediately since there is no doubt in the world that I am entitled to my refund?

Any help / advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!


It's quite common for owners and agents to use that policy to protect their downside, or rather have their cake and want to eat it too. And let me guess - they told you the unit was in high demand and they want to ensure you secure your ideal condo??!! It sounds very similar to something that happened to us quite recently after we agreed in principle on a place. But there was no way that you should ever part with money on the basis of a letter of intent. It's not worth the paper its written on.

You should get the signed tenancy agreement first and also ask for a certificate of ownership to prove the same person on the tenancy does in fact own the unit.
If push comes to shove, the most you should ever part with would be $500 to give your indication that you are serious about renting the unit.

My advice, check the agent has a license, and get on the phone to him and tell him you'll report him to the Government and also his firm if he doesn't sort his sh*t out. If you can't get hold of him, or he dodges you, ask one of your friends to set up a viewing at the same unit or another condo he is trying to rent out, take your male friends with you and confront him and make him feel really uneasy!!

There are some pretty devious characters out there, and its amazing how the landscape changes if you are a foreigner. The property boards are just for marketing so take anything you see with a pinch of salt. Ask some of your local friends to deal with them in the first instance to get prices and conditions, and then get introduced after that. The problem is, you'll often get so much bullsh*t from the agent and they like to blame the owners when things go wrong. Chances are, your agent was probably playing a clever game and negotiating with you and others, without the owner knowing, and trying to squeeze a few hundred extra dollars commission. I have had to walk away from a couple of units because of this, and the owners have got back in contact through another agent asking what went wrong and in complete surprise when I told them what the agents have said.

P.S. Can you PM me the name of the property and the agent? Your story sounds almost identical to mine!

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9320
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Re: Need Advice - Landlord won't return my Holding Deposit

Postby x9200 » Fri, 15 Jul 2011 2:34 pm

BillyB wrote:But there was no way that you should ever part with money on the basis of a letter of intent. It's not worth the paper its written on.
[..]
If push comes to shove, the most you should ever part with would be $500 to give your indication that you are serious about renting the unit.

Unfortunately a very common practice is to pay one full rental. I believe all the major agencies (including the host of this forum) say this. LOI is worth the paper when it comes to the tenancy condition but the booking deposit is IMO a bit different piece of cake.

pom
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon, 22 Aug 2011

Postby pom » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 9:19 pm

I stupidly signed an LOI and issue a cheque last Saturday even Im hesitant with the house. My agent informed me that he will call me once the owner approve our profile.

The following day he called to tell us that we got the house, and was informed that the owner will signed the tenancy agreement after 3days because the owner is outstation. After few hours, I told him Im backing out. He then said that he cannot help me talk to the owner's agent and he need me to compensate him because he closed the deal already.

He kept on calling and threatening me that they (LL, owner's agent and him) will file a case against me when he found out that I stop payment the cheque. I told him I'll just compensate him by marketing his service to my friends but he decline and said that an easy way is to give his commission and he will share it to the owner's agent then both of them will talk to the LL not to file a case against me.

After a day of not answering his call, he sms me and said that he is trying to offer me a way out but if I choose to ignore then they will file a case against me. Do they have a case against me?

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9320
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 9:46 pm

LOI is not worth the paper it is written on. It has no legal power of any kind so the agent can not do anything against you. Actually you have a case against the agent as he is basically blackmailing you. Tell him you are going to report him to the CEA (http://www.cea.gov.sg/cea/content/index.html).

User avatar
BillyB
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1807
Joined: Fri, 23 Jul 2010
Location: My laptop

Postby BillyB » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 10:28 pm

pom wrote:I stupidly signed an LOI and issue a cheque last Saturday even Im hesitant with the house. My agent informed me that he will call me once the owner approve our profile.

The following day he called to tell us that we got the house, and was informed that the owner will signed the tenancy agreement after 3days because the owner is outstation. After few hours, I told him Im backing out. He then said that he cannot help me talk to the owner's agent and he need me to compensate him because he closed the deal already.

