Can I be evicted w/o an early termination clause?

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Bimten
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Can I be evicted w/o an early termination clause?

Post by Bimten » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 1:38 am

Hi, I'm an international student in Singapore. I'm currently 6 months into a 1 year contract. I was told 2 weeks ago by my landlord that she was evicting me and my roommate because she had been kicked out of her mother-in-law's place. She gave us 1m to get out. At first she claimed that this was part of the contract but later she said it was a Singaporean landlord-tenant law. Basically, there's nothing in the contract mentioning early termination.

If there is no early termination clause in the contract that I signed, is my landlord allowed to evict me voluntarily?


PS: this is a very dishonest landlord and she's tried to cheat us several times.

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Post by JR8 » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 3:13 am

Given what you have said the answer is no she can't.

Did she serve notice on you in writing? If not suggest you require that she does, citing the grounds for termination, and that until such time you cannot give the matter further consideration.

If someone is relying on a law to take action, it is considered reasonable (by a court for example) for that person to have to provide specific details of the law on which they are relying. I.e. you can't just say 'Oh I'm relying on SG statutory laws' and leave it like that. So, ask her what the statutory references to the law on which she is relying are.


p.s. She's already let the cat out of the bag anyway. She's evidently been bumped from her MILs place and needs lodgings and pronto. Turfing you out is, she thinks, her easiest option...

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Post by x9200 » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 7:55 am

Probably you will not get what JR8 suggested (the written termination notice etc) so you may want to tape her with a voice recorder. Just inform her that if this is so clear for her under the law you have no objections going to the court in case she violates the contract and there you will recover from her:
- moving in/out costs
- costs to find a new place
- difference in rental between new place and old one (if any)
- costs of temporary accommodation (you can stay in a hotel if she kicks you out)
- any other tangible expenses you encountered as a result of her actions

And this will cost you 10 dollars as you will got to the Small Claims Tribunal.

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Post by Bimten » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 4:21 pm

Thanks for your responses. I have 2 more questions.

1)

I was mailed a letter that reads:

"Hi I am XXXXX the landload hereby given one month notice to your with effect from 28 JAN to 28 FEB.As agree I will return one month deposit to you upon the hand over but everything in my house must be in good order.Thank you"

This is the notice verbatim (minus the name). They stuffed it under my door about 2 weeks ago. Just to be sure, based on this letter I would have the right to request the compensations that you listed?

2)

Are there any implicit or hidden landlord-tenant laws here in Singapore or is it the case where if it's not in the contract then it's not legal?

I've talked to several agents and gotten varying answers regarding the legality of her 1 month eviction claim. All I can say is that there is no diplomatic clause, no early termination clause, nothing.

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Post by zzm9980 » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 5:43 pm

Your tenancy agreement really has nothing at all one way or another on either of you violating the terms of the agreement? (ending the lease term early). Basically, there is no landlord-tenant law and it's all on what's in your contract....
Last edited by zzm9980 on Sat, 18 Feb 2012 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by zzm9980 » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 5:48 pm

From here:
http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Asia ... and-Tenant
Singaporean institutions are PRO-LANDLORD.

There is no comprehensive law governing landlord and tenant relations, everything depends upon the contract.
and:
There is no Singapore law requiring notices before the end of tenancy agreement, everything will be based on the contract itself. Some agreements state that tenants must give two or three months’ notice of their intention to renew the tenancy.

Either party can prematurely end the contract. The party which terminates must pay an amount as determined in the contract, typically a month’s rent, as compensation.
I'd suggest also reading follow-up comments #2 and #20, and getting ahold of the person in #20 as suggestion. Sadly, sounds like you're f#cked unless your TA has terms in it. At least for the short-term.

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Post by JR8 » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 6:27 pm

zzm9980 wrote:From here:
http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Asia ... and-Tenant


Coincidentally I was reading the same article when you posted it's link above.


Singaporean institutions are PRO-LANDLORD.
There is no comprehensive law governing landlord and tenant relations, everything depends upon the contract.
and:
There is no Singapore law requiring notices before the end of tenancy agreement, everything will be based on the contract itself.

I think this is poorly written. If you have a one year contract, and want to live in the place for a year, then no notice is required for the contract to terminate after one year.


Some agreements state that tenants must give two or three months’ notice of their intention to renew the tenancy.Either party can prematurely end the contract. The party which terminates must pay an amount as determined in the contract, typically a month’s rent, as compensation.

I thought about posting the link too, until I came to the above bit and considered it so misleading, as likely to confuse more than assist. You can't end a contract early unless there is provision to do so, i.e. an early termination clause (or otherwise by mutual agreement).

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Post by zzm9980 » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 7:05 pm

Well, my key take away from the article is that commentor's two posts. That he sued his land-lord got the land-lord to settle, but it took over two years. Whether the OP is correct or not, she's screwed for the short term.

If she wants to try playing hardball, I would suggest threatening the landlord with court. It sounds like the landlord is a bit naive on the situation also, and this could work to the OP's advantage if she presses it. Hell, offer to sublet space back to the landlord for the remainder of the lease? hehe

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Post by JR8 » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 7:24 pm

zzm9980 wrote:Well, my key take away from the article is that commentor's two posts. That he sued his land-lord got the land-lord to settle, but it took over two years. Whether the OP is correct or not, she's screwed for the short term.

