Tenancy agreement and security deposit in Singapore: What renters must know

13 min read

Finding a place to rent is not as easy as it seems. Aside from the stress of attending multiple house viewings, there is the negotiation process with the landlord (or their agent) to finalise the monthly rental rate.

Then comes time to sign the rental agreement. You take a cursory glance and decide that the terms outlined are to your satisfaction. With the anticipation of finally securing a place to stay, you ink your initials on the contract.

What can go wrong, right?

Person signing the tenancy agreement
Read through your tenancy agreement before signing on the dotted line!

Protecting your rights as a tenant

Let’s get real. Things do happen, and conflicts may occur. In the Singapore court of law (or in any other type of contractual agreement), if a term or clause is not explicitly written in a contract that two (or more) parties have endorsed, it does not exist.

That is why prospective renters should always thoroughly read through the rental agreement’s terms before endorsing it. If in doubt or disagreement with specific sections, it is always best to clarify and request an amendment.

Most landlords are perfectly reasonable individuals willing to compromise with their tenants. However, there are a rotten few who will find loopholes to exploit unsuspecting tenants of their money (and sanity).

Therefore, to safeguard against future disagreements, always ensure that the rental agreement clearly conveys what you, the tenant, want.

Always make sure you read the Tenancy Agreement thoroughly before signing it.

What’s in a tenancy agreement? 

If the CEA template is not being used, all rental agreements should include the following information:

  • Full name and contact address of the landlord and tenant
  • Address of the property to be rented
  • The date the TA is signed
  • Lease period, including the starting and end dates of the tenancy
  • Addresses for service for both the landlord and the tenant
  • The rent amount and frequency of payments
  • Payment mode and the account to which payment is to be made
  • Any fees to be paid (eg. commission for property agents)
  • Inventory list of all the items in the apartment

What’s the difference between a Tenancy Agreement and Letter of Intent?

A tenancy agreement (TA) is the more detailed, legally binding version of the letter of intent (LOI). The document states the rental terms agreed by the landlord and tenant. It also sets out each party’s rights and obligations with regards to the tenancy. Ordinarily, the landlord – or the property agent of the landlord – prepares the tenancy agreement in accordance with the LOI.

Note that the TA is more important than the LOI, and must be read in close detail. If there are legal disputes, the final outcome hinges on this document.

There is a high possibility the rental agreement the landlord sends is copied and pasted from a standard template from the real estate person’s agency.

If you want a guideline to compare your rental contract to, the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) has tenancy agreement templates for both HDB and private residential properties.

Remember, these clauses aren’t set in stone, so you’ll have the freedom to tweak them if they are too vague or don’t work in your favour.

Just be prepared for some back and forth with the landlord after you’ve indicated the changes you want to make – naturally, they might disagree with your terms, and you’ll have to find a middle ground.

You’re advised to have a property agent of your own to go through the TA, at least for your first time as a tenant in Singapore.

Security deposit

In Singapore, the signing of the rental agreement is often concurrent with your handing over of the security deposit.

By convention (not law), the security deposit is one month’s rent for a one-year lease, or double that for a two-year lease. It will be refunded at the end of the lease, after deductions due to damages.

If there is any damage to the property besides fair wear and tear, the landlord can subtract the cost of damages from your security deposit. In general, the deposit is only used to cover damages for which you are directly responsible. A leak caused by an old kitchen pipe won’t be deducted from your deposit, but a hole in the wall from a wild party will be.

If there’s a premature termination of the lease – and no clause in the TA permits such a termination – your security deposit can be withheld. In short, breaking the lease causes you to forfeit the deposit.

Original terms: “To pay a deposit of $xx being equal to x months’ rent upon the signing of this Agreement (the receipt whereof the landlord hereby acknowledges) as security for the due performance and observance by the Tenant of all covenants, conditions and stipulations on the part of the Tenant herein contained… “

Unfortunately, cases of tenants having to forfeit a sizeable amount (or the entirety) of their security deposit to their landlords for reasons other than damages to the property do happen.

To prevent this from occurring, tenants should ensure the rules for returning the deposit are laid out in the contract. Usually, a rental agreement will mention something along the lines of “due performance” or “non-performance”, a term landlords use as a catch-all to claim for any expenses from their tenants.

Recommendation: To correct this, be explicit and include a line that says “the security deposit is only to be used in relation to damages to the property or unpaid rents.” 

Tenants should also state that landlords must “advise them in writing first, before deducting any amount from the security deposit” and that “the deposit must be paid back within x number of days from the end of the lease” (usually, the period of time would be from two weeks to a month). 

It also helps to document the state of the apartment during the house inspection. And by document, we mean fastidiously examining and taking photographs of every corner of the house, including the furniture (if it comes fully furnished). 

Should there be any disagreements in the future, tenants will have sufficient evidence to plead their case.

Read this: Good faith deposit VS Security deposit

What to look out for in a rental tenancy agreement in Singapore? 

In addition to the above, many rental contracts in Singapore include clauses regarding:

  • Payment for utilities (find out if this is included in the rent; if yes, find out if it includes internet access – some agreements only cover water and electricity)
  • Insurance matters (note that the landlord’s home content insurance may not extend to cover tenants)
  • Applicable stamp duties
  • Conditions of access to premises (this states when and how your landlord can enter the house during the lease period)
  • Any regular servicing schedules, such as air-conditioner servicing or gardening (for landed properties)
  • Conditions of the security deposit and good faith deposit
  • Termination clauses
  • Details of what happens if rent is paid late or not at all.

Here are some clauses to pay special attention to.

1. Diplomatic clause and Reimbursement clause (Early termination of lease)

Expatriates should insist on this clause. This lets you terminate the lease prematurely if you lose your job or are transferred to another country.

