Advice on TA welcome! Mad landlord!

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Kikiprutprut
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Advice on TA welcome! Mad landlord!

Post by Kikiprutprut » Mon, 28 Jan 2013 9:38 pm

We have recently moved to Singapore with two children and are leasing a cluster house around Tanah Merah. We do not have much experience with renting, as we have always own our property in the UK and this experience has put us off renting!

The TA stated that the landlord would:

- clean the curtains (not done and a limit of S$200 was set and the matter dragged for weeks so we got them cleaned ourselves)
- service the AC (not done until we begged as it was making funny noises)
- electrical check (not done, despite the fact that we were asked to connect the power 1 week prior to taking possession of the house)
- plumbing check (not done, although we connected the water supply 1 week before taking possession again)
- 4 sets of keys (only received 1)

Upon arrival, we had to draft an inventory, as the landlord's agent had given us one stating light fittings and AC units only and take pictures ourselves. We also realised two of the ceiling fans were very slow and advised the landlord. After a couple of weeks, he sent an electrician who identified that the motors were not working upon which the landlord told us that those fans were very troublesome and that he did not want to replace them, so he proposed standalone fans. As we had to wait for 4 weeks for a standalone fan (compromise on item and time), we went and bought our own but this option is not good with young kids. We also noticed that the motor of the extractor fan needed replacement, the drains in one of the bathrooms were blocked and the tap in the kitchen needed replacing (obviosly no plumber or electrician had checked the property). We also had to request for the AC to be serviced and the landlord's contractors had to come back again, as they did not check the outside units. To make matters worse one of my children shut one of the bedroom doors and we realised all the doors were lockable but we had no keys! We had to call a locksmith and subsequetly requested the keys to all the rooms. 6 weeks later and we have not yet seen the keys: the landlord is holding on to them until the agent provides to him a list of diocuments (?). We also had rain coming through the ceiling, although that seemed to be a building fault and, although the problem was sorted, no repairs were done to water-damaged ceiling.

And if this was not enough to deal with, one night our fan cum light went up in smoke (same model as the kids' rooms). We asked for all the fans cum light to be replaced like for like (as per TA) and the landlord advised that he wants to remove the fans and would give us wall fans. We compromised, once more, until he said he would give us basic fans with no remote, as if I want to get out of bed in the middle of the night to switch the fan on and off. The ceiling fans had remotes and now we are being asked to top up the difference!!!

Enough is enough so we have decided (after less than two months) to give two months' notice and leave, as he has made our life a misery and broke the TA on every single point. His agent sent an e-mail saying that the landlord agrees to let us go. However, he has changed his mind again and sent an e-mail saying that we will be liable for the remaining 10 months and he will forfeit the deposit. We have given him two months' notice and want to offset the last two months against the deposit (against the TA, but the place is in a much better state and cleaner we found it in) as he also had threatened us not to return the cheque with the LOI and WE DO NOT TRUST HIM (can you blame us?). He is threatening to take us to court.

Any advice? Do not ever rent from this landlord!!!!

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Post by x9200 » Mon, 28 Jan 2013 10:14 pm

Personally I don't think he has violated TA enough for you to break the lease. IMO you should take him to the court without terminating the lease.

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Post by JR8 » Mon, 28 Jan 2013 10:30 pm

My opinion is that it would be worth paying to run this by a lawyer who understands tenancy/rental law to advise. Maybe it would cost you S$250 for an hour, I don't know. But you sound in a rather entrenched and complex position and I think it might be money well spent.

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Post by Kikiprutprut » Mon, 28 Jan 2013 10:49 pm

x9200 wrote:Personally I don't think he has violated TA enough for you to break the lease. IMO you should take him to the court without terminating the lease.
Interesting point, thank you. Quick question, if you do not mind. On which basis can we take him to court? In addition to this, what would define breaking the TA on his part? Thank you, much appreciated!

