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zzm9980
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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 4:30 pm

x9200 wrote:
Wd40 wrote:Basically there are no elaborate laws protecting the interests of tenants like there are in the UK for example.

I already asked this between the lines, but now more open way: why do you think the tenants should have more privileges than the landlords? I am sorry to say this but so far you (together with katbh) failed miserably to prove your basic claim that the tenants have no rights comparing to the LLs. If this is so obvious where is the difficulty of proving it?


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!). As such, when presented with a TA which heavily skews in the LL's favor, they blindly accept it because the market is in the LL's favor. If he doesn't agree to your demands, he'll eventually find a tenant who will, either due to ignorance or apathy.

I find the most amusing part of this discussion Wd40's enjoyment of the different 'architecture' in his new 4-room HDB. Do the laundry poles go out the back window at a different angle? Or perhaps the lift is now detached from the main building?

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 4:42 pm

I still don't get why do you say this is the LL's market. There are some exceptions but majority of the LL's don't want to keep the flat empty for obvious reasons so they are also vitally interested to seal the deal.
Is it something different for HDB?

Both LL and T have the rights but there are not specific to the rental. They are general based on civil law. Damages and compensation can be claimed this way.

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 5:24 pm

@Katbh
‘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 :)


@WD40
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 ;).

@Katbh
'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’’’ :lol: ! 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!!! :lol:

@WD40
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.

@ZZM
‘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.

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Postby Wd40 » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 5:42 pm

zzm9980 wrote:
x9200 wrote:
Wd40 wrote:Basically there are no elaborate laws protecting the interests of tenants like there are in the UK for example.

I already asked this between the lines, but now more open way: why do you think the tenants should have more privileges than the landlords? I am sorry to say this but so far you (together with katbh) failed miserably to prove your basic claim that the tenants have no rights comparing to the LLs. If this is so obvious where is the difficulty of proving it?


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!). As such, when presented with a TA which heavily skews in the LL's favor, they blindly accept it because the market is in the LL's favor. If he doesn't agree to your demands, he'll eventually find a tenant who will, either due to ignorance or apathy.

I find the most amusing part of this discussion Wd40's enjoyment of the different 'architecture' in his new 4-room HDB. Do the laundry poles go out the back window at a different angle? Or perhaps the lift is now detached from the main building?


No Lah, the difference is in that all 3 room flats are almost same size 4 squares, with the Living room leading to the kitchen at its shorter end and the 2 bedrooms exactly besides the living room and the kitchen.

This 4 room flat is slightly different. 1st of all the living room's larger edge is aligned with the corridor so more windows and the living room and the kitchen form a L shape and not a 1 big large rectangle like in the 3 room flats.

Here's the pictorial representation(click on the image):

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 6:19 pm

Interesting point there.

HDBs (or those I've seen) don't have internal hallways, everything is accessed right from the lounge, including the front-door!

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Postby nakatago » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 6:40 pm

JR8 wrote:Interesting point there.

HDBs (or those I've seen) don't have internal hallways, everything is accessed right from the lounge, including the front-door!


The HDB website has the floor plans.

e.g.

http://www101.hdb.gov.sg/hdbvsf/eampu03p.nsf/0/12MARBTOBB_page/$file/12MARBTOBB_typical.htm

Just poke around.

And I agree that Singapore should have an escrow system. Fairer to tenants regardless where they're headed after a lease and it should teach landlords some discipline with some money.

It's about time the people catch up with the economy (the "first world country with third world people" dig), albeit with baby steps.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 7:34 pm

The new floor plans that are on the HDB site are not liable for you to be able to rent in any case as they are for new developments so would not be eligible for rental for a minimum of 5 yeas after TOP or is it now 10 years?

Most of the old flats don not have a hallway, per se. I have a 25 year old 4BR 5 room flat without any hall at all (unless you call a 1 sq/m with doors in three sides as being a hallway.

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Postby nakatago » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 8:05 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:The new floor plans that are on the HDB site are not liable for you to be able to rent in any case as they are for new developments so would not be eligible for rental for a minimum of 5 yeas after TOP or is it now 10 years?