Usually, the clause can be exercised after you are 12 months into a two-year lease. It allows you to terminate the contract without having to pay the additional months of rent.

By convention, a notice period of two months will be stated in the clause.

If you require the landlord to include the Diplomatic Clause, it is not unusual for a Reimbursement Clause to be included. This stipulates that you have to reimburse a part of the property agent’s commission.

You can find out more about early termination of lease agreements in our guide here.

For more information on common commission rates and responsibilities check out our agent commission guide.

2. Minor repair clause and Other maintenance clause

This clause states how much you are liable to pay, for damage caused by wear and tear (damage from direct negligence is deducted from the security deposit).

We advise all tenants to insert a problem-free period clause in the tenancy agreement, preferably 30 days or more. This way you are not liable for any damages during the initial period of the lease. It also protects you from damages caused by the previous tenant.

Original terms: “All minor repairs and replacement of parts and other expendable items at its own expense. The landlord’s approval must be obtained prior to repairs, and the landlord reserves the right to engage their own contractor.

Fair wear and tear occurs the longer you live in a property. Bulbs require changing, curtains and carpets require cleaning, etc. 

changing light bulb

However, should the washing machine call it quits, or water from burst pipes flood the kitchen, the cost of maintenance will skyrocket faster than the inflation of the Zimbabwean Dollar.

To avoid incurring additional expenses during the tenancy period, the rental agreement should set defined limits to the amount the tenant should pay for minor repairs and ensure that the landlord will be responsible for the cost of rectifying major ones.

Recommendations: Tenants should include a statement mentioning they are “responsible for the first S$150 – S$200 of repairs, after which the landlord should bear the rest, should the overall cost exceed the stipulated amount.”

For instance, the washing machine requires repairing and it costs S$200. As a tenant, you’ll have to pay the first S$150, while your landlord will cover the remaining S$50.

Also, the tenant should be able to “choose their preferred maintenance people” if required.

3. Option to renew clause

This is a clause that lets tenants extend the lease for another term — usually a year — with a two-month prior notice. If the clause is exercised, the landlord will prepare a contract for an extension. The clauses stay the same as the current contract unless specified otherwise.

4. Access to premises clause

There are usually a series of “Access to Premises” clauses, allowing landlords to enter the premises for a stated purpose. Typically, the purposes for which a landlord would enter the premises is for repair work or viewings for future tenants.

You don’t want to come home after a long day at work to find a bunch of strangers poking around your belongings and judging your dirty dishes in the sink.

Towards the end of your lease, the landlord may arrange for viewings to minimise the vacancy period of the unit.

Original terms: “During the two (2) months immediately preceding the expiration of the tenancy herein, to permit the Landlord or its representatives at all reasonable times and by prior appointment to bring interested parties to view the said premises for the purpose of letting the same.”

The problem with the word “reasonable” is its subjectivity – what is reasonable to one person might not be for another. 

A landlord may decide to allow prospective tenants to view the unit before the current lease expires at times that the current tenant might disagree on. 

Unless you’re comfortable having strangers wander into your personal space at odd hours, it is best to establish boundaries in the rental agreement.

Recommendations: Give a reasonable time frame for landlords to set a prior appointment before scheduling their house-viewings. 

For example, tenants can stipulate that “prior permission by tenant(s) must be made in writing, at least 24-48 hours in advance”. 

There are also merits to be even more specific – “in writing” can be further expanded to include logged messages across all platforms, such as Whatsapp/Telegram/WeChat messages, SMS and emails.

5. Rent payments clause

The last thing you want is coming back from an overseas trip to find your belongings unceremoniously dumped outside the unit.

This happened to a tenant whose landlord went nuclear and forcibly evicted them by acquiring a HDB letter terminating approval to rent out the entire unit, citing that she wanted to move back into the flat. 

Original terms: “If the rent hereby reserved shall not be paid for seven (7) days after its due date, or if there shall be a breach of any of the conditions, covenants or stipulations on the part of the Tenant herein contained, the Landlord shall be entitled to re-enter upon the said premises.”

A typical rental agreement will document when and how much rent is due. It is common sense (and courtesy) that tenants should fulfil these conditions stipulated in the contract. 

However, there might be instances where the tenant may not be able to meet their repayments on time, such as being on an overseas business trip, or if the landlord changes their bank account details without informing the tenant. 

Recommendations: Tenants should indemnify themselves from late payment penalties if they have made sufficient efforts to meet their payments. 

They can do this by including “tenant(s) will not be held accountable for interest or late payment if he/she has made all reasonable attempts to pay by the clearly communicated rental payment arrangement”.

6. En-bloc clause

This clause states that, if there is a collective sale of the development, the landlord can sell the property and prematurely terminate your lease without compensation. En-bloc sales are passed by a majority of the development’s owners, so your landlord has to sell the property regardless of whether he wants to or not.

This is a risk to take seriously when renting very old leasehold properties, such as those that are past 30 or 40 years in age. Given how long it takes an en bloc to proceed, however, it’s probable that your lease will be over long before you need to vacate the property.

On the other hand, if the landlord does not include this clause in the TA, and a tenant has to move out due to en bloc, this tenant may claim compensation for their unfulfilled lease from the landlord – regardless of whether the landlord voted for the en bloc or otherwise.

Anything else we can clear up about renting in Singapore? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you found this article helpful, 99.co recommends Guide to breaking lease and early termination of tenancy agreement in Singapore and Terms you must include in your rental agreement.

Frequently asked questions

Can I write my own tenancy agreement?

Technically, yes, you can do that. You may also refer to the tenancy agreement samples on the CEA website to write your own rental contract.

Can I download a tenancy agreement?

Yes, you can download a template of the tenancy agreement used in Singapore from the CEA website.

How do I e-stamp the tenancy agreeement?

