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flat hunting without agent = mission possible?

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Tue, 14 May 2013 12:20 am

+1^ With Janice.

There are many really grade A hole landlords. I'd photograph everything on arrival too.

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Postby katbh » Tue, 14 May 2013 3:38 pm

It is a rare landlord in Singapore that doesn't at least TRY to keep your bond! Only solution really is to document the place before you go in. Do not send the photos to them but make sure by using a newspaper date or date stamp that you have it dated. If you give the photos to the landlord...guaranteed they will find something that is NOT in the photos. So just make sure you let the agent/landlord know that you have photographed the place before entry.
You have virtually no rights if they keep your bond and I hear it is a real hassle to try to get the bond back from small claims court.
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Postby Sergei82 » Tue, 14 May 2013 3:46 pm

Strange, last landlord I dealt with was a pretty nice local Chinese couple. No problems, no complaints, everything returned on time, very positive experience.
But few of my friends are telling me horrible stories about them being on a brink of starting litigations...

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 14 May 2013 4:04 pm

katbh wrote:It is a rare landlord in Singapore that doesn't at least TRY to keep your bond! Only solution really is to document the place before you go in. Do not send the photos to them but make sure by using a newspaper date or date stamp that you have it dated. If you give the photos to the landlord...guaranteed they will find something that is NOT in the photos. So just make sure you let the agent/landlord know that you have photographed the place before entry.

The only way you may have it quasi-dated is to dump it on CD and mail to yourself via registered mail. Still if the date is after the apartment was handed over to the tenant the LL may claim it happened before the photos had been taken but after the handover. But hey, have a bit of belief in STC, they are not idiots over there and they realize the odds so I would just stick to the photos taken in the presence of an impartial witness (i.e. your agent).

katbh wrote:You have virtually no rights if they keep your bond and I hear it is a real hassle to try to get the bond back from small claims court.

I recall a few stories from this board contrary to the above statement. The only major problems I could see are if you have to leave the country immediately or/and if you have to engage the bailiff and the deposit is small.

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 14 May 2013 8:56 pm

Sergei82 wrote:Strange, last landlord I dealt with was a pretty nice local Chinese couple. No problems, no complaints, everything returned on time, very positive experience.
But few of my friends are telling me horrible stories about them being on a brink of starting litigations...


+1
My last landlady was great. She and her husband were a retired professional couple from D10 (very comfortably off). It could be that as much as we didn't want hassle, equally neither did they. So we did our best to be 'model tenants', and were well treated ans respected in return.

I also think there is mileage in entering a tenancy, displaying confidence in how all the admin/legal side of things works. If you go in all bambi-in-headlights, helpless, blur-like-sotong I know nothng... well maybe then you're inviting trouble down the track... just thought...

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Postby SV1231 » Sun, 16 Jun 2013 6:32 pm

JR8 wrote:
nakatago wrote:Which is only exacerbated by the fact that they have no motivation to get you a lower rent because their fee is a percentage of what you'll pay.

Someone once here made a deal with his agent that any decrease in his rent will go to his agent as part of the fee. You can try this or a variation thereof if ever you'll engage an agent.


I've heard of this being done.

Just say that you like a place offered at $5k/mo. You could offer your agent, above any commission already due, maybe 10-25% of one years incremental savings he can negotiate on the rent.

i.e. make is a win-win for both of you.


While flat hunting i realized that my interest, as a tenant, are in conflict with the agent's .. I did change the metrics of incentivizing it.. Below are the details... Btw, i am vacating that unit since my EP got cancelled :(.. I love the place, the unit, the LL.. All very good :)


But my case was slightly different I told agent that his fees would be inversely proportional to the rent I pay.. so the more rent I pay .. the less I pay towards agency fee & vice versa..

So I mentioned that I believe that the fair rental value of this flat is 2K.. I will top up ur agency fee of 2K with any reduction you get me on Rent.

He negotiated & reduced it by $150. I paid him $2150 (2000 Agency fee+ 150 incentive for getting a good rental)..btw, my company took he tab of brokerage :D

Worked well for everyone involved..

Btw mine is 9 mins walking from the MRT station.. and 3rd stop via bus
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Postby JR8 » Sun, 16 Jun 2013 6:37 pm

Absolutely, and good for you.

It's non-standard, but if you can do it it can work well for all concerned.

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Postby nakatago » Sun, 16 Jun 2013 6:42 pm

We were actually planning to do this for our last flat hunting but we ended up contacting an agent FOR a landlord. So, we just appointed one of our group as our point of contact and we got a place without paying an agent's fee.

We actually found out that we do the same amount of work, communicating anything to the landlord is faster and we saved money. Our conclusion: tenant agents are more often than not practically useless, slow things down and expensive.

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Postby the lynx » Tue, 06 May 2014 11:47 am

SV1231 wrote:While flat hunting i realized that my interest, as a tenant, are in conflict with the agent's .. I did change the metrics of incentivizing it.. Below are the details... Btw, i am vacating that unit since my EP got cancelled :(.. I love the place, the unit, the LL.. All very good :)

But my case was slightly different I told agent that his fees would be inversely proportional to the rent I pay.. so the more rent I pay .. the less I pay towards agency fee & vice versa..

So I mentioned that I believe that the fair rental value of this flat is 2K.. I will top up ur agency fee of 2K with any reduction you get me on Rent.

He negotiated & reduced it by $150. I paid him $2150 (2000 Agency fee+ 150 incentive for getting a good rental)..btw, my company took he tab of brokerage :D

Worked well for everyone involved..

Btw mine is 9 mins walking from the MRT station.. and 3rd stop via bus


I thought of this method and wondered, would this be considered as bribing?

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Postby Beeroclock » Tue, 06 May 2014 12:03 pm

the lynx wrote:
SV1231 wrote:While flat hunting i realized that my interest, as a tenant, are in conflict with the agent's .. I did change the metrics of incentivizing it.. Below are the details... Btw, i am vacating that unit since my EP got cancelled :(.. I love the place, the unit, the LL.. All very good :)

But my case was slightly different I told agent that his fees would be inversely proportional to the rent I pay.. so the more rent I pay .. the less I pay towards agency fee & vice versa..

So I mentioned that I believe that the fair rental value of this flat is 2K.. I will top up ur agency fee of 2K with any reduction you get me on Rent.

He negotiated & reduced it by $150. I paid him $2150 (2000 Agency fee+ 150 incentive for getting a good rental)..btw, my company took he tab of brokerage :D

Worked well for everyone involved..

Btw mine is 9 mins walking from the MRT station.. and 3rd stop via bus


I thought of this method and wondered, would this be considered as bribing?
I think the example needs to be clearer; if the agent is representing the tenant, then no it's not a bribe but a variable commission (performance based). However if the agent is representing the landlord and the tenant privately offer's the landlord's agent a side-payment for a lower rental, then yes this could be considered a bribe and both the tenant and (especially the) agent will get into trouble if they did such an arrangement to screw the landlord.

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 06 May 2014 2:30 pm

Beeroclock:
I think the example needs to be clearer; if the agent is representing the tenant, then no it's not a bribe but a variable commission (performance based).

However if the agent is representing the landlord and the tenant privately offer's the landlord's agent a side-payment for a lower rental, then yes this could be considered a bribe and both the tenant and (especially the) agent will get into trouble if they did such an arrangement to screw the landlord.


Point 1 - agreed
point 2 - it would be a conflict of interest for the agent to accept such a payment.

Edit: format
Last edited by JR8 on Tue, 06 May 2014 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Beeroclock » Tue, 06 May 2014 2:45 pm

JR8 wrote:point 2 - it would be a conflict of interest for the agent to accept such a payment.
Yup exactly, so I thought that means it can be construed as a bribe, per wikipedia "Bribery is an act of giving money or gift giving that alters the behavior of the recipient. "

For sure, the agent will be in big trouble for accepting. I mean far beyond a ban by CEA for this conflict of interest, bribery is a criminal act so will be pursued by police/CPIB. And the tenant can also be in trouble too under anti-corruption laws as the bribe giver.

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Postby Primrose Hill » Wed, 07 May 2014 12:25 pm

katbh wrote:It is a rare landlord in Singapore that doesn't at least TRY to keep your bond! Only solution really is to document the place before you go in. Do not send the photos to them but make sure by using a newspaper date or date stamp that you have it dated. If you give the photos to the landlord...guaranteed they will find something that is NOT in the photos. So just make sure you let the agent/landlord know that you have photographed the place before entry.
You have virtually no rights if they keep your bond and I hear it is a real hassle to try to get the bond back from small claims court.

Yup, horrendous

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Wed, 07 May 2014 1:00 pm

I have a really good Landlord for most part and we get along on very good terms, his wife ( the landlady) is an agent herself and although she could have represented herself as the agent for the husband, she didn't and I didn't pay for renewal charges when I renewed the apartment for a second time.

I had a washing machine breakdown on me and I went bought one myself and disposed the old one off, the landlord later said if i were to move out I could take that washing machine with me.

They never ever visit the apartment and visit only at renewal time and take prior permission, so far it's been a really great experience with me in this regard.

I also used to pay rent in a landed house before and although i stayed there for only 6/12 months that landlord and me became quite good friends and he payed me back the deposit on a pro-rated basis.
But reading some of the horror stories here I'm glad none of this has happened to me so far.
To get there early is on time and showing up on time is late

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Postby beppi » Wed, 07 May 2014 3:12 pm

I also had good experiences and with all landlords I ever had in Singapore - never any problem getting my deposit back.
I believe this is due to not using an agent, but dealing with the landlord directly in a friendly manner, and going an extra mile myself to make the landlord's life easier - e.g. I always arranged and supervised necessary repairs myself, paid for them and deducted from the next rent (of course after the landlord's approval by phone). Occasional small presents and invitations for afternoon tea also go a long way in building a friendly relationship.


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