Renting a property in Singapore, whether you’re new to the island or moving to a new home, can be stressful. Rules, regulations, tenancy agreements, obligations and expectations can be vastly different to what you may have experienced previously.
Although tenancy contracts in Singapore are generally standardised, there are a couple of areas you should be aware of so you understand your obligations. We often hear stories about how difficult it is to get your deposit back. But there are some things you can do to get a full refund of your security deposit at the end of your lease.
Before moving in
First, insist on a professional evaluation of the property before you move in. Such an evaluation will assess – and meticulously record – the condition of the premises, furniture and fittings. This will help to assess what is fair ‘wear and tear’ at the end of your lease.
Once you have the detailed notes and pictures of the property documented, have the report communicated and signed off by the landlord as an addendum to the tenancy contract before the move-in date. This means you have identified and recorded any defects and made it clear that they were pre-existing.
The ‘wear and tear’ clause in all tenancy agreements can be a tenuous thing. For example, tenants may claim that ‘damage’ caused to a property or fixtures is, in fact, simply regular wear and tear. Then a landlord isn’t justified in holding the deposit. On the other hand, you may find landlords who argue the damage is negligent and demand to retain your deposit so they can make repairs (including replacing costly fixtures and fittings).
To ensure a smooth transition, you should agree on a qualified, professional, objective inspection and a report. An experienced company like Singapore-based home service provider iimafix can help to manage.
During your tenancy
Your landlord is responsible for any repairs caused by general usage or wear and tear on the property, or the furniture and fittings that were supplied at the start of the tenancy. Damage due to negligence is not covered.
Your agreement will specify the amount the landlord is responsible for. The details of what they will cover will have to be agreed upon and included in the agreement. Most single item repairs between $45 to $300 can be managed by a provider such as iimafix, allowing you to claim full reimbursement from the landlord.
Before moving out
Two to four weeks before the end of your lease, arrange for a moving-out inspection. Again, a company such as iimafix can easily facilitate this. Using the same company and an inspector mutually accepted by you and the landlord will ensure objectivity and accountability. Allowing enough time to schedule any repairs yourself, rather than having damages rectified by the landlord, will save you money too.
Before handing back the property, you’ll need to complete the following in order to maximise your chances of receiving your deposit back quickly:
- Mattress, carpet and curtain cleaning
- A full move-out clean
- Repair any furniture damage (touch-ups, stain removal and so on)
- Toilet seat replacement (if required)
- Floor scratches and marks
- Electrical/plumbing work (if required)
- Painting and patching of walls
- Removal of your own furniture and unwanted items.
A list this long often means a lot of searching and co-ordinating. Multiple contractors, collecting quotes, negotiating for the most competitive deal, deciding on a reliable provider and scheduling time for the work to be done. It’s a daunting task – but happily, it can be outsourced. The team at iimafix has the expertise, experience and knowhow to help give you peace of mind and ensure your deposit is refunded.
Written in conjunction with iimafix.
6252 2884 | iimafix.com
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