He kept on calling and threatening me that they (LL, owner's agent and him) will file a case against me when he found out that I stop payment the cheque. I told him I'll just compensate him by marketing his service to my friends but he decline and said that an easy way is to give his commission and he will share it to the owner's agent then both of them will talk to the LL not to file a case against me.

After a day of not answering his call, he sms me and said that he is trying to offer me a way out but if I choose to ignore then they will file a case against me. Do they have a case against me?


It's cheap sales talk and nothing more. Follow what X9 said and you'll be fine. Keep his SMS's as proof and take pictures of your missed call log and tell him you'll use it as a harassment case if it continues.

Don't let him intimidate you, it's what he is trying to do by the sounds of it - easier said than done I know - but he is just pissed that he could smell the commission of the sale and now its fallen through. There is no tenancy signed and likely no stamp duty paid either. Don't compensate him at all. Its a dog eat dog world and you, technically, haven't done anything wrong.

pom
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon, 22 Aug 2011

Postby pom » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 10:32 pm

How about the LL? Can he sue me for not honoring the LOI and stop payment the cheque? I called the small claim tribunal and was told that once the service was rendered the agent must be compensated. :(

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 10:37 pm

No the agent has no grounds against you (based upon what you have written). Report him to the police for harassment.

That will shut up him up I expect.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 10:39 pm

pom wrote:How about the LL? Can he sue me for not honoring the LOI and stop payment the cheque? I called the small claim tribunal and was told that once the service was rendered the agent must be compensated. :(


Incorrect.

Did you sign a contract with the agent saying that if they dicked you about you had to pay them a fee? No, you didn't.

As others have said LOI means nothing, except to the landlord who is apparently intent on screwing you.

hougangpeterlee
Member
Member
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue, 16 Aug 2011

Postby hougangpeterlee » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 10:41 pm

Hi and welcome to Singapore. I feel so sorry to hear about your plight that I even dropped a few tears for you.

I assure you that in such a small town, most people are unscrupulous and what you've encountered is nothing uncommon.

There are a few army barracks that would most probably take you in if you approach the guards. The streets are clean and you would most likely find them comfortable as a last resort.

Really truly sorry to hear about that once again. I wept for a good 10 minutes over your unfortunate circumstances.

User avatar
BillyB
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1807
Joined: Fri, 23 Jul 2010
Location: My laptop

Postby BillyB » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 10:43 pm

hougangpeterlee wrote:Hi and welcome to Singapore. I feel so sorry to hear about your plight that I even dropped a few tears for you.

I assure you that in such a small town, most people are unscrupulous and what you've encountered is nothing uncommon.

There are a few army barracks that would most probably take you in if you approach the guards. The streets are clean and you would most likely find them comfortable as a last resort.

Really truly sorry to hear about that once again. I wept for a good 10 minutes over your unfortunate circumstances.


Nobody likes a smart-arse.....

hougangpeterlee
Member
Member
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue, 16 Aug 2011

Postby hougangpeterlee » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 10:48 pm

BillyB wrote:
hougangpeterlee wrote:Hi and welcome to Singapore. I feel so sorry to hear about your plight that I even dropped a few tears for you.

I assure you that in such a small town, most people are unscrupulous and what you've encountered is nothing uncommon.

There are a few army barracks that would most probably take you in if you approach the guards. The streets are clean and you would most likely find them comfortable as a last resort.

Really truly sorry to hear about that once again. I wept for a good 10 minutes over your unfortunate circumstances.


Nobody likes a smart-arse.....


Hey! I am not as smart as you guys or most of you foreign workers but I am sincerely trying to help.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 10:48 pm

hougangpeterlee wrote:Hi and welcome to Singapore. I feel so sorry to hear about your plight that I even dropped a few tears for you.

I assure you that in such a small town, most people are unscrupulous and what you've encountered is nothing uncommon.

There are a few army barracks that would most probably take you in if you approach the guards. The streets are clean and you would most likely find them comfortable as a last resort.

Really truly sorry to hear about that once again. I wept for a good 10 minutes over your unfortunate circumstances.


Next thing you'll be telling us how lovely the Chinese people are.

:roll:


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “General Discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests