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 Is this your first time being a tenant? Well then, the rental tenancy agreement might be terribly confusing to you. Don’t worry; we’re here to help!

Clauses In A Tenancy Agreement That Need Close Attention Before Signing
Clause Regarding Diplomatic Reimbursements

Introduction

Being a first-time tenant can be a challenging transition in your life, especially if you have zero experience in the real world. 

This is especially true if you’re an undergrad student who moved to a studio apartment in a different city to attend college there. 

You might think that it isn’t a big deal; after all, everything that has to do with residential properties can be found in the URA Property Market Statistics. 

So why worry at all?

While finding an apartment to stay on rent might not be such a difficult task, certain aspects of this experience could result in some confusion. 

We’re talking about the rental agreement every tenant must sign while renting an apartment. 

Most people tend to skip through the pages of this seemingly dull document and sign the rental contract right away. 

While this may sound like a natural thing to do, you have to understand the consequences that could arise from this careless decision. 

That’s why, in this article, we will take you through a step-by-step guide to the rental tenancy agreement and make you understand why it’s so important in the first place.

Clauses Concerning Maintenance And Minor Repairs

What’s A Tenancy Agreement?

A rental tenancy agreement, or a tenancy contract, is a document that lists down all the terms and conditions that you and your landlord have agreed on regarding your stay.  

This includes crucial details such as how long your tenancy period is, your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and any rights the landlord may have. 

Additionally, it includes vital information such as the amount of your monthly rental payments and any maintenance responsibilities you or the landlord might have. 

To most tenants, the tenancy agreement comes off as a bunch of papers containing some boring details that they spend zero time reading through. 

But unfortunately, that is not the case. 

You see, the whole purpose of the agreement is to serve as a reference in case there is a tenancy dispute between you and the landlord. 

Although we admit that this rarely happens, there are a few occasions when a tenant and the landlord might get into an argument. 

For example, let’s say you and your landlord made a verbal agreement regarding your pet hamster living in the apartment. 

The landlord seemed trustworthy and polite enough, so you never insisted on mentioning that particular agreement in the contract. 

A couple of months later, your landlord suddenly decides that he is not ok with your hamster anymore and wants you to get rid of it or risk being kicked out. 

Since your pet hamster was never mentioned in the tenancy agreement, you are now at a major disadvantage in this dispute as you have nothing to back up your argument. 

So, for lack of a better term, let’s just say that the tenancy agreement is like a bible for both tenants and landlords. 

It is the sacred duty and responsibility of both parties to follow the commandments written down and uphold the peace.

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Can The Tenancy Be Terminated Early

Why Is The Tenancy Agreement Important?

As we mentioned before, the tenancy agreement is a document that acts as a real contract between the tenant, you, and the landlord. 

It carries a detailed list of the rental terms and conditions that have been decided regarding your stay in the concerned apartment. 

You can expect the document to contain information such as when you’re supposed to pay the monthly rent, what maintenance or repair work you or the landlord are supposed to do, and what terms you have regarding your privacy. 

The tenancy agreement prevents the landlord from changing the terms as he sees fit and ensures that he abides by the fair terms written down in the document. 

Should you or the landlord go against the conditions of the tenancy agreement, the other party can take legal action if necessary. 

If any legal action is taken, the tenancy agreement will be used as a reference to determine what rules have been broken and by whom. 

In that sense, it is crucial to ensure that both parties abide by the rules and are not purposely trying to take advantage by ignoring or going against the agreed-upon terms. 

Most people assume that typical factors like rental amount, payment dates, etc., are elements they can decide on verbally. 

While that may be the case for some, it is always handy to have a document containing all the agreed-upon terms so that there are no chances of foul play. 

Needless to say, it is your responsibility as the tenant to go through each and every detail of the tenancy agreement to ensure that all the terms and conditions truly reflect what you and your landlord decided upon.

What Should A Tenancy Agreement Include?

Almost all tenancy agreements typically give a number of common terms to the tenant, such as the exclusive and full possession of the rental property during the rental or lease period and the right to privacy. 

This means that the landlord must let the tenant occupy the establishment freely and must not disturb or intrude upon the privacy of the tenant. 

In return for this, the tenant must pay a specific amount of money every month without fail. 

It is important to note that in some cases, the tenant might be barred from sub-leasing the establishment to someone else. 

Naturally, the agreement must also contain standard details such as the rental amount and rental period, as well as any other essential details regarding the tenancy. 

The agreement should clearly state who is responsible for the maintenance and repair of vital utilities such as the servicing of the air conditioner, electrical wirings, and so on. 

Regarding the tenant’s privacy, the agreement should mention whether or not the tenant is obligated to allow the landlord to show the property to prospective future tenants. 

The agreement should state who is supposed to pay the stamp duty and the Stamp duty payable amount, as well as any information regarding insurance. 

Terms regarding the payment of good faith deposit as well security deposit clause must be mentioned without fail. 

The agreement must mention if there are any clauses for premature termination or any other clause which will allow for the termination of tenancy. 

A clause should be mentioned regarding what will happen if the tenant fails to pay the rent on time or fails to pay at all. 

Other than the stipulations mentioned above, both the tenant and the landlord should pay close attention to the essential clauses mentioned below.

Clauses Concerning Maintenance And Minor Repairs 

The clause regarding fair wear and tear expenses regarding household items and utilities should mention an exact amount as the maximum point beyond which the landlord will pay the expenses for the repair of said damages. 

The tenant should pay any amount spent on repairs that is below the maximum point.

However, if the damage was caused due to the tenant’s carelessness, then they should bear the full cost of the repairs, no matter what amount. 

Also, any repairs necessary to keep the establishment in the same condition it was when originally rented are categorised as tenantable repair, and the expenses of such are to be borne by the tenant. 

Clause Concerning Late Payment Or Non-Payment Of Rent

When it comes to this clause, the landlord has the power to decide the consequences in case the tenant is late for their rental payment or does not pay the rent at all. 

Normally, the landlord imposes an interest rate on the existing rental amount, but in some cases, the tenant may be liable to pay additional rent. 

Property tax reductions for landlords might be available if the tenant is unable to pay rent for a significant amount of time, which negatively affects the landlord’s overall rental income. 

Clause Concerning The Option To Renew Lease Terms

The clause states that a tenant can extend the lease period for another term provided that they have notified the landlord beforehand. 

The landlord is obligated to grant the lease extension after the tenant has exercised the powers of this clause. 

The extension period of the lease will remain the same as the lease period in the original tenancy agreement. 

So, for example, if the lease terms stated that the tenant has a 2-year lease, the tenancy period will be extended for another 2 years. 

Clause Regarding Diplomatic & Reimbursements 

The reimbursement and diplomatic clause state that a tenant can enact a termination of the lease if in case they have to leave Singapore for any reason whatsoever, provided that they give a reasonable notice period.

For this to be valid, the tenant must include this clause in any rental contract that is longer than a period of 12 months. 

On the other hand, the landlord may also include a reimbursement clause which states that a portion of the rental agent’s commission should be reimbursed to them if the tenant decides to terminate the rental contract. 

Clase Regarding En Bloc

This clause is designed to protect the landlord’s interests should the entirety of their condominium be sold for a redevelopment project. 

If that is the case, the landlord has the option to terminate the lease without having any obligation to provide compensation to the tenant.

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What Are Tenant’s Rights In Singapore?

What rights a tenant has under Singapore law depends on the type of tenancy they were granted. 

To explain, Singapore real estate laws offer two types of tenancies; licences and leases. 

A license is a private arrangement between the tenant and the landlord whereby personal permission has been granted to the tenant for a short duration. 

This permission extends only to the tenant alone, which means they cannot assign the occupation of the concerned establishment to another person and neither can they sue for instances of trespassing or nuisance. 

On the other hand, the tenant is given the proprietary interest in the land/establishment under a lease agreement.

Therefore, the tenant has some level of rights under common law and has the option to bind another person into the property, and also has the right to sue the landlord for trespassing or nuisance. 

It is important to note that some special restrictions are applied regarding renting HBD flats, including a minimum period of occupation. 

