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Last updated: 30 Jul 2000

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Sunday July 30, 00

Case study for first-time realtors & landlords:

Apartment rage.

"It is too expensive to talk on my mobile.  Call me on 452-xxxx," said the expatriate.  I wanted to make an appointment to resolve the outstanding issues mentioned below.  When I dialed the number, it was a fax.

If there is such condition as road rage with motorists hammering each other, is there a situation called apartment rage?

What caused the expatriate to explode?  There were many issues which could not be resolved promptly by the Landlord. 

For example:

1.  Air conditioners were not serviced prior to the commencement of tenancy.   There was a dark brown stain on the blowers and grey dust. 

The Landlord insisted he had done the servicing.  Yes, he produced proof it was done 3 months ago. 

2.  The curtains were not dry cleaned.  Cobwebs were seen and there were water stains.  The Landlord agreed to dry clean the curtains.

3.  The electronic safe could not shut, but the Landlord was not proactive in doing anything.  Replacement of new batteries solved the problem.

4.  The water-closet lever to flush the W.C was loose, but the Landlord ignored the problem, saying the Tenant could just find a screw to do it himself. 

5.  The cooker hood
was not cleaned as oil stains could be seen. The Landlord said it was done.  

6.  Generally, the Tenant said the apartment was not cleaned, but the Landlord said otherwise.  The standards of cleanliness can be very high for some Caucasian expats.

7.  The dishwasher was installed under the sink, as instructed by the Tenant.  There was no counter top space left in this small apartment.   

After 3 days, the dishwasher malfunctioned and "leaked" water and caused a shut down of the electrical supply. 

It was not a pipe bursting.  The electrical cable was let loose from the dishwasher to the electrical point above the counter top, giving an impression that the person installing it was unprofessional and a perception of risk to the toddler.  It should have been taped to the underside of the kitchen.

The water pipes had not leaked, but a plumber was sent to check it out.  The plumber was thrown out of the apartment when he wanted to test the dishwasher by switching on.   The dishwasher was sent back to the Seller for a check.

Apparently, there was insufficient ventilation and the dishwasher should be on top.   The problem was due to the positioned below the sink.

The Tenant wanted a brand new
dishwasher.  The Landlord did not agree as there was no "danger" from this second hand dishwasher..

8.  The Landlord was unhappy that the Tenant and guests walked around the apartment in shoes as this would damage the marble flooring. It is a practice of some   Westerners to wear shoes inside their house.

It looks like the issues will never be resolved amicably. 

There are relevant issues encountered by the Tenant, but the Landlord did not agree.  

The cobwebs in the curtains could indicate that the Tenant were correct and the Landlord could have rectified all concerns.  The anger built up over the last 2 weeks and hence, the realtor was told not to call on the mobile phone.

As a property investor, a Landlord may need to be able to manage the Tenant-Landlord relationship well. 

It is harder for some Landlords than others.  Older apartments do need more maintenance before handing over and do have problems after handing over. In this situation, issues need to be written out, rather than discussed over a cup of coffee, as the Landlord suggested.  It is not the meeting and the minutes of the meeting, but the prompt action that is important. 

Nobody wants to spend more money than necessary, but the relevant issues must be resolved fast.

For more Information on FREE house-hunting for expats relocating to Singapore, email Judy Quek, tel: +65 9668 6468.
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