What exactly is “Fair” and “Wear and Tear”?
According to Propnex’s Mr Lim, agents are under no obligation to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords.
“The duty of the agent, according to CEA (Council for Estate Agents), ends after we hand over the premises to the parties,”Propnex’s Mr Lim
Source: CNA Article on 5th July
Do note for the above example, some landlords may argue that the dining (set) is considered a single item (uniformity), so it would not be acceptable if only one chair is replaced (different style).
For brand new properties, some Landlords’ expectations when property is returned to them is “Of Course Must Be Brand New As Well, Lah!”
For older properties, is it actually possible to take note of “everything”?
How specific and descriptive should the Condition Report be? Who is responsible for the “standard of accuracy in this report”? Should the occupants and agents check the water heater installed inside a false ceiling, how about underneath of washing machine or the rear of fridge, or all the rubber lining on the windows (high and low) and balcony sliding doors, the scratches on the door knob? Surely, the “Test of Reasonableness” must come into play when discussing such issues.
The point we are making is that Singapore lacks a proper system to assist Landlords-Agents-Tenants in this regard. The tenants can be “held hostage” by unreasonable landlords during the return of property, especially if they are foreigners and need to exit the country within a specific number of days, leaving little choice but to accept whatever the landlord states as “full and final deduction” off the Deposit.
Singapore desperately needs a fair and independent organisation to hold onto the Tenancy Deposits and offer 3rd party advice to landlord and tenant during handover disputes.
After more than 40 years in the Real Estate industry, we are still faced with similar problems between Landlords and Tenants. Without a independent body to hold the deposit and determine “fair value” and determine whether it’s wilful damage or wear and tear, this problem will never disappear, most unfortunately.