Also, for a lease to be valid, it should be longer than 6 months; therefore, renting any property for short periods might breach the Singapore housing laws.

What Are The Terms According To The Tenancy Agreement?

Typically, a tenancy agreement offers the tenant the right to exclusively possess the property and enjoy it to the fullest without their privacy being infringed upon.

Therefore, the landlord must respect that right and let the tenant occupy the establishment without disturbing them by trespassing on the occupied premises.

Moreover, if the landlord has granted a lease on an establishment that holds a certain kind of utility, he cannot do anything that might harm the property’s utility.

For example, if the rented property is a shop located inside a shopping mall, the landlord does not have the right to prevent customers from entering the building. 

On the other hand, the tenant must pay the rent regularly and on a timely basis.

In some cases, the tenant might be made to accept terms that prevent them from assigning the lease to a third party and be liable to pay for any repairing fees during their rental period.

The tenant or landlord can pay the cost of unavoidable damages such as old or faulty electrical wiring, leakages on the ceiling, or peeled-off paint, depending on the agreed-upon terms. 

Can The Tenancy Be Terminated Early?

Yes, the tenancy may be terminated either by the landlord or the tenant, provided that the concerned party had given prior notice beforehand. 

The period valid for the quit notice is determined by the duration of the tenancy period and should be set depending on the frequency of the rental payment. 

Let us use an example to explain; say that the rent for a tenancy is paid on a monthly basis, so the valid notice period for termination here should be a duration of one month.

As a tenant, you have the right to notify the landlord regarding the termination of lease a month before you actually wish to enact the termination. 

The landlord, on the other hand, is not obligated by law to accept the termination, and if he does, he has the right to ask you for additional payment as compensation. 

Landlords will usually ask for a security deposit which amounts to additional rent for up to two months, to safeguard against cases of sudden lease terminations by their tenants. 

The payment of the security deposit is mentioned in the agreement under the clause for the security deposit.

Will The Tenancy Be Terminated If The Landlord Passes Away?

Don’t worry; the tenancy will not be cancelled. 

In this situation, the property of the deceased landlord will go to the next of kin, who will have to continue with the tenancy agreement.

Therefore, the rights of the tenant are protected in this event.

4 Types Of Tenancies In Singapore

Can Tenants Be Evicted?

Yes, tenants can be evicted if they have failed to pay rent or have breached any of the terms agreed upon in the rental contract. 

Landlords have the right to forfeit the rental agreement either by entering the establishment and physically evicting the tenant themselves or by employing other lawful enforcement actions such as going through a court procedure. 

However, in order for landlords to do so, they must have specified this right to re-enter the property in case of non-payment of rent in the tenancy agreement itself. 

Landlords also have to serve a notice regarding the breaching of contract by the tenant under section 18 of the conveyancing & law of property act. 

On the other hand, tenants also have the right to submit an application to the court asking for protection against eviction. 

Doing so will result in the court granting the tenant a grace period of 4 weeks to pay off the pending rent amount. 

If the tenant is still unable to pay after this extended period, they will promptly be evicted by the authorities.

4 Types Of Tenancies In Singapore

How Is The Unpaid Rent Collected?

Yes, tenants can be evicted if they have failed to pay rent or have breached any of the terms agreed upon in the rental contract. 

Landlords have the right to forfeit the rental agreement either by entering the establishment and physically evicting the tenant themselves or by employing other lawful enforcement actions such as going through a court procedure. 

However, in order for landlords to do so, they must have specified this right to re-enter the property in case of non-payment of rent in the tenancy agreement itself. 

Landlords also have to serve a notice regarding the breaching of contract by the tenant under section 18 of the conveyancing & law of property act. 

On the other hand, tenants also have the right to submit an application to the court asking for protection against eviction. 

Doing so will result in the court granting the tenant a grace period of 4 weeks to pay off the pending rent amount. 

If the tenant is still unable to pay after this extended period, they will promptly be evicted by the authorities.

Do Tenants Have The Right To Ignore Their Contractual Obligations?

