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Thread: PERILS OF RENTING

  1. #1
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    Default PERILS OF RENTING

    Hedy Khoo: My own experience

    PERILS OF RENTING

    June 25, 2007


    WITH property prices rising, it is common to hear housing agents talk of 'a landlord's market'.

    I heard these words from at least eight housing agents when I was looking for a place to rent last March.

    Rentals quoted in the classifieds for a private apartment were often the equivalent or more than the standard pay of a fresh graduate of about $2,000.

    There is an avalanche of issues to watch out for, with potential pitfalls everywhere.

    For a start, the descriptions of apartments are often inaccurate.

    I found that the agent's description often failed to tally with the actual state of the apartment.

    One studio apartment with the tagline 'compact and comfortable with old world charm' turned out to be a tiny room in an old mansion, with creaky and dusty furniture from the '70s.

    The shower cubicle was so narrow that you could not turn around while you showered. And the 'kitchenette' was more like a hole in the wall.

    Then there are the pressure tactics.

    Most agents will tell you that you better make up your mind immediately or 'tens of other prospective tenants' will snap it up soon.

    This isn't entirely untrue though. In some good locations, the apartment could be rented out within a day of the advertisement.

    In many cases, it's difficult to negotiate the deal as the landlords are not even present.

    In my case, one of the agents wanted me to write out a cheque for a month's rent, in the landlord's name.

    He told me he would be collecting cheques from two other prospective tenants. He would then let the landlord decide which tenant he wanted. If I wasn't chosen, the cheque would be returned to me the next day.

    NO GUARANTEE

    He also wanted me to sign a letter of intent, without the landlord's signature.

    As there was no guarantee I would get it, I declined.

    And the agent's reply? Prospective tenants who did not issue a cheque would be considered 'insincere' and thus be least likely to get it.

    For me, I decided to back out because there was no assurance that the landlord wouldn't take my money and run, save for the agent's word.

    And I hardly knew the agent either, to trust him so much.

    The agent who takes you to view the apartment may not even know the landlord as he may have another agent.

    Should the landlord run away, there is little the agents can do to help since they may not have details of the landlord either.

    I know because something similar happened to me too.

    Like the four Indian nationals, I paid a deposit of $1,600, and signed a letter of intent without the landlord's signature, as he was supposedly abroad and accepted a receipt similar to the one given to Mr Saravanankumar.

    I was told I could move in two weeks later, but that didn't happen. The agent was also of no help initially, because she went on leave.

    While I was able to recover my deposit from the agent eventually, I was still left in the lurch three days before I was scheduled to move.

    Fortunately I found another apartment, although at a higher rent and at a less convenient location.

    So what can be done to protect tenants in a landlord's market?

    With the en-bloc fever, tenants also stand to lose if the building is put up for sale because most tenancy agreements have an escape clause for landlords.

    But there may not be any such escape clause for tenants. If tenants sign for a two-year lease and break it, the landlord keeps the deposit.

    While there is the Institute of Estate Agents, which aims to protect the interests of estate agents as well as members of the public who engage their services, there doesn't seem to be a body to regulate landlords.

    In the rental market, it is very much left to tenants to navigate their way through property agents and landlords while figuring out the rental procedure and bearing the risks involved.

    Perhaps it is time to regulate the rental market and provide clear guidelines for the process. Until then, the only alternative left for aggrieved tenants would be to approach the Small Claims Tribunal to recover their money.

  2. #2
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    Default Tenants from "Hell"!

