Using security deposit to offset last month rent

My landlord was supposed to fix something according to the ta but repeatedly ignored me. The agent is useless and said the landlord is unreachable. I also know for sure the landlord will not return my deposit at the end of the lease and use 'unreachable' as an excuse. What should I do as a tenant?

Welcome to Asia. You're not in Kansas anymore. You know that now, right?

Just take the experience as a "bitter-pill" lesson learned, and then negotiate better lease terms, next time.

And, in the future, avoid using an agent (wherever possible), and deal directly with the landlord. Best regards!

It is not legally possible to use the deposit to offset the last month's rent, since it is supposed to cover any damages found when you move out.
However, it is known that in Singapore neither landlords nor tenants always stick to the letter of the law. Suing is quite difficult (and will cost both sides more than the amount sued for), therefore you should always try to find a mutually agreeable solution.

Totally agree with Beppi's point of view. After all, standard protocols must be maintained.

However, as a landlord myself, I learned (from my parents), that both the landlord & tenant should agree upon a "day-of-move-out" inspection of the premises (together), and then agree, or even disagree, upon a deposit reimbursement amount, if any such amount is forthcoming.

Not answering/returning phone-calls, and/or avoiding contact with a tenant, at the end of the lease, is down-right "unscrupulous" behavior, on the part of any landlord, or their assigned agent, anywhere on this planet.

Singaporeans, at least, w/ all their HI_SO things considered, should actually hold themselves responsible for maintaining such universal standards.

Hi Howdie,

Sounds like you are in a "situation"! I guess you could go to the authorities with your lease and complain, but is it worth it?

It is the full responsibility of the agent to resolve the issue, which he hasn't, and has given some lame excuse as: "the owner is unreachable".

What you could do is just stay until all of your deposit has been utilised.

I'm sorry about your situation, Howdie.... I know how it is 'cause I've been there and I'm "local!"

Thanks for the advice. So I ended up spending money to repair the unit and the Landlord refuses to acknowledge any of those repairs. The agent and LL stopped responding completely. I missed the last 2 months rent (2 year lease). My tenancy ends in 2 weeks and I receive a demand of notice for 2 months unpaid rent even though the landlord has 2 months deposit. Theoretically there is interest associated with late rental. Small amount which I will pay. And if there are damages which is worth more than what the landlord owes me for repairs during tenancy I’m willing to write a check on the spot. Ultimately I will ensure the landlord has no financial loss because I’m an ethical person.

However, the landlord still insists on pursuing legal action claiming deposit is not allowed to offset unpaid rent. This is a typical bulky who just wants to sue for the sake of pride even though the landlord didn’t uphold his obligation. Landlord boasts about how rich he is and will rack up a lot of legal fees which I will bear because I will lose the case. Should I be worried?

Yes, you should be worried - precisely because you will lose the case and the legal fees (which you will have to bear) will be far higher than the deposit in question!
The landlord is right that the deposit is meant to cover any damages on move-out, and thus ab-using it as final rent (as you are trying to do) defeats this purpose. By doing so, you are breaking the tenancy contract.
Of course the situation is unsatisfactory for you (and tenant protection is weak in Singapore), but you cannot take action against the landlord just based on a suspicion that he might later not return the deposit to you.
Only after he did it, can you take up legal action against him, e.g. through the Small Claims Tribunal.
Good luck!

Note: You might think of "waiting it out" as the landlord's legal case will take longer than the two weeks lease you have left (typically many months). But this is mistaken, as you will also not get your deposit during those months AND have to pay the missing rent and (high) legal fees at the end. (Only if you leave Singapore never to come back - the ruling will not be enforceable abroad - would such a strategy give you any advantages.)
I really suggest you follow our earlier advice and find a mutually agreeable compromise with your landlords, even if that may hurt your pride.
And look for a better deal next time - you learned the hard way that the personality of the landlord is almost as important as the features of the apartment!

Am I reading it correctly, you had issue with landlord as per your first statement in MARCH 2017, now we are sitting in JAN 2019 (nearly 2yrs), why you would be waited that long to bring all these troubles?

Anytime you can break the lease and with backup (phone missed calls to agent, emails unanswered to both agents and landlord, you can bang the door of that agency to complain about their authorised agent), by collecting all those evidences, your case can’t be at lose side. At worst case, you would have lost your deposit but that would have long time back not suffering last 2yrs. It was a big mistake you did where you allowed the landlord and the agent suppressed your voice in last 2yrs.

If you have all the supporting including receipt of your repairing (should be more than few hundreds - must be higher than the written contract where it must have defined upto a specific amount, a tenant can do spend, if it’s more than that owner has to repair or between mutual agreed by both), then you can claim back at the time of legal tussle. Good luck

Thanks for the response.

The contract clearly says deposit is used to be returned within 14 days less any breaches and damages. Any unpaid rent is considered a breach. Of course tenant doesn’t expect to receive the deposit in this case.

The response to the demand notice would be the tenancy has already ended. The landlord demanded 100 but did not return 100 of deposit. Any late interest payment and damages upon check out also settled with zero financial loss to either side. I understand people can due for anything, but why would court entertain this as a case?

Thanks for the response.

The point is to avoid a legal tussle from the start. It was always to give landlord a chance to come to.l the table to reimburse the repairs.

Even now there is no intention to start legal tussle. The point would be the tenancy ends , deposit is not returns, There is unpaid rent which is offset by deposit. Any or damages or interest payment paid out. What is the basis of even leading to a legal tussle is my question?

I understand one can sue another for anything including being to ugly or handsome. In this case, how can a plaintill even argue there is a valid case if there are no damages? Sure the plaintiff can keep pursuing legal action out of pride

Start negotiating though chances are less as the owner seems to be adamant. Or else keep all documents (mentioned in my previous message) ready before heading for a legal tussle. Good luck

Well, you can of course ignore our advice and do whatever you think is right. We can only tell you from (limited) experience how such cases are usually settled in Singapore, where the legal system is heavily geared towards wxtra-legal settlements (compromises) and anyone who cannot achieve one is penalized.

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