Tenants are typically supposed to follow any obligations mentioned in the contract; however, this is not the case under a force majeure clause. 

This clause is usually included in most commercial tenancy agreements, which are used in the case of shops in malls or business parks. 

The force majeure clause allows tenants and landlords to legally ignore performing their contractual obligations (for a certain period) if any uncontrollable events prevent the parties from doing so. 

Such an event can be described as a force majeure event and must be included in the clause. 

Some examples that qualify as a force majeure event are riots, natural disasters, acts of God or government, periods of civil commotion and pandemics. 

If a force majeure clause is successfully invoked, it gives the aggrieved party an extended period so that they can carry out the contractual obligations at a later time when it is more practical to do so. 

If there is no force majeure clause in the tenancy agreement, parties will have to rely on the frustrated contracts act, which allows them to invoke something similar to a force majeure in case of a frustrating event. 

Usually, a frustrating event is similar to a force majeure event; however, the specifics of such an event are not mentioned in the tenancy agreement.

Unlike with a force majeure clause, the source of dispute while invoking a frustrated contract can vary from case to case. 

It is up to the authorities to determine what is an acceptable form of dispute that gives either party the right to invoke a frustrated contract.  

The major difference in the case of a frustrated contract is that, in this case, the contract gets terminated. 

While these are the rights provided to tenants under Singapore law, they might not be the same for tenants in other countries. 

For example, invoking a force majeure is almost impossible for people who use the term social tenants to define themselves. 

These are basically tenants who occupy a public or council-owned property and therefore regard the organisation as the landlord. 

How To Compile A Tenancy Agreement

Let us look at some of the standard information you will need in order to compile a tenancy agreement.

  • Must mention the official and full names of the tenant/tenants and landlord, including the identification numbers and current addresses of both parties. 
  • Must include the immigration status of the tenant and anybody else who will be staying on the property
  • Must include the full address of the property being rented out.
  • Must include the start and end dates of the lease tenure.
  • Must mention the exact rental amount along with any service, maintenance and property tax.
  • Must mention details of the rental payment schedule and other important details related to the rental transaction process.
  • Must mention whether or not the tenant is obligated to pay for additional fees such as utility fees and stamp duty. 
  • Must include a detailed inventory list of every household item, such as furniture, fittings and fixtures, as well as a description of the condition of each item. 
  • Must mention any essential details related to repairs and maintenance obligations.  
  • Must mention general covenants of the landlord, such as providing a peaceful environment for the tenant’s comfort, any maintenance fees, and insurance or tax payments he is obligated to pay. 
  • Must mention general tenant covenants such as timely rental payments, keeping the condition of the flat in good shape, whether or not the is allowed to sublet, have pets, smoke etc. 
  • Must mention what the landlord is indemnified against.
  • Must mention important any notices. 
  • Must mention the possibility of lease termination.
  • Must mention the possibility of the rent suspension period or rent-free period if the tenant cannot use the property for reasons beyond his control or doing. 
  • Must mention that the tenant will have to vacate the property after the lease tenure ends. 

Any tenancy agreement should stipulate any liabilities resulting from an illegal extension of tenancy, subletting, late or non-payment of rent and household furniture and appliance responsibilities. 

On top of that, a tenancy agreement must mention the significance of privacy, peace of neighbours, and the legal right to enjoyment without negatively impacting security. 

All actions and charges must be mentioned in the agreement so as to safeguard from a sudden deviation from the rules. 

The monthly rent amount, fixed time for rental payments and the forms of payments must be included for the sake of clarity. 

The agreement should mention who is liable to pay for the stamp duty; it is usually up to the tenant to do the calculation for stamp duty and make the necessary payment. 

The security deposit clause must state the amount of deposit that the tenant is liable to pay; usually, it is an amount equivalent to two months of rent. 

In case of late payment of rent, the agreement should mention the imposition of late fees, which could either be an added interest on the rental amount or an amount deducted from the security deposit. 

Moreover, the landlord should also include a motion that grants him the power to evict the tenant should the tenant fail to pay his rent on time for three consecutive months. 

