Expat clause: Witholdimg the last two month’s rent.

I currently live in Malaysia but am likely to be leaving in a few months to move abroad. My agent has said I can use the expat clause to cancel rental.

I know it is not entirely ethical but I am thinking of witholding the last two month’s of rent upon giving notice as the landlord is entitled not to return deposits for 31 days, meaning I would leave the country prior to it being returned.

What are the risks associated with witholding rent in lieu?

Right. Ethical or not, I highly recommend the local way which is to give notice and then withhold not only the rent but all money you might be due, like utility deposits. I would much rather owe the landlord on my way out than the other way around. You will never be paid. If they balk, it makes no difference because even if the landlord wanted to sue you for that money, it would take more than two months to get to court and youd be gone.

You can be frank with them, say the money ran out and thats why you are leaving the country and cannot pay the last two months. Remind them that that is why you gave the deposits to begin with, in case you couldnt pay and that would give them two months headstart to find new tenants. The problem about this is not what you are thus doing, its that rightly the landlord was supposed to hang on to that money for your behalf but they didnt, they spent it right after you gave it to them and its gone. So to them, and illogically, now they have no income for two months and they are angry. TOO BAD!

Understand something about Malaysia. Money only flows one direction, never two. People will not part again with money given them. They will find every possible excuse including simply refusing to pay and on the bet you wont sue. Its worse for an expat because they know you are gone and literally cant do anything about it.

That said, please do not leave here owing money. Pay up everything. Expats who have left owing huge phone bills and whatnot have seriously hurt future expats. Thats why there are RM1000 deposits on phones, for example. So, leave clean, all accounts at zero---you dont owe and nobody owes you.

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