Tenants band together over landlord who confiscated deposits after forcing them to move out
A tenant in Sengkang took to Facebook to share his dispute with his landlords, who allegedly refused to return his deposit despite being told to move out before their agreement was up.
On social media, he found 16 other tenants who had similar encounters with the same landlords. Many of them also claimed that the house owners, a middle-aged couple, made their living conditions unbearable.
The tenant, Mr Qiu, told Shin Min Daily News that when he and his brother moved into the unit at Block 351D Anchorvale Road on Feb 15, he found that the male landlord was a reserved person but the wife was intrusive and set many rules.
The rules, which were imposed only after they agreed to move in, included restricting showers to five minutes, requiring tenants to turn off lights by 2am, and setting a curfew of 11pm.
“At first, we endured it,” said Mr Qiu. “But after paying the rent for this month, the other party started behaving worse, staring at us for washing and drying our clothes, and saying we had to pay for breaking the washing machine.”
Mr Qiu said the landlady requested him to move out by the end of the month, claiming she was selling the house. They agreed and moved out on March 13, before the month was up.
"We did not ask for the remaining month's rental back, but only requested for the deposit to be returned," he said.
The female landlord, however, refused, citing the need to inspect the furniture and insisted for the keys to be handed over.
Qiu said he and his brother did not want to kick up a fuss and handed over the keys. When they did so, they were kicked out immediately.
Mr Qiu then came across a Facebook post that described the tactics of a 'nightmare’ landlady, including how she would confiscate tenants’ deposits.
He realised the poster was referring to the same landlady.
Added to chat group
Mr Qiu was later added to a WeChat group comprising 15 other members who had similar bad experiences with the same landlady.
One former tenant, a 22-year-old man, said he and his girlfriend rented the master bedroom for $950 a month.
On the very first day, the female landlord barged into the room saying she heard the sound of a fan inside and thought there was no one around.
A few days later, the tenant found some of his items had been moved. He installed a camera, and discovered that both the landlords had entered the room and opened the cabinet.
When confronted, the owners claimed they suspected the tenant was boiling water in the room.
Similar instances of trespassing occurred up to five times, he said, and he called the police on Jan 16 and moved out on Jan 24, electing to forego his deposit.
Another ex-tenant, who was asked to move out early, said the landlord accused him of breaking something in the house and refused to refund his deposit.
He called the police and managed to get $400 back.
'They all talk nonsense'
When approached by Shin Min, the landlady denied many of the allegations.
She said there was no five-minute limit for showering, and retorted: "Does he have any evidence? I didn't say that."
The woman also claimed that the most recent tenant who moved out did not pay his final month's rent.
"If the other party has paid, does he have any evidence? They can all talk nonsense."