Tenant – Landlord disputes are best avoided and the first thing we would tell you in the event that you have one is to really try and settle your differences amicably. What comes after might be a whole lot of hassle! No? – have all the forces in the universe conspired against you and is the dispute absolutely unsurmountable? There are a couple of ways to go about this:
1. Try to get in touch with the agent that helped broker the deal. The agent will probably have some experience in these matters and may be of help in advising you how to move forward.
2. You can reach out to a mediator. Groups such as the Singapore Mediation Center (SMC), or the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) can provide you with a third-party perspective on the disputed matters. The majority of tenancy disputes in Singapore are solved through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), such as mediation.
3. If ADR is to no avail, the logical next step is to approach the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT). This will in all likelihood be more time-consuming and costlier than settling through mediation, yet if absolutely no settlement can be reached this is your go-to option.
The procedure of the SCT is detailed on the website in the link above. The bottom line is that the SCT has limited jurisdiction, and while most tenancy disputes will fall within it, not all do. We therefore advise you first to check whether your case is eligible to be pursued in the SCT, here.
Procedurally, after you have lodged your claim with the SCT, the tribunal will arrange for a registrar to hold a mediation session with the landlord and you. This is mandatory, and if to no avail a hearing will generally be scheduled between 7 and 10 days.
Note*: When lodging your claim with the SCT, a lodgement fee will have to be paid, the amount of which will depend upon the monetary value of the claim as detailed in the graph below:
4. If your dispute does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Small Claims tribunal, you still have the option to take the dispute to the Singapore Civil Court (just not the SCT). If it comes to this, you will probably have to hire a lawyer and eventually perhaps even engage the landlord in a litigation trial.
Singapore does not have a comprehensive law or set of laws governing landlord-tenant relations. This makes the terms on which the Tenancy Agreement was settled the more important, and the strength of your case in the events of a dispute will depend largely on the these terms.
~ when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object ~ 🙂
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