Most of the old flats don not have a hallway, per se. I have a 25 year old 4BR 5 room flat without any hall at all (unless you call a 1 sq/m with doors in three sides as being a hallway.


I've seen old floor plans on the hdb site, albeit with more google-fu but they're there.

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Postby PNGMK » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 8:10 pm

katbh wrote:Ok....First, and the basis of most bugs from tenants .... no escrow for bond.


It will come. Like everything else the gahmen is asked to fixed. I imagine some bright spark will copy the Australia bond lodgement system.

Actually there's no reason why the TA can't be drafted that way - sort of like a bank guarantee or L/C - only to be released when both parties agree all T&C have been satisfied.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 8:33 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:(unless you call a 1 sq/m with doors in three sides as being a hallway.


Damnit, I was just going to say "But, I have a hallway!" :P :cool:

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 8:41 pm

Wd40 wrote:No Lah, the difference is in that all 3 room flats are almost same size 4 squares, with the Living room leading to the kitchen at its shorter end and the 2 bedrooms exactly besides the living room and the kitchen.

This 4 room flat is slightly different. 1st of all the living room's larger edge is aligned with the corridor so more windows and the living room and the kitchen form a L shape and not a 1 big large rectangle like in the 3 room flats.

Here's the pictorial representation(click on the image):


OK, so you mean the internal layout. Generally when someone says "architecture" I take it as them referring to the external design and structure of the building. I've been in a new(er) (~8yr old) 4-room in SengKang. I guess it was the 'upgraded' or 'premium', but it surprised me how nice of a layout it had.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 9:03 pm

PNGMK wrote:
katbh wrote:Ok....First, and the basis of most bugs from tenants .... no escrow for bond.


It will come. Like everything else the gahmen is asked to fixed.


Not until voting constituents ask for it, and right now why would they? They're the LLs.

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 9:10 pm

zzm9980 wrote:Not until voting constituents ask for it, and right now why would they? They're the LLs.



Hahaha! Spot on :)

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Postby Wd40 » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 11:25 pm

zzm9980 wrote:
Wd40 wrote:No Lah, the difference is in that all 3 room flats are almost same size 4 squares, with the Living room leading to the kitchen at its shorter end and the 2 bedrooms exactly besides the living room and the kitchen.

This 4 room flat is slightly different. 1st of all the living room's larger edge is aligned with the corridor so more windows and the living room and the kitchen form a L shape and not a 1 big large rectangle like in the 3 room flats.

Here's the pictorial representation(click on the image):


OK, so you mean the internal layout. Generally when someone says "architecture" I take it as them referring to the external design and structure of the building. I've been in a new(er) (~8yr old) 4-room in SengKang. I guess it was the 'upgraded' or 'premium', but it surprised me how nice of a layout it had.


Yeah, the newer ones built in Sengkang and Punggol have better layouts, especially the executive ones and some have bathrooms not attached to the kitchen.

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Postby Wd40 » Sat, 19 Oct 2013 11:39 pm

x9200 wrote:
Wd40 wrote:Basically there are no elaborate laws protecting the interests of tenants like there are in the UK for example.

I already asked this between the lines, but now more open way: why do you think the tenants should have more privileges than the landlords? I am sorry to say this but so far you (together with katbh) failed miserably to prove your basic claim that the tenants have no rights comparing to the LLs. If this is so obvious where is the difficulty of proving it?


I am not saying tenants should have more privileges than Landlord, all I am saying is there should be some sort of protection to tenants rights so that it doesnt need to go to small claims court to fight it out to get the deposit back.

Right now as things stand, if an LL decides to play evil, what has he got to lose? He can simply come up with flimsy excuses like you havent cleaned the curtains or floor and neatly keep your deposit. A rare tenant may go an file a case in SCT and worst case the LL just has to return the deposit.

The law should deter these LLs from abusing these foreign tenants.

Couple of years back, they have formed the CEA and I can tell you that has really helped. For eg, in the past there were very few houses(especially HDBs) that you could rent without agent fee. Typically the landlords agent used to bring his friend in b/w and make him collect the tenant's agent fee. But now because they have become very strict about this malpractice, there are lots of HDBs that owner's agent advertise directly and as a tenant you can contact them and avoid the agent fee.


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