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Post by offshoreoildude » Tue, 29 Jan 2013 8:14 am

Kikiprutprut wrote:
x9200 wrote:Personally I don't think he has violated TA enough for you to break the lease. IMO you should take him to the court without terminating the lease.
Interesting point, thank you. Quick question, if you do not mind. On which basis can we take him to court? In addition to this, what would define breaking the TA on his part? Thank you, much appreciated!
The basis you take him to court depends on what is actually in your TA. There is no overarching act or legislation here. So if you're TA says "House must be fit for habitation' or similar - that's the point you fight on.
Now I'm called PNGMK

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Post by x9200 » Tue, 29 Jan 2013 8:22 am

Kikiprutprut wrote:
x9200 wrote:Personally I don't think he has violated TA enough for you to break the lease. IMO you should take him to the court without terminating the lease.
Interesting point, thank you. Quick question, if you do not mind. On which basis can we take him to court? In addition to this, what would define breaking the TA on his part? Thank you, much appreciated!
I understood that when you wrote: "We asked for all the fans cum light to be replaced like for like (as per TA)" you referred to a clause in your TA stating that the LL was obliged to repair or replace the equipment or fixtures once broken. You backed up majority of your claims saying that they are based on the TA so this should be sufficient as the TA is here the basic ruling document.

Other things you could typically find in the local TAs include:
- responsibility of the LL to fix defects reported within 30 days from the beginning of the lease
- responsibility of the LL to fix or pay for fixing of the defects during the whole duration of the lease when the repair costs are above certain amount of money (typically anything between 100 and 250).

By the court I meant Small Claims Tribunal. It's inexpensive, efficient and pretty user friendly and you don't need a lawyer for filing the claims. You could demand there to have the things fixed or to have the rent lowered. Probably 80% of the problems would get fixed at the stage the LL realize you are serious about suing her/him.

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Advise on TA

Post by Kikiprutprut » Sat, 16 Mar 2013 10:49 pm

Hi All, I followed your advice and engaged a lawyer who said we have a very strong case but the cost of going to court would offset any potential benefit. We have therefore decided to take the landlord to the small claims court. Unfortunately, the landlord did not agree to the possibility of mediation so we have to represent ourselves in front of the judge. The landlord, since we have filed the case with the court, has agreed to carry out all repairs and has started engaging contractors and carrying out repairs. He is also incredibly nice in all correspondence. We have seen the file he has submitted to the court (we are entitled to a copy and he is entitled to a copy of ours) and he has omitted all the evidence which proves he broke the TA, which we have included. We have also found out that he has sent a personal e-mail to both agents saying that he is looking for residential and commercial properties and so are his relatives and he would like to engage the agents for these lucrative opportunities. Isn't this bribery and does it form part of perverting the course of justice? Please advise. thank you

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Re: Advise on TA

Post by JR8 » Sat, 16 Mar 2013 11:23 pm

Kikiprutprut wrote:Hi All, I followed your advice and engaged a lawyer who said we have a very strong case but the cost of going to court would offset any potential benefit. We have therefore decided to take the landlord to the small claims court. Unfortunately, the landlord did not agree to the possibility of mediation so we have to represent ourselves in front of the judge. The landlord, since we have filed the case with the court, has agreed to carry out all repairs and has started engaging contractors and carrying out repairs. He is also incredibly nice in all correspondence. We have seen the file he has submitted to the court (we are entitled to a copy and he is entitled to a copy of ours) and he has omitted all the evidence which proves he broke the TA, which we have included. We have also found out that he has sent a personal e-mail to both agents saying that he is looking for residential and commercial properties and so are his relatives and he would like to engage the agents for these lucrative opportunities. Isn't this bribery and does it form part of perverting the course of justice? Please advise. thank you
I’m not a lawyer, but I have taken two ‘Landlord + Tenant’ court cases, and so, my 2 cents FWIW....

What lawyer have you engaged: the usual repertoires seems to be - Go in all guns blazing plus apply for costs. I.e. seek for the judge/panel to find your way and in parallel award you costs [i.e. your legal fees]. In simple terms if someone is really taking the piss to the extent you have to take them to court, the court finds in your favour, it follows that you get compensated for the legal advice to get the klingon off you (but you have to apply via a parallel order for the award of costs). I.e. you lodge your case, and, you lodge a parallel application for costs.