    Some tenants in arrears hold landlords to ransom
    04:45 AM Jul 21, 2011
    by Esther Ng
    SINGAPORE - With Singaporeans increasingly turning to renting out their apartments for extra income, more disputes are flaring up between landlords and tenants, according to lawyers and property agents. And it is not only the landlords who are giving their tenants headaches.
    Anecdotally, complaints of landlords being held ransom by tenants in arrears and refusing to move out are increasing.
    Property agent G Rajan told Today that three out of 10 rental disputes in the last two years he handled, were from landlords. He said: "It's a lot of legwork and time spent going after the tenant."
    A recent case involve a couple who were unable to drive out their tenant.
    Mr Poh Boon Kay, 62, and his wife got SP Services to terminate the utilities account on March 7, hoping that this would prompt their tenant to move out.
    However, the tenant lodged an objection to the termination. He got his lawyer to send a letter to SP Services citing that he was still residing at the premises and that termination of the tenancy was being disputed. The utilities services were restored.
    In a letter to Mr Poh - which was seen by Today - SP Services said that, under the Electricity Act, it had an "obligation" to "supply utilities to occupants who require the supplies".
    It added: "We have an obligation to reinstate the account opened by the tenant given that there is no sufficiently strong reason why we should not reinstate the account."
    Mr Poh said his tenant "identified himself as a property agent and said he had clients and he would sign the tenancy agreement on their behalf". Mr Poh added: "Later, we found out that he had sublet the unit to some foreign women."
    When contacted, the tenant declined comment.
    In another case, nautical engineer M Gopalan said his tenant thrashed his Azalea Park unit and left him with S$4,400 worth of repairs.
    The tenant also defaulted on payment three months into the tenancy and refused to vacate. Fortunately for Mr Gopalan, his property agent managed to contact the tenant's brother and eventually persuaded him to leave.
    For most landlords, their only recourse is the legal route - taking out a court order to repossess the property and recover the arrears. But this entails cost and time, said lawyers.
    Lawyer Abdul Rahman noted that a tenancy agreement is usually geared "towards the protection" of the landlord, and that the landlord has the "full option of the law" to go after the errant tenant.
    Mr Rahman added: "(Landlords) need to cut their losses but the longer it takes to evict the tenant, the more the landlord is at the losing end ... There have been cases which went on for as long as four months in the courts."

    Quote Originally Posted by mr funny
    Hedy Khoo: My own experience

    PERILS OF RENTING

    June 25, 2007


    WITH property prices rising, it is common to hear housing agents talk of 'a landlord's market'.

    I heard these words from at least eight housing agents when I was looking for a place to rent last March.

    Rentals quoted in the classifieds for a private apartment were often the equivalent or more than the standard pay of a fresh graduate of about $2,000.

    There is an avalanche of issues to watch out for, with potential pitfalls everywhere.

    For a start, the descriptions of apartments are often inaccurate.

    I found that the agent's description often failed to tally with the actual state of the apartment.

    One studio apartment with the tagline 'compact and comfortable with old world charm' turned out to be a tiny room in an old mansion, with creaky and dusty furniture from the '70s.

    The shower cubicle was so narrow that you could not turn around while you showered. And the 'kitchenette' was more like a hole in the wall.

    Then there are the pressure tactics.

    Most agents will tell you that you better make up your mind immediately or 'tens of other prospective tenants' will snap it up soon.

    This isn't entirely untrue though. In some good locations, the apartment could be rented out within a day of the advertisement.

    In many cases, it's difficult to negotiate the deal as the landlords are not even present.

    In my case, one of the agents wanted me to write out a cheque for a month's rent, in the landlord's name.

    He told me he would be collecting cheques from two other prospective tenants. He would then let the landlord decide which tenant he wanted. If I wasn't chosen, the cheque would be returned to me the next day.

    NO GUARANTEE

    He also wanted me to sign a letter of intent, without the landlord's signature.

    As there was no guarantee I would get it, I declined.

    And the agent's reply? Prospective tenants who did not issue a cheque would be considered 'insincere' and thus be least likely to get it.

    For me, I decided to back out because there was no assurance that the landlord wouldn't take my money and run, save for the agent's word.

    And I hardly knew the agent either, to trust him so much.

    The agent who takes you to view the apartment may not even know the landlord as he may have another agent.

    Should the landlord run away, there is little the agents can do to help since they may not have details of the landlord either.

    I know because something similar happened to me too.

    Like the four Indian nationals, I paid a deposit of $1,600, and signed a letter of intent without the landlord's signature, as he was supposedly abroad and accepted a receipt similar to the one given to Mr Saravanankumar.

    I was told I could move in two weeks later, but that didn't happen. The agent was also of no help initially, because she went on leave.

    While I was able to recover my deposit from the agent eventually, I was still left in the lurch three days before I was scheduled to move.

