‘Most landlords in Singapore are awful. They know that they have all the rights and the tenants have none.
Landlords in places like UK and Aus know that they also have social obligations that are backed up by tenant protection bodies/tribunals etc. So tenants are treated better and properties better looked after by the landlord. Here they do not care.
That is an inaccurate, and rather unkind sweeping statement (IMHO). I’ve rented three flats here and have yet to have a problem with a landlord. I appreciate we get to hear some bad stories here from time to time, but these writers come here for help, no one comes here just to sing the praises of their good landlords.
What ‘social obligation’ do I have as a landlord? It’s 100% business!
What I think is the source of much of the conflict we get to hear about is a lack of regulation, and information. But remember that SG is an attractive destination to do business precisely due to it’s relatively light regulation. Put it another way, if I as a landlord have to comply with a new piece of legislation, and it costs me $250 a year, guess what happens: Your rent goes up $250. So it is the 98%, who are good tenants, of good landlords, who get to pay for the protection of the unlucky 2%. Put like that, do you feel so pro-regulation still?
Now, being a legally minded person .... I HAVE THE AGREEMENT IN WRITING... When you have it in writing it becomes binding.
A verbal contract is equally as binding and enforceable. (Side-thought: Come to think of it can’t Muslim men divorce their wives by saying ‘I divorce thee’ three times to their wives?). Silently raising your hand in an auction room, forms a legally binding contract, as does the slightest nod or eyebrow flicker, that catches the auctioneers attention.
Some other of your statements seem pretty confused/confusing to me (the supposed formation of a ‘new’ contract etc), but IANAL so I’ll leave it there
Its again due to the unusual market dynamics here. Most tenants are foreigners who dont have enough time to look for a house. Some need to sign a contract within a week. Supply-demand is also very much skewed in the favour of landlords. How often do tenants have bargaining power here? The tenancy agreement itself is drafted by the landlord's agency keeping their interests in mind. How often do you find tenants having the power to negotiate on the terms?
Yes, and parallel to that, when people leave a property
, the landlords can pretty safely assume (unless your name begins with ‘SundayMorning...’ ‘) that you’re going back home. And since they’ve already spent your deposit, and you can’t access the Small Claims Court from abroad, and you’re most unlikely to instruct a lawyer... that that’s your tough luck. A useful tip, Vs a landlord you don’t entirely trust, is to tell them on departure that you are simply moving to another area, and not going home.
The solution to this, would be an escrow scheme, where the deposits are held by an independent 3rd party. As in the UK. But this is just another element of regulation.
What would also be of great assistance, would be to have a template tenancy agreement (TA). In the UK you can buy them from HMSO (legal stationers). These days they are also written in ‘Crystal Mark - Plain English’ ... i.e. no legal jargon. So everyone understands all the terms.
On a side note re your latter point, you cannot enforce an ‘Unreasonable’ term in a TA. I’ve made this analogy before I think: Your TA might state you have to run naked around the swimming eight times each morning, and you’ve signed that TA, but it’s not enforceable. I think an issue is that much FT look at squeaky modern SG, and probably presume there is consumer protection, say as back home, but of course there’s not.
I also agree with your point that many tenants do not read what they’re signing up to. You’d be surprised the proportion of tenants who claim not to understand that they have to give one months notice to quit. Or that ‘The property is not to be sub-let or under-let’, means they can’t move in and a month later take on two paying lodgers.... etc etc etc lol...
Hey and then finally ... ‘’’JINX!!’’’, I’ve just got to your point about escrow...
Naturally I find your point, nobly wise, deeply insightful, and radiantly perspicacious
'Not the most sensible or reasoned response there. I am guessing you are a landlord. You may be ethical but most, and I really do say most, are not. Just read the forum here to see where the grouses are. I will respond fuller later but i am on way out so will need to do it later.’
Well, ‘’’charmed I’m sure’’’
! I’d love to hear your horror stories. Tell you what, for every nightmare-landlord story you have, I’ll give you a first-hand nightmare-tenant story. Deal!? One of my best-worst ones concerns some high-end Ozzie chicks, you'll love it I'm sure!!!
‘If you think the rent increase is unfair, you can apply to a rent assessment committee who will decide the rent amount..
This was quite staggering. I’m a long-time UK landlord, and I knew about RAC’s, from back in the 1980’s, but I had no idea that they still exist! And I’m a well-informed landlord! It’s interesting as it is RACs setting/enforcing ridiculously low rents (‘Regulated rents’) that caused such problems as ‘slum-lords’ back in the 60s. Pay little = get little. Needs repairs done = tough luck. It is precisely the reverse of such regulation that encouraged letting, and seriously drove up standards over the past two decades.
‘Its says landlord is responsible for repairs to bathroom pipe, drains etc. Here in Singapore, they conveniently have a clause that everything upto $200 should be repaired by the tenant.’
I found this clause very odd too. But as I understand it (as I have been told by an agent who is a trusted relative) this is because some people here are not very DIY-minded. And will happily call a landlord demanding that as little as a lightbulb be replaced. So the clause is to dissuade the kiasu from being indolent.
‘Both sides have equal rights, none except what is in the TA. Many foreigners are just not used to this as they come from locations with strong tenants rights comparatively (to none!) ’
Yes in the UK you’ve had a whole raft of ‘Landlord and Tenant Acts’ [tenant protection] going back nigh on a century, I think the presumption of many is that there is going to be some similar framework here.