You can do so online through the IRAS e-Stamping Portal and login with your SingPass. You’ll then be prompted to fill in the necessary information and pay the tenancy agreement stamp duty. You can make the payment by GIRO, eNETS or other payment methods like FAST and AXS.

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Reader Interactions


    • Christopher Young _


      If I’m signing for less than a year, and there’s no diplomatic clause -is there some kind of back out statute or clause that would come into effect/I can request if I have to terminate a contract?

      Would appreciate your advice.

    • Hi Christopher, If you signed a contract for less than a year, didn’t include a diplomatic clause and you suddenly decided to back out or terminate the contract, then this situation would be considered as breaching of contract. In this situation, the best way is to negotiate with the landlord. Communication is the key- be honest and truthful why you are doing this- people understand people 🙂 Hope this helps. Please feel free to get in touch with us again!

      • S Sunder

        Hi Jamal

        Can diplomatic clause be enacted for <1 year contract and for PR tenants (I want it to apply for possible company relocation outside singapore , or job outside singapore )

        is it legal/valid


    • Zoey

      My tenant want to terminate contract 5mts without prior notice for a year contract and refuse to pay rental for extra 15days stay please advice on how should i do? Thanks

      • Hi Zoey, so sorry to hear that. I would definitely get in touch on this with my team on Monday. I request for your patience till then. Thank you for interacting with us and have a great weekend!

      • Hi Zoey, hope you are doing good. I just got in touch with my team on your matter. There are a few things you have to consider here. If the contract was made for one year and your tenant wants to terminate it without a prior notice, then it’s a clear violation of agreement rules. To challenge this, you can use ‘Small Claims Tribunals’ which is small service by Singapore State Courts to wrap up small issues. On the top, since this dispute is between you and the tenant only, it might be a good idea to settle that between yourself. You can try talking to him/her to try to bring an another tenant who can fill the duration. I am not sure what did you mean by extra 15 days stay. Hope this information helps. Please let me know how this goes. Good luck!

      • Lara

        I would like to learn more about option to extend clauses in tenancy agreements. Is the landlord obliged to extend the contract for 1 more year in 2+1 year contracts? If both parties did not inform each other on time what happens?

        We wanted to extend our lease 1 more year as there is an option to extend. However, we did this notice 10 days later as my sapuse where out of town. Now, the landlord says he wants the unit to be vacated and will be used by his son.

        I will appreciate your reviews on this matter.
        Thank you very much.

    • Chang

      Hi, would like to ask if the tenant signed rental agreement for room & paid 1 month deposit but end up the tenant no show on agreed date or after. Also, tenant didn’t ask for deposit return as well. Will this rental agreement consider terminated?

      • Chang, it depends upon the situation. Officially, the tenant has signed the rental agreement and has also paid the deposit. I think you should try to contact him/her and know the reason of absence. If the tenant presents a legit reason, and you think you are satisfied with it, you can continue. Still, if the tenant doesn’t show up and doesn’t notify, you can warn him/her regarding the termination of contract say after 1-2 weeks. Still, in case, if the tenant doesn’t show up, it would be a good idea to move on. Thank you for commenting!

        • Hi Zoey,

          One month back We informed to my landlord that we are going to vacate the house and infomred him we need the deposit on the same day when we vacate , Now he is refuse to repay our deposit and he was telling us he will do after 15 to 20 day…? Can you please help me what can i do if he not going to repay me and we have not made any tenancy agreement .

    • Chang

      Hi Jamal, thank you so much for your advice and really appreciated a lots

      • No problem Chang. Feel free to get in touch if you might have further questions. Have a good day!

    • Suzie Yeo

      Hi Jamal, I had signed the agreement with my tenants is valid till end of June,2016. Tenant never told me not to re-contract until I message her then she told me that I can go ahead to get new tenant and also request to get the deposit to waive off for May. I refused as our contract is till June and isit they still have to pay me till June. Deposit had to keep till they move out and no damage to refund them on 14 days. My house wall was drawn by kids all over and I request them to repaint so I can bring new tenant to view the house they refuse and told me to return the deposit then they will do that. Do I as landlord have the right to ask them to repaint the house as still got 1 month before they move out? Please help me I am loss as don’t know how to handle this tenant.

      • Adam R.

        Hi Suzie,

        Judging from what you mentioned, it seems like your tenant is intending to break the lease by one month. Upon signing the contract agreement with her, was there any prior agreement in writing to state what will happen if she breaks the terms of the lease? It really depends on what is stated so that you can decide what actions you can take if the lease is broken (eg. tenant has to find a replacement tenant, security deposit will be forfeited , take the tenant to small claims court to recoup the lost rental income amount etc).

        It is also the responsibility of the tenant to maintain the condition of the unit as per what it was prior to him/her staying there. As such, your tenant is obligated to re-paint the walls upon returning the keys to you or pay for the damages from the security deposit if she refuses to do so.

        Hope this clarifies!

        Adam R.

    • Suzie Yeo

      Hi Jamal,
      Actually I had the hard copy of the agreement but problem is not signed,they e-stamp online so IRAS could not retrieve the document cos don’t need to e-stamp agreement if they do on-line. My agreement stated about the deposit return only after 14days when they move out and have to maintain the original as what I rented to them on the 1st day. Now problem tenants refused to paint the house telling me I need to refund them the deposit. They suppose to pay their rental till end of June cos contract ending June and the deposit cannot of set the rent,tis was stated in the agreement. I trusted they aqree professional therefore I did not get the copy of the signature from them.So how can I deal with this prolmeatic tenants. Please advice how to solve my problem.

      • Adam R.

        Hi Suzie,

        Do you still have a copy of the online copy with the e-stamp? As long as you have that, it should suffice as a legally binding agreement.