The repair and maintenance clause serves as the general rule for what happens when a tenant damages any household items provided by the landlord.

The tenant may choose to pay a damage deposit which can be used to pay for any damages caused by him; the amount will be refunded if left intact by the end of the tenancy period. 

If such a deposit is not paid, any amount required for repairs will be deducted from the security deposit. 

The reimbursement and diplomatic cause give the tenant the right to terminate the lease before the tenure expires and should be mentioned in any rental agreement that has a validity of 12 months or beyond.

This is crucial in case the tenant has to leave the country due to an urgent and unavoidable reason. 

What’s more, landlords can include the reimbursement clause, which makes the tenant liable to clear some portion of the agent commission inventory list if there is an instance of early contract termination. 

Sometimes, tenants might decide to extend their stay and occupy residential properties for a longer period than what is mentioned in their tenancy periods. 

That’s why including the renewal clause is a must, as it makes the tenancy extension period much easier.

Needless to say, all the factors mentioned above are a must in the checklist of tenants as well as landlords.

What Is A Security Deposit?

A security deposit can be considered a safety fund for the landlord in case anything goes wrong. 

Any damages incurred on the property other than fair wear and tear will naturally have to be paid by the tenant.

What the landlord can do in this case is deduct the amount needed for the repairs of the damaged property from the security deposit.

Note that this is only if the damage was directly caused by the carelessness of the tenant and not due to natural reasons.

If the property is not damaged at all during the entire tenancy period, the security deposit will be returned to the tenant. 

However, the landlord will keep the deposit if the tenant cancels the tenancy prematurely without a justifiable reason.

The security deposit amount is usually one month’s rent if the lease duration is one year and two months’ rent if the lease duration is for two years. 

Clauses In A Tenancy Agreement That Need Close Attention Before Signing

There are numerous factors in a tenancy agreement that deserve your attention, but out of all of them, there are seven particular clauses which need to be looked at very closely. 

  1. The Diplomatic Clause

This clause is essential to any tenancy agreement with a lease period of two years and gives you, the tenant, the right to terminate the rental agreement without suffering hefty penalties. 

Note that it only comes into action sometime after the first year of the lease is over, so this doesn’t give you a free pass if you cancel the agreement early on. 

Moreover, the cancellation of the agreement under this clause is only valid under uncontrollable circumstances, for example, if you have to move out of the country. 

Additionally, you have to make sure to give prior notice at least two months before they terminate the contract. 

This is so that the landlord has enough time to find future tenants who can occupy the property after you shift out. 

Invoking this clause will mitigate heavy penalties, and you will only be obligated to reimburse the agent fee.

  1. The Security Deposit Clause

When it comes to renting an apartment, you always need to pay a security deposit to the landlord before you can move into the property.

The amount you are liable to pay is usually one month’s rent in the case of one year lease and two months’ rent in the case of a two-year lease. 

Some tenants pay a good faith deposit if they have signed an LOI; or letter of intent; if that is the case for you, the amount paid for the good faith deposit will be converted as the security deposit. 

The security deposit clause states that the amount from your security deposit can be used to pay for any damages to the property that has been caused by you or as a result of your carelessness. 

Similarly, if any household items belonging to the landlord go missing during your tenancy, the security deposit will pay for it. 

The money for your rental payments is generally not supposed to come out from the deposit, but you can make a personal arrangement with the landlord if that is what you want.

It is important to note that you are not liable to pay for any damages that occur due to fair wear and tear. 

Also, as the tenant, it is your responsibility to mention the deadline for when you should get your deposit back. 

The standard duration for this is around 2 or 3 weeks after the end of the tenancy, during which the landlord can assess the property’s condition. 

Keep in mind that some landlords out there will unfairly delay the deposit reimbursement, so it’s always a good idea to mention the timeframe in the clause. 

  1. The Maintenance And Repair Claus

Tenancy agreements usually state that you are supposed to pay for any repair and maintenance services needed for the property.

As a general rule, your repair fee payment obligation as a tenant is valid for amounts that are less than $ 150 to $ 300. 

