What are my rights and compensation if the owner terminates/ back off from a contract? I have already paid for the stamp duty
A tenancy agreement protects both the landlords and tenants whereby there are terms and conditions that both parties must abide to during the rental period. This is to prevent any disputes from both parties.
When you sign a tenancy agreement, you have an interest in the property giving you exclusive possession for a fixed period of a certain duration, usually in consideration of a payment termed 'rent'.
The essential features of the tenancy are as follows:
- Tenant has exclusive possession of the property.
- Tenancy runs for a certain or fixed period of time.
- Landlord’s rights are subject to the tenancy.
- Landlord has reversionary interest of the property upon termination of the tenancy.
A landlord is bounded by the following covenants to a tenant:
1. Quiet enjoyment of the premises, which means tenant can enjoy the use of the premises without interference.
2. Non-derogation from the grant, landlord must observe all the terms granted to tenant.
3. Property must be fit for habitation at the start of the lease term;
4. Structure and facilities must be in good repair.
5. Good title. He is the owner and has the right to rent.
6. Pay property tax and quit rent if any
7. Exclusive possession of the premises for the fixed term, so long as the fixed term given has not expired.
8. If landlord has sold or transferred his interest, buyer or successor-in-title is bound to observe the terms of the lease granted
Under points 2, 7 and 8 of the landlord's covenant, the landlord must fulfil his/her end of the contract until the end of the Tenancy Agreement and the incoming buyer must continue to recognise you as a tenant if the property is sold with tenancy.
The current owner cannot back off from the contract without compensating you for the unfulfilled lease term. Meanwhile, the incoming buyer must continue to let you stay as you have a right to do so.
You may approach the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) or Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) for rental disputes. If all else fails, you can approach the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT). You will need to present all documents such as emails, text messages and Tenancy Agreement when presenting your case.
Hope this answers your question.