        For the security deposit, it should cover the cost of repainting the house if they do not do so after their last date of agreed tenancy. As for the collection of rent for their last month tenancy, afraid that you’ll have to continually negotiate with them to settle on a payment.

        Adam R.

    • DONG JUN


      I am going to rent a retail/shop outlet from a owner(Landlord) paying monthly rent to this person who bought this unit from the developer.
      He has this Tenancy Agreement written up as shown below with “Clause 4.1 (a) and (b) ” as follows and i am not sure what 4.1 (a)(v) & 4.1(b) means to me as a tenant as it seems to be working against the Tenant’s interest and Tenant will be paying endless sum of money depending on the Landlord’s declaration of monetary loss. 4.1(b) is the Clause i am most concerned with. Pls assist if possible to help explain to me what it meant.
      Thks in advance.

      4.1 Right Of Entry & Determination of Tenancy
      (a) If and When any one or more of the following events occurs:
      (i) All or any part of the Rent or other sum payable by the Tenant remain unpaid for fourteen (14) days after becoming due and payable (whether or not any formal demand has been made);
      (ii) The Tenant fails to perform or observe any of its covenants in this Agreement which is capable of being remedied fails to do so within fourteen (14) days from the Landlord’s notice;
      (iii) The Tenant becomes bankrupt, insolvent or in the process of liquidation under the laws of any jurisdiction;
      (iv) Any execution or attachment is levied upon or issued against any of the property or assets of the Tenant and is not paid off or discharged within seven (7) days of such execution or attachment; or
      (v) A proposal or notice of compulsory acquisition or intended compulsory acquisition is made by a competent authority in respect of the Development.

      (b) With the exception of Clause 4.1 (a)(v), the Landlord shall be entitled to forfeit the Security Deposit and all other sums paid by the Tenant. The Landlord shall be entitled to claim all less and damage suffered by the Landlord as a result of such termination including without limitation to the loss of Rent and other amounts which otherwise would have been payable by the Tenant had no such termination occurred.


      • Adam R.

        Hi Dong Jun,

        With regards to your question, the terms of the contract which you have mentioned are basic ones that are present in most tenancy agreements.

        For this statement:

        v) A proposal or notice of compulsory acquisition or intended compulsory acquisition is made by a competent authority in respect of the Development.

        It follows from the beginning of clause 4.1. This line is basically indicating that in the event of non-payment of rent or bankruptcy/insolvency by the tenant, the landlord has the right to re-possess the unit.

        As for the below statement:

        (b) With the exception of Clause 4.1 (a)(v), the Landlord shall be entitled to forfeit the Security Deposit and all other sums paid by the Tenant. The Landlord shall be entitled to claim all less and damage suffered by the Landlord as a result of such termination including without limitation to the loss of Rent and other amounts which otherwise would have been payable by the Tenant had no such termination occurred.

        It follows that if any amount of the rent is not paid, the landlord has the right to forfeit the security deposit to cover the cost of rent not paid. This also applies to any form of damage to the property caused by the tenant.

        Do not worry as these are standard procedures which the landlord has to establish before the contract is signed in order to safeguard his interests. For yourself as a tenant, if there is any instance of the landlord being dishonest and demanding that you foot the bill for damages you did not cause, then it is possible to seek recourse from the small claims tribunal.

        Hope this helps!

        Adam R.

        • BARMOLA

          Please help me to know following.
          I rent a house for 1 year in 2017 1st May. And till now staying there.
          Suddenly my employer cancelled my contact and I bed leave Singapore by end of February.
          I send a watsup msg to agent as my owners not stay here that I need to vacant house by end Feb.
          The terms for 2 months notice.
          But even my employer not give me 2 months notice.
          How I settle this

    • Ranita Dutta

      Hi, I am a student in Nus. My landlord and i entered into an oral agreement in a hdb flat in April 2016, now my landlord rented the apartment to one more families in a single room and he is staying with his family in another room AND also he was creating problems for me with various matters as a result of which I am not able to read and also couldn’t even able to cook for myself as the lady from the other tenant family is always busy in cooking and all the tenants including the landlord share a common kitchen. Now I gave a notice to my landlord on 7th May,2016 that I’ll vacate the room on 9th June,2016, which I guess completely legal as per tenancy law that to give 30 days prior notice to the landlord irrespective of the fact that we do not have any written agreement nor any specified termination clause. I am planing to leave on 9th June but my landlord is saying he’ll deduct 9 days rent from security deposit. I have also lodged a complaint in HDB, SINGAPORE, regarding this.Please provide some light to this issue that what else i can do in this?

      • Adam R.

        Hi Ranita,

        Your case would be quite difficult to resolve because the agreement was made orally, hence it will be a case of his word against yours. It is best to have all rental terms and conditions defined in a tenancy agreement which is signed off by the landlord, yourself and a 3rd party in order to protect yourself.

        That said, was there an explicit agreement that you needed to pay back any money in the event of early exit from the flat?

        Afraid HDB will not be able to respond to your request. The correct channel is via the Small Claims Court https://www.statecourts.gov.sg/SmallClaims/Pages/GeneralInformation.aspx

        Hope this helps!

        Adam R.

    • Joyce

      Hi.. I would like to ask if landlord has the right or can he demand for the rental of the remaining unexpired lease term in a room agreement? Due to certain circumstances and I need to early terminate my lease agreement. I have agreed to find a replacement for my landlord, but he told me that even though a new tenant is found, my deposit will still be forfeited. In addition, my landlord said that I have to compensation him for his loss of income if there is no replacement tenant. Is this true? But in the lease agreement, there is no such clause that mentioned “payment in lieu” if early termination. There is only 1 clause which stated “Both tenant and landlord can give 1 month notice for early termination of tenancy after minimum occupation of twelve months. In this case, deposit shall be refundable less deduction of damages caused by tenant, if any”. What does this mean? However, is this clause reasonable? This I believe meant to be early termination clause but the landlord put a min of 12 months (which is exactly the lease term). Please advice.

