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
When a tenant signs a Tenancy Agreement with a landlord, he/she is bounded by the following covenants:
1. To pay rent
2. Keep the premises in good repair
3. No unauthorised alterations
4. Not to commit waste
5. Not to sublet
6. Allow access to landlord or potential tenant or buyer to view premises.
7. Pay all other rates, utilities etc.
8. Not to cause nuisance; and
9. Use the premises for its permitted purpose;
Under points 2, 3 and 4, of the tenant's covenant, as long as you do not cause damage to the property, the landlord must refund you the security deposit immediately if there are no major repairs required. It is the landlord's responsibility to return the deposit as stated in your Tenancy Agreement.
What you can do is to do an inventory check when taking over and handing over the property so that there are no defects and disputes upon the end of your Tenancy Agreement.
If all else fails, you may approach the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) or Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) for rental disputes. You can also 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.
If there is any disputes in the forfeiture, you may file a small claim against the landlord should amount of deposit is less than $20,000.
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The best is to ask him nicely.
Is there are any deductions you need to take note of when the deposit is returned at the end of tenancy? And if so, request for him to list it now.
Whatever the answer is, clarify with him in an amicable fashion. Hope it works out for you!
- Hakim Realtor