Have you found yourself in an undesirable position after you signed the Tenancy Agreement (TA) to the flat you thought was good enough for you and your family? Have you yelled at your agent for not alerting you to the problem before you binded yourself to the legal agreement, and now you have to fork out your own money to resolve the problem?
Well, this is one hassle that No One wants to face especially when you will be legally binded under the law and there’s no way for you to refuse. To avoid tenant and landlord disputes, here are some of my advice to tenants who prefer not to be represented by an agent.
1. Check on the working condition of the aircondition and its condensor. Make sure that there is a clause regarding anything and everything to do with the aircon, from the repairs to the maintenance. If for example it’s love at first sight and you really want the house badly but the aircondition is in a undesire condition, make sure it is written in the LOI that the issue will be solved before signing the TA.
2. Check on the conditions of the doors and walls around the house. If you are the extemely particular type, you can even take pictures of the paints that seem to be peeling or door hinges that you feel might give way to any time, to ensure that the landlord doesn’t put the blame on you. It might sound and look really silly, but there are landlords who will use all ways and means just to keep your securtiy deposit. I can feel your ache just reading the words ‘security deposit’. It is crucial that you protect your own interests.
3. Look out for the fibre optic port. NEVER assume that all houses come with it. Old homes especially do not have them installed most of the time. The installation of the fibre optic port is usally arranged by the service provider of your choice as they usually come with package promotions, which will be reflected in the internet bill borne by you. Technically, it is not the landlord’s agent’s duty to let you know if there is one unless you ask as internet, telecommunications, electric, gas, water and any other service related are your responsibilities. This is why try not to assume and start asking questions. A good agent will patiently answer all of them no matter how silly they may sound.
4. If you would like to add / alter / remove anything from the house, always inform the landlord before doing so. If possible, write it down in the Inventory List the items that you will be removing or you wish the landlord to remove for you. It is mandatory that the house be returned to the landlord in its original state otherwise the landlord has the rights to forfeit your security deposit, and you wouldn’t want 2 months of your security deposit to be happily swimming in the landlord’s pocket would you?
5. ALWAYS, and I cannot further emphasize the word ‘always’, read the LOI and TA carefully. There might be additional clauses that are not in your favour and when you don’t read, it puts the landlords at the winning end and you, well, not something you want to think about. You also need to bear in mind that you as the tenant is responsible for the tenant stamp duty. This stamp duty is to be paid to IRAS and not to the landlord. This procedure can be done by the landlord agent if they are kind enough to help you. This stamp duty is to allow you to move into the premise on the agreed date, otherwise you will be deemed as trespassing and the landlord has the rights to evade you from his/her unit.
These are just some of the few general things I’ve seen happen to many tenants, if you would like to add on, just leave a comment below to share your experience! 🙂
That said, even though you might already be aware of what are the tenant rights, a piece of advice, it will be better to engage an agent that you feel comfortable with to assist you from your search to the negotiations to the paperwork. Along your one/two years lease, problems might be inevitable and landlord’s agents might not be able to be of much help as their client eventually is still the landlord. Giving a service fee might be a little not too worthy to part with, but a fee in exchange for a piece of mind to have a smooth stay during the next many months to come… Doesn’t sound too bad a deal to be living peacefully don’t you think?
Feel free to call me if you would like to know the process of renting out your place or looking for a place to rent. Always at your service 👍
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