In this sharing session, I will be sharing with you on how to avoid common mistakes when leasing a property in Singapore. Rental prices have risen over the years and the market sentiments have changed as well, making it hard to bridge the gap between landlords and tenants. So let us explore on the way to make our tenancy a sweeter and better one.
I have listed a few important pointers so landlords and tenants can use them as a reference before the tenancy is concluded:
1) Letter of Intent (L.O.I) - Before a tenancy agreement is being drafted, it is a good practice to do up a letter of intent with the proposed rental price and the requests (if any) clearly stated. By doing this, it can avoid potential misunderstandings and conflicts. Based on experience, a good relationship can be affected when tenants put up additional requests after the tenancy agreement is signed so I would advise getting an L.O.I signed so requests can be properly documented.
2) Minor Repair & Replacement - A pre-determined minor repair amount should be stated in the tenancy agreement usually between $150-$300 per item per repair. Take for example if a washing machine broke down (due to end of lifespan and not vandalism/negligence) and the repair cost is $300 and minor repair amount is set at $200, the tenant shall bear the first $200 and the balance $100 to be borne by the landlord. The same formula applies to the replacement of the washer. In cases of vandalism or total negligence i.e. TV screen being smashed by a golf ball, the tenant shall be responsible for the entire cost or repair or replacement.
3) Warranty - The market practice for the warranty period is between 14-30 days. The warranty usually covers all appliances (aircon/white goods) and sanitary fittings (sinks/WC). It is a big misconception that the landlords must replace a new one as long as it is under the warranty period. It is fine not to replace as long as the items are in good working condition. Any additional request (unless stated in L.O.I) can be considered by the landlord but not mandatory.
4) Diplomatic Clause - When a tenant chooses to exercise the diplomatic clause (usually for lease above 1 year), we need to consider the following:
A) Any written proof from the tenant's employer that he/she has been prematurely terminated or relocated out of Singapore.
B) Minimum stay - We need to take into consideration of the notice period and minimum stay before the tenant can exercise the diplomatic clause. If a tenant can exercise the said clause after 12 months of minimum stay and needs to provide a 2 months notice, the tenant will need to physically occupy the place for 14 months before he can be entitled to the security deposit refund.
I hope you find this article useful and do not hesitate to send in your query if you need any clarification or advice.