Landlord held wooden stick against my neck, says tenant, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Landlord held wooden stick against my neck, says tenant

A dispute over rent got ugly as a public fight ensued between a tenant and her landlords.

The police had to be called in after the tenant tried to barge into an F&B unit owned by the couple at Geylang Road, reported Shin Min Daily News

According to the landlord, the tenant, a Ms Zhang, had owed six months in rent and the locks to her unit were changed overnight as a last resort. 

The incident reportedly happened on July 4.

Ms Zhang, who owns the eatery, said that she had started her grilled fish business in September last year but ran into financial difficulties this April, according to the report on Saturday (July 29).

She had asked the landlords for understanding on the delay in payment of rent for the month. But she said that she paid them back.

However, the landlord has tried to make things difficult for her since then, Ms Zhang claimed.

He had allegedly changed the lock on the door in May and put up a sign saying that Ms Zhang was late in paying her rent, and would not be allowed to continue her business.

Things were settled only after she called him and agreed to pay a fee for the door to be unlocked.

According to Ms Zhang, when he did it again in July, she got a locksmith to open the door. 

But the landlord and his wife turned up at the unit a few days later and stopped her from opening her shop.

"When I wanted to open the shop, the landlady grabbed my arm and refused to let go. 

“The landlord even took a wooden stick and held it against my neck, preventing me from opening the door," Ms Zhang alleged.

Footage shows the landlord holding a wooden stick but his wife denied that they had a stick with them nor did they hold it to Ms Zhang's neck.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

She said that operators of the neighbouring units intervened to defuse the situation and the police were called in.

Ms Zhang, who has been running a business for more than 20 years, admitted that she had been late in payments but denied owing months in arrears.

She said that she had also paid the landlord interest on the amount owed and thus did not understand why they had evicted her. 

As business had been poor, she has had to get financial help from her family in China which accounted for the delay, she claimed.

But the landlady, Ms Mary, said that Ms Zhang had owed six months in rent and was late in paying the monthly rent of $12,000 on three occasions.

"She gave all sorts of excuses, such as business was poor, or that she needed to wait for money to be remitted from China," Ms Mary told Shin Min. 

They got a court order prohibiting Ms Zhang from entering the shop.

“My only aim is to collect rent. If Ms Zhang had paid on time, I have no reason to make things difficult for her,” Ms Mary said.

Despite footage which showed a man holding a wooden stick standing in front of Ms Zhang, Ms Mary denied that they had a stick with them, nor did they hold it to Ms Zhang's neck.

Ms Mary claimed that they were the ones who had called the police that day.

She alleged that when the shop was eventually opened, Ms Zhang "went crazy and barged into the shop". 

"She was eventually handcuffed and taken away by police," she said.

When contacted by AsiaOne, police confirmed that they had received a call on July 4 at 2.05pm and that a 52-year-old woman had been arrested for public nuisance. Investigations are ongoing.