    Fortunately I found another apartment, although at a higher rent and at a less convenient location.

    So what can be done to protect tenants in a landlord's market?

    With the en-bloc fever, tenants also stand to lose if the building is put up for sale because most tenancy agreements have an escape clause for landlords.

    But there may not be any such escape clause for tenants. If tenants sign for a two-year lease and break it, the landlord keeps the deposit.

    While there is the Institute of Estate Agents, which aims to protect the interests of estate agents as well as members of the public who engage their services, there doesn't seem to be a body to regulate landlords.

    In the rental market, it is very much left to tenants to navigate their way through property agents and landlords while figuring out the rental procedure and bearing the risks involved.

    Perhaps it is time to regulate the rental market and provide clear guidelines for the process. Until then, the only alternative left for aggrieved tenants would be to approach the Small Claims Tribunal to recover their money.

  3. #3
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    The rental supplies from condo and HDB are increasing. With smaller tenants pool to choose from and more competition, there will be more such horrible stories for future inexperienced landlords.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyenergix
    The rental supplies from condo and HDB are increasing. With smaller tenants pool to choose from and more competition, there will be more such horrible stories for future inexperienced landlords.
    The huge new BTO launches and PC launches will only take effect 3 years down the road and by then, we'd have been clearer with the housing market or the next down might have struck so yes horrid stories might be the tune of many new landlords!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyenergix
    The rental supplies from condo and HDB are increasing. With smaller tenants pool to choose from and more competition, there will be more such horrible stories for future inexperienced landlords.
    Does it means experienced landlord will be saved from suffering? A book cannot be judged by it's cover... I can only check their profile the rest I leave it to God .... Lol

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    Even though I'm not a landlord or aspire to be one, more experience counts towards good tenant selection and legal recourse should things turn sour.

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    Mostly its when the greed take over the common sense..
    Am sure that landlord was offered extra rental over market rate, thats why didnt bothered who the tenants are

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    Rule of thumb for me is never to rent to indians and prcs. Best are japanese, followed by ang mohs then koreans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regulators
    Rule of thumb for me is never to rent to indians and prcs. Best are japanese, followed by ang mohs then koreans.
    when you mention indians, do you indians with indian nationality or indians with british passports?
    Seems to me quite a fair bit of British of Indian origins nowadays.

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    I was referring to india and local indians.As for british indians, I also avoid to err on the side of caution. Their culture is very thick wherever they go, basic mentality won't change very much.
    Quote Originally Posted by hopeful
    when you mention indians, do you indians with indian nationality or indians with british passports?
    Seems to me quite a fair bit of British of Indian origins nowadays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regulators
    Rule of thumb for me is never to rent to indians and prcs. Best are japanese, followed by ang mohs then koreans.
    My experience with ang mohs also not very pleasant! I shall just stop there!

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    We should not have a sweeping statement of any nationality. I have rented out to very good Indian who came from very US MNCs. It really depends on individual.
    Quote Originally Posted by Regulators
    I was referring to india and local indians.As for british indians, I also avoid to err on the side of caution. Their culture is very thick wherever they go, basic mentality won't change very much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DC33_2008
    We should not have a sweeping statement of any nationality. I have rented out to very good Indian who came from very US MNCs. It really depends on individual.
    Agree. I have Indian tenants who keep the unit very neat, and Korean tenants who made the unit smell like a BBQ pit.
    Every viewed an unit with Japanese tenants, the place was messy and poorly upkept, so at the end did not buy
    When it comes to selecting tenants, must be very careful

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    I am rather fortunate with tenants as I did not have much problem with them in the last 18 years of renting out my properties to different nationality.

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    Would couple with young children be a better profile?
    Since they have to keep the place 'clean' for their kids.

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    When I gave 1 month's notice to terminate my agreement (landlord is holding on to 1 month's rent as deposit and the signed agreement was that upon giving notice I don't have to pay him for the last month), my landlord tried to borrow money from me. (As if I'll ever get my money back)

    When that failed, he tried to get rid of me early by telling me that his friend borrowed his IC to loan money from loansharks. He wanted me to move out "for my own safety" in case the loansharks come looking for him.

    I didn't move out early and nothing happened.