      • Adam R.

        Hi Joyce,

        With regards to your case, can I find out whether you have been staying in the rental property for at least 12 months as you have mentioned is a condition set between you and the landlord?

        Rental negotiations should be balanced for both sides. As such, I would say your landlord is being slightly unreasonable. Perhaps it is best to re-negotiate to assure him that you will be finding another tenant by a certain time period.

        Also, if it is not explicitly mentioned in the exit clause of the tenancy agreement, the landlord should not have the right to take the security deposit as means of payment for loss of income due to a vacant unit. The security deposit is only meant for repayment of damages caused to the property. If you find that there are no other ways of resolving the matter, you can approach the small claims tribunal (https://www.statecourts.gov.sg/SmallClaims/Pages/GeneralInformation.aspx) as a last resort.

        Hope this helps!

        Adam R.

    • Joyce

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for the respond. My lease is a 12 months lease and no, I did not stay for 12 months as circumstances changed and I need to find a larger unit. I did not early terminate the lease on purpose. The early termination clause was stated that I need to stay for minimum 12 months. However, did not mentioned any compensation. The landlord however now demand for full compensation. In addition, the landlord told me that even if a new tenant is found, my deposit will still be forfeited and he will demand for new deposit from the new tenant. Is this make sense in the eye of law? As the new tenant is only going to continue my lease term.

      Please advice.

    • Jimm

      Hi Adam,
      I’d like to know in the case that the tenancy agreement was signed, security deposit and first month’s rent was paid, but the apartment was not ready on the agreed date of start of rental.

      The tenant decides to back out of the agreement as the apartment was not in a livable condition yet (home improvements and furnishing was incomplete). Does the landlord have a right to keep the security deposit? It is understandable as the tenant is the one cancelling the contract, and it doesn’t state that the security deposit should be returned if the apartment is not ready.

      On the other hand does the tenant have a right to get a full refund of the deposit seeing that the landlord did not fulfill the agreement to provide a ready apartment?

      Thank you in advance.

      • Adam R.

        Hi Jimm,

        It depends on the extent the home improvements and furnishings are deemed to be incomplete. Would it be inhospitable to live there given the existing condition? For example, renovations which require drilling and re-tiling would be more disruptive compared to one which just needs a coat of paint.

        The tenant can claim that the property they are renting is uninhabitable if the rented unit is unfit to live in and the landlord’s fails to communicate this to them. For this case, it is necessary for the tenant to prove that the property could not be rented out without unreasonable interruption of the tenant’s residency. If they can, then they are relieved of any obligation to pay rent and get back a refund on their deposit.

        Adam R.

        • Jimm

          Thank so much Adam!

        • MIKE

          HI Please help,

          My son rents a room and a year has passed. The contract is for a year. My opinion, after the contract ends, it s automatically monthly basis but his landlord gave him another new contract for one more year and I just found out from him that he signed that new contract. My question is I do not have an intention to put him for another year. The first contract is enough for a year and now , he has to stay for another year while I want him to stay there for 9 months. Does his landlord break the law? thanks



      I have an inquiry, I have a verbal agreement with the landlord that I would confirm to take the place but due to I am still residing in my current house I would need to confirm to my landlord the date when I can latest move out. The new landlord informed me that I should give a pre-deposit $50 and passed me a contract to sign for the new rental. It is stated on the contract that once I have signed and agreed to all the terms deposits will be non-refundable if tenant is leaving in between lease terms.

      I have decided to review the contract and discuss with my partner and eventually we have decided to not take the place due to we have issues on the lease terms. When I contacted the landlord to inform of my rejection on renting the place he said as per:

      Money paid to a person as an earnest or security for the performance of a contract or other obligation.

      He said I am not to refund the $50 due to my obligation. But as to what I understand I have not signed the contract therefore the non-refundable to any deposits do not apply. What I see on my $50 serves as a security to reserve the room on a certain amount of time until I have made my final decision.

      I would like to know is his reason correct?


      • Adam R.

        Hi Cassandra,

        In principle, the verbal agreement you had with the landlord is not legally binding. Hence, the landlord has no base to keep such deposit, even if it is $50, if no tenancy agreement is signed.

        If you do have time, you can read our article about it too https://www.99.co/blog/singapore/good-faith-deposit-vs-security-deposit/

        Adam R.

    • Justin Ryan

      Hi, i recently found out that my tenant actually airbnb-ed my unit without my prior permission due to his divorce with his wife so currently they’re not staying there anymore.

      This incident was found out when i went up without prior notification and when i knocked on the door, an unfamiliar face opened the door.

      I would like to find out if i’m able to seek any form of compensation from my tenant (our tenancy agreement had ended), and i’m still holding onto the deposit.

      • Adam R.

        Hi Justin,

        You do have a case to confiscate the deposit based on breaking the clause of the contract whereby a tenant cannot sublet the unit without prior consent from the owner. In most tenancy agreements, there should be a clause that clearly states no subletting without owner’s permission, and penalties for breaking any of the clauses, usually involving the deposit being forfeited.

        If there isn’t, then the amount to be forfeited is usually negotiated between the landlord and the tenant.

        Hope this helps!

        Adam R.

    • David

      Can please advice. I am a tenant on a 12 month lease. Due to work issue, I intend to break the lease in the 6th month. However in my tenancy agreement, there’s no penalty stated. Is it required for me to pay the remaining 6 month lease which I think is rather unfair?

      • Adam R.

        Hi David,

        The best option is to negotiate with your landlord on the penalties on breaking the lease so that there is no miscommunication.

        There are alternative ways besides repaying 6 months lease. For example, you can offer to help your landlord to find another party who wishes to cover the remaining 6 month period.

