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Ardmore View penthouse for Scandinavian expats at S$20,000
Ardmore View 4-bedroom 3000 sq. ft $9,000 for rent. 3-min walk to the American Club & Orchard Road. 

Asia USA Realty (Singapore) asiahomes.com Pte Ltd  
19 Oct 2002
Focus:  We get for you affordable Singapore homes.  Rent or Investment

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A brief report on common legal hassles encountered by expatriates relocating to Singapore is presented in response to numerous expatriate queries and emails.

Corporations usually have their own standard tenancy agreement with many conditions unfavourable to the Tenant. These are:

1. The Tenant to pay Goods and Service Tax (GST) on the rent and the maintenance fees of the condominium. The fees are paid by the Landlord but the lawyer will try and make the Tenant pay the GST. If the Tenant is a corporation, it can claim back the GST, but if the expatriate himself is the Tenant, i.e. a personal lease, the expatriate incurs additional rental costs.

2. The Tenant to pay any increase in the maintenance fees during the term of the lease. The expatriate may limit the increase to, for example, 5% per annum. Or find another privately owned property to rent. Maintenance fees are not increased arbitrarily and monthly, as they have to be approved by the authorities.

3. The Letter of Intent sent in by the Tenant's realtor on behalf of the Tenant lists all items and services to be performed by the prospective Landlord. It is usually ignored by the corporate Landlord who may issue his own "Letter of Offer" which may have some different terms and conditions.

4.  The Landlord insists that the Tenant pays an additional rent if the assessed value of the property is increased by the Comptroller of Property Tax.  This is seldom seen in the tenancy agreement but there is one corporate landlord insisting on this condition. 

Case study 1.

In this case study, the penthouse is rented to the Company which is the Tenant. However, the Company's employee is the Occupant and any negotiations will affect him directly although he was not consulted by the Company human resource manager and lawyers.

"You had been slip-shod in your services!" one angry American said to me when he asked whether the tenancy agreement to be signed by his Company and the corporate Landlord had references to the terms of the Letter of Intent. The corporate Landlord had used his "Letter of Offer" ignoring the Letter of Intent and some of the terms and conditions requested by the Occupant (employee of the Company) were ignored.

I was by-passed because the lawyers of the Tenant, this being a corporate lease and the Landlord dealt with each other. There was a possibility that the terms and conditions of the Letter of Intent approved by the expatriate (in this case, an Occupant) were overlooked.

In law, the Landlord could say that the tenancy agreement would be binding and if it did not take into account the terms and conditions of the Letter of Intent, there would be no compromise after the tenancy agreement was signed. 

It must be quite frustrating for a top manager to make such a remark and I could understand that it was due to the stress of the negotiations and the long time it took for lawyers to handle such cases.  The Tenant's lawyer was very abrupt to me shouting why I told the Tenant's executive not to issue the cheques for the deposits.

I told her that the Landlord's executive said that the terms were not approved yet and therefore there was no point in preparing the security deposit. That was what I was told, but the real dealings were between the lawyers. Much time had had been spent on the legal technicalities and somehow this lawyer became angry.

Just 5 days ago, the Landlord's executive just told me point blankly: "The deal is off", because it was costly as the lawyers of the Landlord spent much time on fleshing out the details with the Tenant. I had to salvage and see what could be a compromise.

Case study 2.
This was one case where the Landlord wanted the Tenant to service the air conditioners and the roof top jacuzzi and the Tenant did not want to do so. This disagreement could just make or break a case. The rent of $16,000 was deemed too low by the Landlord who probably hoped for a higher offer during the six weeks of legal tussle.

Case study 3.
"Dry clean the curtains quarterly or the deal is off" was another situation for the expatriate to handle. In this case, the Occupant agreed to dry clean at the end of 12 months. Most importantly, his wife liked it.

Case study 4.
Payment of legal fees to the Landlord's lawyer for the preparation of the lease. This is one condition imposed by some private individuals as well. Usually, each party pays his own legal fees. Realtors should include this condition in the Letter of Intent.

Case study 5.
Minor repairs of $250 per item per occurrence imposed by the Landlord. The amount can be negotiated. $150 is more common.

Case study 6.
Diplomatic clause of 6 months or even 2 months. Many Landlords will not accept less than 12 months of occupancy but the expatriate can try his luck. If the expatriate asks for such terms, it indicates that he is in an unstable employment situation and most Landlords will prefer not to get involved.

Case study 7.
Some airline pilots have this short notice clause to break the lease by giving one month's notice as demanded by their company which will be the Tenant. Landlords may have to take the risk.

Case study 8.
Payment of property tax. Somehow, the corporate tenancy agreement would have this term squeezed in. It is definitely not an industry's practice for residential leases and not acceptable by the Tenant. 

Case study 9.
"You are on your own" if the Landlord does not agree to use the Company (Tenant) lease, one Englishwoman working for an oil company was told. That means corporate Landlords are not advised as they tend to insist on the use of their tenancy agreement and are reluctant to make amendments as it would be costly.

However, as a newcomer expatriate, use your common sense. Many times, the loss of a choice property is due to the expatriate's procrastination or lack of time.  In one case, there was an expatriate who got a beautiful Blair Road shophouse for a 6-month plus 2 months notice.  This was unusual for a Landlord to rent out his brand new shophome for a short lease of only 8 months.  He wanted to see the place the 3rd time and only at 7 p.m on weekdays.

He lost the place to another expatriate.

If you need more information, contact judy@asiahomes.com or tel: +65 668 6468.


Tel: +65 9668 6468, 6254 3326, 6254 2728, 9668 6469, 
9760 6466.  email judy@asiahomes.com now!

Asia USA Realty (Singapore) asiahomes.com 
Pte Ltd.  Website:  asiahomes.com
House Agent's Licence No. AD041-07306B

Blk 1002, Toa Payoh Lor 8, #01-1477,
Singapore 319074, Republic of Singapore

Mobile Tel: +65 9668 6468, 9668 6469 
Tel: +65 6254 3326, 6254 2728
Fax: +65 6256 0501, 64545 843
Email: judy@asiahomes.com

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Tel: +65 9668 6468, 6254 3326, 6254 2728, 9668 6469, 
9760 6466.  email judy@asiahomes.com now!

Asia USA Realty (Singapore) asiahomes.com 
Pte Ltd.  Website:  asiahomes.com
House Agent's Licence No. AD041-07306B

Blk 1002, Toa Payoh Lor 8, #01-1477,
Singapore 319074, Republic of Singapore

Mobile Tel: +65 9668 6468, 9668 6469 
Tel: +65 6254 3326, 6254 2728
Fax: +65 6256 0501, 64545 843
Email: judy@asiahomes.com

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