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    face it, between an indian and ang mo family, which one would you go for if you have not met either families face to face?
    Quote Originally Posted by DC33_2008
    We should not have a sweeping statement of any nationality. I have rented out to very good Indian who came from very US MNCs. It really depends on individual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regulators
    face it, between an indian and ang mo family, which one would you go for if you have not met either families face to face?
    If you are an Indian, you may prefer an Indian tenant. If you are a Chinese, you may prefer ang mo family. If you are an experienced landlord, you'll personally interview them first before saying which you would go for!

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    When I rented a house in the UK, I have to provide a list of all my previous landlord and the HR contact for reference check by the agent. I have to pay a non-refundable fee to the agent to perform the check. The TA can only be signed when this reference check passes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judas
    When I rented a house in the UK, I have to provide a list of all my previous landlord and the HR contact for reference check by the agent. I have to pay a non-refundable fee to the agent to perform the check. The TA can only be signed when this reference check passes.
    Laws in UK are skewed in favour of renters.. my boss literally had to pay tenant to leave his home

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockinsg
    Laws in UK are skewed in favour of renters.. my boss literally had to pay tenant to leave his home
    Holland aso vy jialat.....vy vy tough to chase out tenants....near impossible

    Sg quite pro landlord oredi

    If die die dunwan to move out n owe rental....i will get contractor to remove toilet bowl n sink....whahaha

    Do it asap....within 1mth can remove toilet bowl n sink liao....makan the 2 mth deposit to compensate for the cost incurred

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    Only accept Indian from MNCs except from India. Talking to them helps to size him up.
    Quote Originally Posted by ysyap
    If you are an Indian, you may prefer an Indian tenant. If you are a Chinese, you may prefer ang mo family. If you are an experienced landlord, you'll personally interview them first before saying which you would go for!

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    I am chinese but I will never rent to prc. Likewise, there are indians who don't like renting to their own kind.
    Quote Originally Posted by ysyap
    If you are an Indian, you may prefer an Indian tenant. If you are a Chinese, you may prefer ang mo family. If you are an experienced landlord, you'll personally interview them first before saying which you would go for!

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    I am quite open to different nationality as long the rental is not compromised. They are helping me to service my loan and provide passive income. Not prejudice against any nationality or race. Got colleague who kept their unit empty as weekend home. Quite wasteful. Some of my units are already fully pay-up with the help of rental. I must qualify that rental was much higher then and $psf was much lower but interest is higher then. Also came across some Indians who will rent unit of certain floor and unit no.
    Quote Originally Posted by Regulators
    I am chinese but I will never rent to prc. Likewise, there are indians who don't like renting to their own kind.

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    prc and indians are known (not all but in general) not to take care of landlord's properties and this is through the feedback of agents that have been working the ground all these years. Through these feedbacks, stereotypes are formed and I would rather go with the stereotypes for pace of mind. When I opened my condos for rental, I get agents bringing indian families to view, I have indian kids on the day of viewing already pulling my curtains and parents just ignore that, continuing to view the unit. I get really negative feedback from my agents about prc and indian tenants as well that is why I would rather err on the side of caution
    Quote Originally Posted by DC33_2008
    I am quite open to different nationality as long the rental is not compromised. They are helping me to service my loan and provide passive income. Not prejudice against any nationality or race. Got colleague who kept their unit empty as weekend home. Quite wasteful. Some of my units are already fully pay-up with the help of rental. I must qualify that rental was much higher then and $psf was much lower but interest is higher then. Also came across some Indians who will rent unit of certain floor and unit no.

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    Now it is still the landlord to call the shots in the current market. Wait till there is an oversupply of unit in the market, there will be limited choice of tenants.
    Quote Originally Posted by Regulators
    prc and indians are known (not all but in general) not to take care of landlord's properties and this is through the feedback of agents that have been working the ground all these years. Through these feedbacks, stereotypes are formed and I would rather go with the stereotypes for pace of mind. When I opened my condos for rental, I get agents bringing indian families to view, I have indian kids on the day of viewing already pulling my curtains and parents just ignore that, continuing to view the unit. I get really negative feedback from my agents about prc and indian tenants as well that is why I would rather err on the side of caution

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