If she wants to try playing hardball, I would suggest threatening the landlord with court. It sounds like the landlord is a bit naive on the situation also, and this could work to the OP's advantage if she presses it. Hell, offer to sublet space back to the landlord for the remainder of the lease? hehe
I hear what you say. Just because someone doesn't have a right to terminate a contract early, doesn't mean some won't give it a try, and some will get away with it.

I think the OP needs to write to the LL and tell her she has no basis for terminating the lease, and that if she attempts to do so ... [refer to X9's post re: compensation/damages]. That puts her on notice what the consequences will be.

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Post by Bimten » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 7:36 pm

Thanks for all the information guys. I spoke to my roommate and she wants to move out first, collect our rightful security deposit, and then try to get compensation. She's afraid that if we make a big fuss before moving out we'd jeopardize our deposit. Personally, I feel like we lose some power by moving out but do you think it's better to bring it up now or move out first? I've never had to deal w/ this before.

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Post by zzm9980 » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 7:39 pm

I'd send the letter with your expectations as soon as possible. Serving the landlord after the fact would likely not help you if you do pursue this in court.

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Post by JR8 » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 8:53 pm

Bimten wrote:Thanks for all the information guys. I spoke to my roommate and she wants to move out first, collect our rightful security deposit, and then try to get compensation.

'Try' being the operative word. That won't work because by moving out you would be accepting termination, i.e. the contract would be terminated by mutual agreement. You need to be clear that in order to accept termination you require compensation and have the LL agree to that. You might also mention that if she does not agree to compensate you, and goes ahead and seeks to forcibly evict you... once again refer back to X9's post.

re: Deposit. Your landlord sounds like a right er, handful, precisely the kind who is going to try and withhold your deposit anyway. But that can be remedied by action at the SCT...


She's afraid that if we make a big fuss before moving out we'd jeopardize our deposit. Personally, I feel like we lose some power by moving out but do you think it's better to bring it up now or move out first? I've never had to deal w/ this before.

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Post by Bimten » Sun, 19 Feb 2012 1:17 pm

Are you saying I should just not move out until SCT settles it? If they call the police what sort of recourse would I have? what worries me is the timing, their deadline of the 28th is coming up and I'm not sure what they are capable of (I regret no doing this 2weeks ago but I took my agent's word for it that the LL had this power). It just seems risky.


I misspoke earlier. there is a "diplomatic clause" that allows the TENANTS to leave after 12 months provided they give 2 months notice. This is weird because this is a 1 year lease. However, I am currently 6m into a renewed 1 year lease so if you want to count last year I've been here for 12m +6. Needless to say, there's nothing about kicking anyone out with only 1m notice.

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Post by x9200 » Sun, 19 Feb 2012 3:18 pm

Bimten wrote:Are you saying I should just not move out until SCT settles it? If they call the police what sort of recourse would I have? what worries me is the timing, their deadline of the 28th is coming up and I'm not sure what they are capable of (I regret no doing this 2weeks ago but I took my agent's word for it that the LL had this power). It just seems risky.
LL has this power but this will violate the TA so she will be responsible for all the related damages. It is rather unpleasant situation but I tend to agree that your position will be stronger if you are forced to leave rather than you leave by yourself. If she calls police you will see what they say, and if they tell you to leave you will do it - no harm for you IMO here.
As JR8 already mentioned, the whole trick is to make her realize what are the consequences of her actions and that you are not bluffing. As the only thing that may appeal to her is her almost certain financial lose it is important to clearly communicate it to her. If you are very determined, go to a lawyer and ask to prepare the note. It should cost you less than $100 I believe.
If it comes to the worse you can either (1) go to the SCT and this should take a few months max and be not expensive but then AFAIK you can claim only damages you can document, or (2) you can go to a regular court and claim everything including compensation related to your distress and the lawyers costs in a separate process. This will take longer and you need to have some money for the start.

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Post by teck21 » Sun, 19 Feb 2012 4:04 pm

Just remember that she can under NO circumstances enter the property without your consent to do anything WHATSOEVER. Short of dire emergency repair work (maybe the kitchen's on fire), which I assume is not the case.

All communications to be recorded. You could send letters, but that's a bit old-fashioned, try text messaging or email. Make sure there can never arise a case of your word versus her word.

Best thing to do is try to talk to her as others have suggested, get some reasonable compensation for your inconvenience and try to move out asap. She can make your life really difficult if you insist on going head-to-head straightaway.

There are no winners in a case like yours, so everyone should try to minimize their loss.

And if that fails, give her hell. Still start making preparations to move though, there's really no point staying there anymore.

If you do what your friend says, you can forget about getting any kind of compensation for your trouble and inconvenience ever.

*Wait, I didn't see the part about her being an dishonest form the start, forget being pleasant altogether. She has no case at all for evicting you. Of course, this assumes you've been paying your bills and making sure the place hasn't been used for any kind of illegal activity etc.

Look for a new place, have a receipt for every cent you spent doing that. Of course, you can't rent a place that costs twice as much and expect to claim that amount though.

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