PLEASE do not be at all afraid or nervous about going to court. I know, I understand, it is incredibly stressful, but they know that you feel like that too. They will bend over backwards to make it simple, and stress-free for you. Really.... exhale...

IME when you’re in the thick of it don’t go for 191 scatter-gun points. Get say 5 solid breaches, point out that they are by no means exhaustive but merely representative (ie ‘I have 100 more, but I value your time’). Hold the judges attention by being highly succinct – don’t bore him to death.

Justmy2c.

Keep us updated if you will.

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Post by x9200 » Sun, 17 Mar 2013 8:53 am

I second JR8's opinion with only this remark that I am not sure if the parallel cost recovering is possible - I know only about sequential but this may for purely pragmatic reasons (you don't know how much it is going to cost until the main part is done). Another point to check are the costs of recovery.

The alleged attempt of bribery. Yes, it looks this way but you have no proof, so be careful trying to use it. Do you rely that much on the agents testimonies?

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Post by Kikiprutprut » Sun, 17 Mar 2013 10:32 am

Hi All, we are taking the landlord to the small claims so the cost is irrelevant. I do rely on the agents, as they add more weight to my case and the evidence I have provided. This is a clear case of witness tampering and I wonder how it is perceived by the subordinate court. Thank you.

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Re: Advice on TA welcome! Mad landlord!

Post by JR8 » Sun, 17 Mar 2013 3:08 pm

Kikiprutprut wrote:However, he has changed his mind again and sent an e-mail saying that we will be liable for the remaining 10 months and he will forfeit the deposit. We have given him two months' notice and want to offset the last two months against the deposit (against the TA, but the place is in a much better state and cleaner we found it in) as he also had threatened us not to return the cheque with the LOI and WE DO NOT TRUST HIM (can you blame us?). He is threatening to take us to court.

Any advice? Do not ever rent from this landlord!!!!

Nightmare tenant!!

Let the buyer beware. You could have tested almost everything you whine about, before signing a lease. and for everything, there was 'proper channels' for a remedy.

He's going to crucify you, and have a legal basis on which to do so.

Your arse is toast, and it's your fault.

HTH!

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Post by Kikiprutprut » Sun, 17 Mar 2013 3:35 pm

How can you judge the tenant based on no evidence? We have tried in every possible way to get things repaired and, only now that we have issued court proceedings, the landlord has taken responsibility for the repairs. We have had to put up with a sub-standard living environment and, if you read further on, you will notice that we have not broken any agreement whatsoever. I appreciate advice, not criticism based on no knowledge. Thank you

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Post by taxico » Sat, 23 Mar 2013 11:22 am

i think your TA has said that the deposit cannot be used to pay rent. you're breaking the agreement if you don't pay rent.

you're right not to trust the LL. i'm not telling you to pay him (or to not do that).

i recommend you stay for as long as possible and find new accommodation. write this off as a lesson and move on.

make sure the utils are all terminated on time and in the proper manner.

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Post by JR8 » Sat, 23 Mar 2013 7:19 pm

Kikiprutprut wrote: I appreciate advice, not criticism based on no knowledge. Thank you
You cannot take it upon yourself to not pay your last two months rent, on the basis that the landlord holds a deposit against potential damage to his property.

That is advice based upon what you are suggesting, and not criticism.

If that doesn't make sense to you.... then good luck!

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Post by lalaland2013 » Thu, 04 Apr 2013 11:56 am

In Singapore, landlords and citizens will always have the upper hand. Singapore law is pro-landlord and if your landlord is a Singaporean, then you, the foreigner, will lose big time in any Singaporean court of law. My best advice is to cut the losses and move out. Yes, most Singaporean landlords are extremely greedy compared to the states, but Singapore is a greedy society in general.

When you go to court, the judge will ask what passes have you held in the past. If you are holding anything other than a pink NRIC, then the judgment will be much less likely to be in your favor.

It is unfair, but that's how corrupted Singapore is.

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