        Adam R.

    • HYC


      I am in the midst of ironing out the TA with a Landlord and his agent for a HDB unit. They have a clause that says “The said premises shall NOT be sold subject to this tenancy.” This essentially means that if they sell the house anytime within my 1 year lease, i will likely be kicked out. So my reply to them was to change to clause to “The said premises shall be sold subject to this tenancy.” Lets assume that they agree, and then Landlord were to sell their HDB, technically the new owner will not be allowed to rent out the whole unit till 5 years MOP right? In this case,
      1. will the REVISED clause help me at all to not allow them to sell, or will it then be disregarded by HDB and then i get kicked out if the sale is successful?
      2. How do i enforce this clause such that it will not allow the sale to go through because the next buyer cannot technical take up this tenancy?

    • PIL S.

      Hi, I am going to rent a HDB unit that not approved by HDB due to MOP issue, the owner will lock one room and rent out the rest of the unit. I am dealing with owner agent as owner is oversea. In this case, I am asking to sign a “room rental agreement” from the agent company, looks like a standard format. But i am having concerns with the contract when the hdb discovers the owner actually not staying with us and afraid hdb will face us to move out.

      will we get protected by the contract if this case really happened, will i get any compensation if owner terminate contract due to hdb force to do so?

      Please advise, thanks!

      • Adam R.

        Hi PIL S,

        Afraid your situation doesn’t sound too good. First and foremost, HDB has strict rules with regards to MOP, in which the unit cannot be rented out so long as the MOP of 5 years is not met. The owner has a claim in saying he can rent out to others due to him being overseas, but because of the MOP issue, it is still a case where he is flouting HDB’s terms and conditions.

        Because of this, you will not be protected by the contract if HDB finds out about the matter and chooses to evict you (and possibly the owner as well). As such, compensation will also be difficult to claim back. You can still choose to continue with renting the unit at your own risk, however, our advice is to find an alternative option.

        Adam R.

    • Kylie


      I’m a Malaysian working in SG, and commuting daily from JB to SG to work. I occasionally stay over in SG, at my friend’s rented HDB room (1-2nights in a month ) should I be working overtime. Her new landlord wanted to include my name in the Tenancy Agreement as I’m deemed as being a tenant when staying over at my friend’s room. I’m worried about the repercussion of signing a legal contract as im not permanently staying there. I am currently an Employment Pass Holder. Would you happen to know if there’s risk of signing the TA? Thanks so much for your help.

      • Adam R.

        Hi Kylie,

        The minimum rental period for each tenant in both HDB and private residential properties is 6 months. Hence, it is advisable that you do not sign the tenancy agreement as it would mean that you will be liable to pay rent monthly.

        For more information about rental regulations in Singapore, you can read our article here (https://www.99.co/blog/singapore/rental-regulations-in-singapore-a-must-know-guide/).

        Hope this helps!

        Adam R.

    • SC Goh

      Hi Adam,

      I have signed a 2 year tenancy contract with the landlord to rent a condo-studio from him. Currently it is alreay 13 month pass since the contract was made.
      Due to some reason I need to move to a bigger house. I have inform to my agents on this. The agents told me that if I would like to terminate the tenancy agreement prematurely, I shall compesate my landlord the remaining 11 months rental. However this is not state in the tenancy agreement. In the agreement only state that I need to reimburse the landlord on a pro rate basis the commission the landlord has paid to the agent.
      If I give 2 month notice to my landlord that I will move out. Shall I still compesate the balance month rental?

      There is another option given by landlord that I need to find a agent to get somebody to takeover the tenant. Landlord told me shall the rental price is lower than what it is now, I have to compesate the different. Is it a common practice?

      Thank you

    • Gem

      Our 2 years lease has ended last September 14 (which we have been renting for total 6yrs) with advance notice to landlord but we still needed to serve another month extension just to please the landlord. But when the time came for us to collect our 2 months deposit, the LL assessed the unit (which is a 16years OLD building) and saw that part the kitchen counter top (near to the sink) has faded, he wants to charge us for the replacement of the whole counter top which which is currently only made of CHEAP laminate sheets on particle board. He said no maney will be returned to us for that and for him to hire a professional cleaner. I really think that is UNJUST on our part as a good tenant for 6 years, despite the fact that the rental cost was too high for an empty and unrenovated unit. Please advise as we want to prove him that that is a normal wear and tear considering that the material they used for the kitchen counter top cannot even withstand a normal wear and tear for 2 years. Is there any association here in SG that can help us with this difficult owner? Thank you!

    • Gem

      Our 2 years lease has ended last September 14 (which we have been renting for total 6yrs) with advance notice to landlord but we still needed to serve another month extension just to please the landlord. But when the time came for us to collect our 2 months deposit, the LL assessed the unit (which is a 16years OLD building) and saw that part the kitchen counter top (near to the sink) has faded, he wants to charge us for the replacement of the whole counter top which is currently only made of CHEAP laminate sheets on particle board. He said no money will be returned to us for that and for him to hire a professional cleaner. I really think that is UNJUST on our part as a good tenant for 6 years, despite the fact that the rental cost was too high for an empty and unrenovated unit. Please advise as we want to prove him that that is a normal wear and tear considering that the material they used for the kitchen counter top cannot even withstand a normal wear and tear for 2 years. Is there any association here in SG that can help us with this difficult owner? Thank you!

    • Matthew Teo

      If my tenant dirties the wall with drawings, no clean up of house at all,
      Lost padlock, didn’t clean curtains and toilets, no regular air con maintenance.
      Should I just forfeit his deposit.

      Mr Teo

      • Adam R.

        Hi Matthew,

        The security deposit is meant to repair/replace any damages made to your property by the tenant. From what you have mentioned, yes it is possible for you to claim damages for repainting of the walls, the lost item (if it was there since the beginning of the tenancy) and the cleaning of the curtains and air-con (if it was clearly stated in the contract that the tenant has to do these during his stay).

        Adam R.

    • Elma Balance

      Hi 99.co,

      Can you please advice? Our case is very much the same as the example posted above. We have been renting a private condo for the last 6 years (on a 2 year lease for 3 consecutive terms), and LL is taking advantage of our 2 months deposit. Inspite of making advance notice that we are not renewing for the 4th time, and extending for 1 month out of our goodwill, the LL is holding back our deposit saying that we have dirtied his unit, which is first and foremost 16 years of age!! To be honest, when we moved to that unit it was like hell to us as the kitchen was literally rotten with RAT holes and infested with rats and ants and cockroaches. Its too late when we learned about it only when we moved-in. We have complained for 2-3 months but owner doesn’t want to replace the kitchen at first, until we have convince him with our agent’s help on our 4th month. We appreciated that, even though I know (as an Architect) that the kitchen counter they built is a LOW-COST material and will not last a normal wear and tear for 2 years. So rest is history, we renewed our 2nd term and 3rd term, and its time for us to move on as we really find the unit getting very old. We left the unit last Oct 14, and cleaned as much as we can but we were surprised to know that he would want us to pay for the “partly” faded kitchen counter laminate (its a cheap sheet laminate) and mart of it near the sink got faed due to basic wear and tear, as we have been using for 6 years, we cook, and we wash dishes everyday so that is expected especially with a porous material such as pvc sheet laminates, where molds is expected ti tribe in time….. As a tenant for 6 years with a costly rental of 3000 for a BARE and old unit like that, we feel that it very unfair to pay for that kitchen. And he even wants us to pay half the amount of repainting the small bedroom due to discoloration of the paint (wall holds were starting to show, and i think the repaintitng cover-up (done 2 years ago) is starting to fade and OLD dirty paint stating to show-up), and sticker marks on wooden door which we were able to remove by cleaning it, but still wants us to pay. And he also wants us to pay for the cleaner he would hire for 150$. We really do feel he is taking advantage, and its been more than 2 weeks since we moved out and our deposit is still with him. Luckily, we used up the 2500 for our extended month, and we are just claiming for the 3500$ remaining. Please advice.

      Thank you!

    • Kalyan Kumar


      We have vacated from HDB house in October 2016 after 1.5 tenure and before hand over ,cleaning of house and servicing of air cons was done and also replaced few damaged electrical items and passed over the house well in front of owner agent and the same was informed to Owner as well over email from his agent. After their confirmation only the keys was handed over to their agent.

      During the time of hand over ,my owner agent found small crack on rock solid surface in kitchen and deducted half of the security deposit without my confirmation. He just shared the information in email and it is not properly discussed with us related to this. When I try to negotiate for it , he is re-directing the topic saying that house is not cleaned well after one week gap from handing over date, also they says for such kind of damages tenant has to pay for it which I’m not sure it is genuine or not.

      we don’t know whether rock solid surface will cost half of the security deposit and no idea whether it will come under furniture of the house or not. If it’s not related to furniture, also advise if we need to pay for such kind of damages?

      So could you please suggest how to proceed on this ? I heard that this type of issues can claim in SCT ?


      • Adam R.

        Hi Kalyan,

        The crack on the solid surface does not come under the furniture damage but under the term “wear and tear”. You may want to read our article on it here https://www.99.co/blog/singapore/wear-tear-rentals/ to find out more.

        Yes, it is possible to issue a claim in SCT for this, bbut before doing so, it is advisable to also find out the cost of mending the crack so as to ascertain the true cost of the damage.

        Adam R.

    • Anna

      Hi there
      A friend of mine is flat-sharing with two others. She didn’t sign any papers, merely paid a month’s deposit to the “leader” shall we call her and continued paying a monthly rent after that, for about 6 months in total now. She recently found out that this leader has been overcharging them. When confronted the leader refuses to produce any paperwork or documentation of the utilities bill or the tenancy agreement. She also refuses to share the landlord’s details with the rest of the tenants. My friend now needs to move out because of how dodgy this leader is, but would very much love to stay at the flat as she really likes it. What are your thoughts / suggestions on how to potentially resolve this situation? Thanks!

    • vinay

      Hello ,

      I have enquiry related pre-termination prior to the contract end date.
      Consider a person has signed up a contract for 1 year and due to unforeseen circumstances he lost his employment and need to leave the country, What would be a liability of the tenant if nothing is mentioned in the tenancy agreement?

      • Adam R.

        Hi Vinay,

        It is best to negotiate with the landlord regarding this. In normal circumstances, breaking the lease before the due date would warrant having to pay the landlord back for the remainder duration.

        However, given the circumstances of unemployment, an alternative arrangement (eg. assist in helping to search for another tenant) can be made with the landlord.

        Adam R.

        • Karan

          Hi Adam,

          Just to add Vinay’s point, even I am in a similar kind of situation. But what I want to understand when the contract doesn’t states anything (which is a legal document) then how can landlord hold me back or charge for the balance number of months? If there is something in law then effectively should be a part of contract or else it should be clearly communicated to the tenant. But agents are so sweet at the time of agreement that they don’t disclose all the fineprints. Well in that case don’t you think that tenant is liable for anything or the maximum liability should be to let go the security deposit. By virtue of this situation, a person can have a lot of mental stress.

        • Heang

          I early terminate the lease of 12 months, so my deposit is forfeited, however the landlord asks me to pay another 1 month because of breaking the lease. In the lease, no clause of early termination and have to pay extra 1 month mentioned, the lease just says ” the landlord agrees to rent 1 room within the period of 12 months” So do i have to pay another a month rental fee, when the deposit is forfeited?

          • Adam R.

            Hi Heang,

            With regards to your case, no, I think that you do not have to pay for an additional month of lease. The deposit should have already covered for that. Furthermore, such terms are not present in the tenancy agreement, hence it should not be enforced.

            Adam R.

    • Benedict

      Are you able to explain the difference between commercial tenancy agreement and service agreement? We are relocating our warehouse and most agents said the landlords are only willing to sign a service agreement, rather a tenancy agreement. Is there a risk signing a service agreement instead? Please advice.

    • Mads T

      I have a lease ending. lease contract is for 2 year. Part of the contract of lease term is the clause on deposit that should not be used to offset the rent . we are currently based overseas due to work and medical condition of my kids. We have 2 months security deposit with the landlord and we are only requesting to offset the last month rental leaving the landlord one month security deposit . Despite our request, landlord still insist for us to pay the last month rent with no assurance that she will return the 2 months deposit after 14 days of end of lease contract. there is also a clause on the contract that in case of sale of the said property, tenant shall chase the new property owner on the deposit. Landlord had the unit viewed 3 months prior the end of contract. Landlord is firmly demanding not to use one month deposit for our final rent. landlord is even stressing to re enter the premises despite our request to settle the last month rent on a face to face discussion once we are back in the country which is just few days later. we have maintained the house very well, it is far better place when it was handed over to us. I just see that the landlord has obvious intentions of not returning our deposit. hoping for your advise

      Mads T

      • Adam R.

        Hi Mads T,

        Given that you have managed to protect your rights as a tenant in the tenancy agreement, the landlord is in violation of the terms if he chooses to withhold the deposit. It is best to tell your landlord that you are going to approach the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) in order to make a claim for your deposit.

        You can read more about what you should do at the SCT here: https://www.99.co/blog/singapore/small-claims-tribunal-rental-disputes/

        Adam R.

        Adam R.

      • Adam R.

        Hi Mads T,

        Given that you have managed to protect your rights as a tenant in the tenancy agreement, the landlord is in violation of the terms if he chooses to withhold the deposit. It is best to tell your landlord that you are going to approach the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) in order to make a claim for your deposit.

        You can read more about what you should do at the SCT here: https://www.99.co/blog/singapore/small-claims-tribunal-rental-disputes/

        Adam R.

    • Cecil

      Good evening.
      I would like to terminate contract, hence aggresive behaviors from other tanents.
      – tried to solve this issue with commnication, explained to agent & owner.
      – gave agent & owner more than one month period for notice (based on agreement)
      – agreement mentioned that, give one month notice period, landlord or tenant can terminate agreement
      – they don’t want to refund deposit. after i complained and answered agent’s comment, agent is not answering my email.

      I’m afriad because other tenants, agent and owner is same side people.
      Can I get deposit back? and what should i prepare to prevent any kind of disputes?

      • Adam R.

        Hi Cecil,

        Will need to understand your situation better. Could you elaborate:

        – What was the issue that lead to you terminating the contract?
        – What was the specific terms in the contract that mentioned about “given one month notice period, landlord or tenant can terminate agreement”. Right now, it sounds rather vague.
        – What do you mean by other tenants, agent and owner are same side people? How are the other tenants (Presume to be room-mates?) in connection with your tenancy agreement?

        Adam R.

    • James

      Need your’s help. I am a tenant, terminating my 12 month contract on 8th month with 1 month notice which is already informed to landlord and also I’ve arranged the replacement. Even though, bought the replacement still landlord telling the security deposit will be forfeited and 1 mth compensation.
      Landlord brought new agent and said do the fresh agreement with him by paying Agent Commission +Security deposit for 1 year. So my replacement said doesn’t want the unit. After that he is suddenly telling that i need to pay compensation of 50% of remaining month rents[i.e., 50% of total amount of 4months rental] + Security deposit will be forfeited and threatening me to go legal action.
      In tenancy agreement, there is nothing mentioned about compensation or security deposit forfeited and mentioned 1 month notice to terminate.
      My question:
      1. Compensation is not my fault where already arranged replacement. If i unable to pay what will be legal action?
      2. Security deposit is for only damage or breakage only. Can i get refund any small amount rather than forfeit?

      Thanks a lot.

    • Aditi

      I need an immediate assistance for the situation I am right now in:
      I am the main tenant for the house(3 rooms) and I have signed a year contract which will be ending on 17th may 2017,3 more months to go.In the contact the whole unit is under my name and it’s rental wch I have to take from the subtenats.
      There is one subtentat who just moved in and since beginning mine and other sub tenant we both singed the contract however the third subtenant she left and in replacement I have this new sub tenant but I do not have any agreement for this new tenant except the HDB registration copy where his name is added.
      Now this new subtenant said that he will stay till the end of the contact and now after 2 months he is saying I want to leave the house and asking to offset his deposit from the last months rental wch is 16feb-17march when I never promised him to offset.
      In this case he is breaking the contact 3 months in advance and also asking me to offset his rental from deposit.
      May I please know that since he is trying to bully me and go and want to stay as well for free what m I supposed to do with him?
      How will I pay the remaining 3 months rental wch is 800$ per month
      I am in tension
      Can u help please ?
      Thanks & regards,

    • Nicky


      I am making an enquiry with regards to the subletting of private residential premises.

      1) Is it legal for the master tenant to rent out individual rooms to sub-tenants?

      2) If yes, what documents should the sub-tenants obtain from the master tenant to ensure that it is legal?

      3) If the master tenant is the one renting out rooms to sub-tenants, should a tenancy agreement be signed between the landlord and the sub-tenant, or the master tenant and the sub-tenants?

      4) How would we know whether the sub-tenant has been registered as an occupant in the flat if the agreement is between the master tenant and the sub-tenant?

      Would appreciate your help in answering the above questions. This is a little urgent. Thank you.

    • