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Covid-19: Tenant forced by landlord to give up premises and deposit after failing to pay rent on time

Bar owner Yvonne Yeo took to Facebook on March 31 to share her experience dealing with an inconsiderate landlord who disregarded their contract and made her give up her space for failing to pay the balance of last month’s rent

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Singapore – A tenant had her bar repossessed by the landlord after failing to pay one month’s rent and got her deposit forfeited without due process.

Ms Yvonne Yeo, owner of darts bar LTA Long Time Ago, took to Facebook on Tuesday (March 31) to share her experience dealing with an inconsiderate landlord who disregarded their contract and made her give up her space for failing to pay the balance of last month’s rent. Ms Yeo announced the permanent closure of LTA because of what happened.

She explained that the landlord did not accept her offer to pay the balance of S$3,300 for March’s rent in batches of S$1,000 per week. “I proposed to repay S$1,000/week, and I started the first payment last Thursday,” said Ms Yeo. “And suddenly yesterday (at) 3:40 pm, (the) landlord WhatsApp me to pay full payment (of) S$3,300 (within the same day), otherwise they re-enter).

“Well, if I have the means to pay in full, I would have done it long before, why wait till now when all pubs cannot open?” asked Ms Yeo who is one of the many business owners badly affected by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. And she just renewed her contract three weeks ago for another two years.

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When Ms Yeo asked for the landlord’s next steps, whether it’s a letter from their lawyer or a court case for the lease balance, their answer was sent through a Whatsapp voice message which allegedly said:

“Yvonne ah.. so we save on all the legal costs lah… U simply write me a WhatsApp message, saying that you are giving up the unit, and u allow us to forfeit the deposit (S$6,000), and the keys will hand over to us when loh.. like that loh.. so whatever in the premises that u left behind we are allowed to clear them out. Thanks.”

“Welcome to my suay life,” wrote Ms Yeo in her post. She thanked everyone for their continued support for LTA and wondered if she would be able to reopen in the future.

Members from the online community were quick to provide some assistance to Ms Yeo, with many sending links to the recently announced Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill aimed at protecting individuals and businesses who fail to meet their contractual obligations due to the pandemic. The Bill is set to be introduced in Parliament next week, according to the Ministry of Law (MinLaw).

The process of passing the Bill into a Law would be expedited through a Certificate of Urgency duly signed by President Halimah Yacob, which would allow the required three readings of the Bill to be conducted in one Parliament sitting, reported straitstimes.com.

Read the full MinLaw press release below:

Photo: Taken from mlaw.gov.sg/

Others advised Ms Yeo to submit a report of her experience given the Government mandate for landlords to pass on the rebates covered by the Resilience Budget to their tenants. Many told her to fight and not let the landlord win.

Photo: FB screengrab/Yvonne Yeo

Photo: FB screengrab/Yvonne Yeo

Photo: FB screengrab/Yvonne Yeo

{UPDATES 01 April 2020}Thank u everyone whom responded to my post and those who PM me. Really really appreciate. Sorry…

Posted by Yvonne Yeo on Monday, 30 March 2020

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