This usually covers the cost of any repairs needed in the kitchen or for the replacement of light bulbs and such. 

It is important to mention the maximum amount you are liable to pay in the agreement so that you are not overcharged at any point. 

To explain, if the cause mentions that you are only obligated to pay repair costs up to $ 300, then the landlord will pitch in for the rest of the amount if fees exceed that limit. 

Remember that you are entitled to a grace period usually limited to the first 30 days from the lease start date mentioned in the agreement. 

This means that you will not be liable to pay for any repair costs for damages discovered within the typical 30-day problem-free period, and any such expense will be borne by the landlord. 

If you’re smart, you’ll want to check the entire establishment for anything that needs repairing and then click pictures. 

Once you have the pictures, you can write a report and send it to your landlord or his agent before the initial 30 days are over. 

However, the landlord is not liable to pay for minor repairs such as replacing parts of the electrical wiring or any piping issues. 

  1. The Inventory List Clause

You’ll be surprised to know just how many landlords out there will try to steal your security deposit by citing that a certain extensive item has gone ‘missing’ from the property. 

You can definitely mention this kind of behaviour in the tenant feedback form and leave the landlord a nasty review, but without any evidence, it won’t prove your innocence. 

That’s why it’s up to you to check for every item, such as furniture, appliances, electronic devices etc., mentioned in the inventory list clause and see whether or not they are actually there. 

This is also a good opportunity for you to check for faulty items on the list and report them to the landlord so that he can get them removed or replaced. 

You can also request the landlord to remove certain expensive items you don’t need.

After all, why would you want to keep something you don’t need and risk any chances of it being damaged? 

Another thing you have to do as a responsible tenant who doesn’t want to get cheated, is take pictures and write down the item details of the stuff around the property. 

This is crucial as it safeguards you from a shifty landlord who might claim that a  particular damaged item costs way more than it actually does. 

For example, the landlord might claim that a particular damaged table costs $ 2000 when the actual price is around $ 150. 

Finding out the brand and price of every item mentioned in the agreement prevents your landlord from trying to pull this trick. 

Below is a list of factors you need to mention to your landlord to ensure that everything is fair and square. 

  • Any appliances that are damaged or have missing parts or any devices that are mentioned in the inventory list which are actually not present on the property. 
  • Any torn curtains or curtains with holes and stains on them.
  • Any broken windows with missing frames or locks that do not work. 
  • Any cracks or visible holes on the ceilings. 
  • Any nails on the walls, any stains on the paint or scratches on the wall.
  • Any tearing or burn signs on the carpet.
  • Any torn or damaged furniture or upholstery containing scratches and burns.
  • Any stains or signs of burns and scratches on the floors.
  • Any broken lights, missing light bulbs, or fans that are not working. 
  1. The Sale With Tenancy Clause 

Your landlord might decide to sell his property while you are still occupying it as a tenant. 

What are you supposed to do on the off chance that this happens?

Well, that’s why the sale with tenancy clause exists to protect your best interest in this situation. 

As a tenant, you should carefully review this clause to determine whether selling the property is subject to tenancy. 

If the clause mentions that the sale will not be subject to tenancy, you will have to move out of the apartment as soon as the new owner wants to move in. 

If that is the case, you must also check out when the landlord can start showing the property to prospective buyers. 

However, if the clause mentions that the sale is subject to tenancy, you will be free to stay until the lease period expires. 

  1. The Privacy And Access Clause

This clause ensures that your landlord has to notify you ahead and seek your permission if he wants to visit the property. 

In addition, the clause should mention how early of an advance notice he has to give you should he want to visit the premises. 

The landlord is generally only allowed to visit the property to make repairs or show the establishment to future tenants and buyers. 

  1. The Maintenance Of Air Conditioners Clause

As a tenant, you are bound to run into some problems with the air conditioner sooner or later. 

Both you and the landlord will share the responsibility and cost of maintaining the A.C when the need arises. 

As the tenant, it is your responsibility to hire a servicing company to maintain and clean the A.C once in three months. 

Meanwhile, the landlord must have the A.C chemically cleaned whenever necessary and take care of any repairs or replace damaged parts. 

