SINGAPORE: A man from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who had rented a room at a Commonwealth HDB, was shocked when his landlord refused to return the S$1800 he had paid for two months’ deposit.

However, when the man disputed the forfeiture of his rental deposit, not only did the landlord’s property agent no longer answer his messages, but when he reached out to the landlord, he responded with, “I don’t talk to you. Get lost.”

Unsure of what he can do, Mr Goh Mun Fai wrote about his dilemma on the 新加坡最大租房群 房屋出租请到 Room For Rent Singapore SG public Facebook group on Sunday (April 7), adding screenshots of his exchanges with the agent and the landlord to the post.

Mr Goh wrote that he worked in Singapore to give his family a better life and asked, “But tenants have no rights? Should I be ignored? Must be bullied by the landlord?”

He explained that he was asking for help from the group, particularly from someone who could offer free legal advice or assistance, and that he was also considering going to the police.

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Here are the landlord’s reasons for withholding the deposit:

  1. A replacement for a desk, which had allegedly been brand-new when Mr Goh moved in
  2. Mr Goh needed to provide a hard copy of the manual for the air-conditioner
  3. The wall beside the desk had “black patches,” which would presumably need to be painted

Mr Goh messaged the agent for proof that the desk had been new.

As for the second point, he said that at air-con manual had not been included in the inventory list when he moved in and that the landlord had told him that the previous tenant had been penalized for losing the manual.

Thirdly, he asked for proof that the “black patches” were not there when Mr Goh moved in.  The agent replied, saying he would talk to the landlord when he visited the room the following day.

But when the agent got back to Mr Goh, he had a new question about whether the tenant had changed the aircon setting.

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Moreover, he said that the desk and painting would cost S$500. He also said that the air-con manual must be the “original one.”

Further into their text exchanges, when the agent shared a video of the room without any black patches on the wall, Mr Goh asked why he couldn’t paint it himself.

The agent replied that the time had passed for him to do so, as he should have done it before he handed the unit over before moving out.

Also, the cleanliness of the room was questioned since Mr Goh had allegedly left “a lot of hair and dust.”

These five items—a dirty wall, a damaged desk, an “unclean handover,” a malfunctioning air-con timer, and a “lost (sic) of the air-con manual”—would cost Mr Goh S$1800, the total of his deposit.

The agent also reportedly refused to provide a breakdown for that amount and did not respond to Mr Goh’s questions regarding using his own contractors to repaint the wall or the actual issue of the air-con timer.

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But the icing on this nightmare cake was the rude reply he allegedly received from the landlord.

His post has been widely shared and commented on, and netizens have encouraged him to try filing at the Small Claims Tribunals or even CASE for help. /TISG

Read also: Man asks if his landlord can demand S$500 extra if his partner moves into HDB flat