Landlord withdrawing from tenancy

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Rb85
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Landlord withdrawing from tenancy

Post by Rb85 » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 10:10 am

Good morning all. I am after a bit of advice.

Last week I viewed a condo, decided I liked it so put down a deposit, paid the first month and signed the tenancy agreement. This was for a 3 month lease.

I am due to be moving in on the 10th, however received a call on Monday basically saying I can no longer move in. When I asked why, the response was that there is a defect with the apartment, which is brand new and never been slept in. I didn't believe this for a minute. So after several more conversations I am under the impression they have either found someone who has offered more or for a longer term, after I had signed.

Can anyone offer any advice? Is this legal in Singapore, and where do I stand? At the moment they still have my deposit and first months rent totalling nearly $14,000.

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Post by Hannieroo » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 10:31 am

Somebody who actually knows will reply but I was under the impression that you first sign a letter of intent that you can both pull out of, money back no hard feelings. I was also under the impression that you can't have a 3 month lease. So I would think your cash will be back pretty quickly.

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Post by AngMoG » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 10:39 am

I don't think that's legal, as you already signed the tenancy agreement. Regarding short term rent - afaik, it's legal for condo, but a lot of Condo Managements won't allow it.

The only reason they can pull out is if the place is really not in liveable condition. I would say ask for the specific defects, for photographic proof, and ask to see the apartment. Maybe mention legal avenues and add indemnization if they squirm (just don't take any yet), seeing as there is a signed contract they need to fulfill.

*edit* if the place not being in liveable condition is their fault, you may still be due some extra, though there really isn't much in terms of laws here to protect tenants.
Also, the agent (if there is one in play here) needs to behave ethically, and if they're refusing to fulfill the contract because they found someone who wants to stay longer/pay more, you have every right to file a complaint with the CRE.

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Post by Wd40 » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 11:59 am

1st thing make sure, you are getting back your money. The worst case scenario is the landlord may not return you your money. That would be a bigger headache for you.

If they are reasonable and letting you take your money back without much hassles, I would say move on. You still have a month to look for another house.

Regardless of how strong your position is in this case, you dont want to deal with an asshole landlord like that, do you? You never know what more is in store after you move into the place. Whether they will return your deposit easily at the end of the contract, etc.

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Post by katbh » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 12:19 pm

Sorry RB85. I think we need to get a few things straight before we can really advise.
Have you signed a letter of intent and paid deposit or have you signed a lease and paid rent in advance plus deposit. I am assuming the second.
Was the lease stamped for stamp duty? If it has been stamped it is legally binding and can be used as evidence. If it has not been stamped the ball is in your court. If you want to press the lease, go and get it stamped asap. But where will this leave you? You may be no better off.
Singapore really has NO tenants right - the law is on the side of the landlord and even if it is not the law that it is on his/her side, he/she is holding the money!
So look at what you want to happen, what the likelihood is that this will occur and what therefore you should do.
I would suggest that the landlord is unlikely to budge and even if you were to press the stamped lease, the landlord could hold up your money while the case goes through courts/claims tribunal.
In the long run, you do not want to rent from a shitty landlord. Move on quickly. Insist on your money back immediately. If you do not get it back immediately, send a letter of demand.
If it is really dodgy, speak to the police. Sometimes landlords/agents do bluff and take money from people just like you, for apartments they are also showing to many other people.

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Post by ecureilx » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 1:12 pm

AngMoG wrote:I don't think that's legal, as you already signed the tenancy agreement. Regarding short term rent - afaik, it's legal for condo, but a lot of Condo Managements won't allow it.
From my 2 cents legal speak, if the agent now says not ilveable, he lied, and marketed an unliveable apartment

And secondly, the landlord cashed the payment = legally, the agreed to the terms and conditions and let you stay - quote a recent case where the landlord cashed the cheque and then had a change of mind, Court forced the landlord to pay back the advance, damages, court fee and the difference in the rental, for the tenant ..

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Post by katbh » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 1:28 pm

There is no doubt that the Landlord is liable to pay back the funds. The question is how quickly can it be got back. Or does the OP want to press the original lease. The original lease can definitely be pressed, but to what end. The Landlord can go in there and rip out a few fuses, and say the house is not habitable.
I believe, it would be in OP's best interests to press the lease if she wants it. Say that she has a legal lease and request proof that it is not habitable - ask to inspect.
If in fact it is not habitable, or if landlord just refuses, best to act quiet and just get money back. The least hassle the OP makes, probably the quicker she will get her money back.
But of course, there is no denying that the landlord MUST pay back all the money paid - even the stamp duty if it was paid.
What is important is what result the OP wants. To press the lease, or to get their money back?

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Post by ecureilx » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 1:32 pm

katbh wrote: ....
in simpler terms, it was breach of trust ..

So just get the money back ? I wouldn't just do so

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Post by AngMoG » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 1:43 pm

At the minimum, I'd ask for money back within a week, plus specified damages (e.g., difference in rent for new place, cost of money outlay, etc.).

As others pointed out, you can force the matter and probably have the law on your side if you do so, depending on what papers you do and do not have. in that case, it may be good to talk to a lawyer. But that may leave you with a broken relationship with the landlord and/or agent, so may make living and getting the deposit back in the end more difficult than it has to be. My understanding from the OP is that it is a short-term rental, so a broken relationship may be acceptable ;)

Either way, I suggest reporting the agent's conduct to CRE, we need to do our best to weed out the bad ones :P

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Post by Rb85 » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 5:45 pm

Thanks for all the comments so far. Sorry image replying, was on a flight back from Tokyo. I wrote the original message just as we were taking off so it might have been too vague.

Let me try and cover it all from the beginning. Last week I went to view the apartment, brand new apartment in a brand new complex, ascencia sky. I think the keys were only handed out a matter of days before hand, so in my opinion impossible to be defective. When I viewed the place, it was immaculate with covers still on most of the appliances.

The apartment was offered as more of a Serviced Apartment. Fully furnished, cleaning and utilities included. It was meant to be a stop gap until I either signed on full term or found a long term apartment elsewhere.

The day of the viewing I said I would take it. Tenancy agreement was signed and I arranged for transfer of the payment that night. (1 months deposit and 1 months rent).

the tenancy was due to start today. I flew to Tokyo on Sunday, and was sent a text message on Monday saying I could no longer move in. When I spoke to her initially on the phone, she said there was a defect with the apartment. When I asked what as it was immaculate when I viewed, she responded with "I don't know". After more phone calls she said it was her brothers apartment and she was just managing jt, and he's changed his mind and doesnt want to lease it. After speaking to the agent or organised the viewings etc, they mentioned that they are looking for a long term tenant now. As already mentioned, I believe they have had a better offer in price or duration since I have signed and paid, which has really annoyed me.

As I was due to move in today, I am now technically homeless and will have to seek accommodation in a hotel until I find an alternative place.

Part of me wants to press the matter and move in as it was a really nice apartment and to put a spanner in their works. But the other half doesn't want to give them a penny. I guess it's too late now anyway as today is moving day?

I really don't know what to do about this all as I'm very new to Singapore and don't know the ins and outs.

If anymore information is needed please let me know.

Thanks,

Ryan

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Post by PNGMK » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 6:16 pm

Rb85 wrote:Thanks for all the comments so far. Sorry image replying, was on a flight back from Tokyo. I wrote the original message just as we were taking off so it might have been too vague.

Let me try and cover it all from the beginning. Last week I went to view the apartment, brand new apartment in a brand new complex, ascencia sky. I think the keys were only handed out a matter of days before hand, so in my opinion impossible to be defective. When I viewed the place, it was immaculate with covers still on most of the appliances.

The apartment was offered as more of a Serviced Apartment. Fully furnished, cleaning and utilities included. It was meant to be a stop gap until I either signed on full term or found a long term apartment elsewhere.

The day of the viewing I said I would take it. Tenancy agreement was signed and I arranged for transfer of the payment that night. (1 months deposit and 1 months rent).

the tenancy was due to start today. I flew to Tokyo on Sunday, and was sent a text message on Monday saying I could no longer move in. When I spoke to her initially on the phone, she said there was a defect with the apartment. When I asked what as it was immaculate when I viewed, she responded with "I don't know". After more phone calls she said it was her brothers apartment and she was just managing jt, and he's changed his mind and doesnt want to lease it. After speaking to the agent or organised the viewings etc, they mentioned that they are looking for a long term tenant now. As already mentioned, I believe they have had a better offer in price or duration since I have signed and paid, which has really annoyed me.

As I was due to move in today, I am now technically homeless and will have to seek accommodation in a hotel until I find an alternative place.

Part of me wants to press the matter and move in as it was a really nice apartment and to put a spanner in their works. But the other half doesn't want to give them a penny. I guess it's too late now anyway as today is moving day?

I really don't know what to do about this all as I'm very new to Singapore and don't know the ins and outs.

If anymore information is needed please let me know.

Thanks,

Ryan
Do you have keys? If so, move in and make them follow the correct lease termination procedures. They CANNOT evict you with the police etc if you have a valid lease.

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Post by x9200 » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 6:25 pm

Was the TA also signed by the other party and who was the other party, her or her brother? Do you have a signed copy of TA in your hands?

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Post by Rb85 » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 7:05 pm

I have no keys as I flew to Tokyo the same day everything was completed. I was due to be picking them up/moving in today.

I do not have a copy in my hands, as the agent who dealt with it said they need to take it back to the landlord for signing and would return on completion. Is this a big problem? Have I made a huge mistake letting her leave without having a signed copy for myself?

Its a family run company (not sure if im allowed to say the company name in here?) who own several properties. I have receipts/invoices for the amount paid to the company and lease start/termination dates is included on these.

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Post by Rb85 » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 7:08 pm

On a slightly different tangent, I saw the property advertised on Roomorama. My friend emailed the company asking if its available to lease and they replied saying it was taken. So it looks as if they have definitely leased it out after I paid/signed.

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Post by x9200 » Wed, 10 Jul 2013 8:39 pm

1) If the LL did not sign the TA it is void
2) If the sister has no rights to represent the company the TA is void (you have a legal case against her)
3) If everything is ok and legally signed but you don't have any copy how you are going to prove your claims? If your agent has it, it's ok, but if the copy is still with the LL, I would not count on passing it back to you.

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