However, he will only be liable to do so if the damage was not due to your own carelessness. 

What To Look Out For In A Rental Tenancy Agreement In Singapore?

Every tenant should look into the type of lease provided in the agreement

A rental agreement might come with a lease with fixed rent, a lease with premium or a lease with variable rent.

A fixed rent lease means that the rent amount is fixed and cannot be increased during the tenancy period. 

Meanwhile, a lease with premium usually involves a lump sum payment to be made by the tenant. 

Finally, a variable rent lease means that the rental amount can vary from time to time throughout the tenancy period. 

4 Types Of Tenancies In Singapore

Fixed Term Tenancy

This is the most common type of tenancy available in Singapore and has a fixed starting and ending date. 

This means that the lease agreement will begin at the stated start date and will come to an end when the end date has been reached. 

Tenants living under this type of agreement must move out of the property at the arrival of the end date unless the landlord agrees to an extension.

Failure to vacate the premises when the landlord has not agreed to an extension will result in the tenant being termed as a tenant in sufferance, which is basically a polite term for a trespasser. 

The landlord has the legal right to charge double the rent amount in this kind of situation. 

Tenancy At Will

This type of agreement allows the tenant or landlord to cancel the rental contract at any given time, provided that a notice is given beforehand. 

Moreover, the death of either the tenant or the landlord will automatically terminate the rental contract. 

It is not rare to see cases where a tenancy at will agreement has lasted for years and years without any change in the rental amount.

However, should the agreement can be immediately terminated should either side decide to do so. 

Service Tenancy

This is when the lease tenure is based on the expiration date of a service contract signed between an employee and their employer.

Since the purpose of the tenancy is to provide a home for the employee while they work for the employer, the tenancy cannot be assigned to anyone else without the consent of the employer. 

Periodic Tenancy

This is the most versatile form of tenancy and can last from week to week, month to month or year to year.

The exact duration of the lease depends on the tenant’s rental payment term, and either party cannot cancel the agreement if the tenant does not pay the full rent amount he owes. 

Provided that all rental dues are paid, both the tenant and the landlord can end the agreement after giving prior notice.

Can Landlord And Tenant Freely Agree On Rents In Singapore?

Landlords and tenants can indeed freely agree on rents because of the passing of the Control of Rent (Abolition) Act back in 2001. 

Additionally, the HBD provides flats at a subsidised rental rate to help out tenants with weak financial backgrounds. 

Common Terms For Tenants

Letter Of Intent

This is a document which is sent to the landlord in order to show your commitment to renting the property. 

The letter of intent is by no means a mandatory requirement; however, it is not uncommon for the landlord’s property agent to request it from you; even more so if there are multiple potential tenants interested in renting the same property.

The LOI is usually valid for thee days unless the document mentions an extended validity period; either way, the landlord is obligated to respond to your letter before the expiration date.  

The letter of intent usually carries information such as how long you want to stay and whether or not you have any specific requests for the apartment, such as a new bed. 

HDB Approval

Any landlord who wants to rent out their HBD flat will have to seek the approval of the Housing and Development Board. 

What’s more, only Singapore citizens have the option to rent HBD flats. 

Tenants are advised not to pay the security deposit or sign the tenancy agreement until and unless HBD has approved the flat to be rented out.  

Security Deposit

If you are signing a one-year lease, you are liable to pay one month’s rent as the security deposit; meanwhile, two-year lease agreements need two months’ rent as the security deposit. 

This deposit will be used to pay for any property damage caused by you, and the remaining amount will be refunded at the end of the tenancy term.

A security deposit cannot be used to pay rent unless a personal agreement is made with the landlord. 

Inventory List

Needless to say, both the landlord and tenant must maintain a copy of the inventory list. 

The landlord will check all the items mentioned in the list when you hand over the keys at the end of the tenancy. 

If any items are missing or damaged, the landlord will deduct the value of such items from the security deposit. 

Tenancy Agreement

The tenancy agreement documents all the terms and conditions agreed upon between the landlord and the tenant and serves as a reference should a dispute arise later.

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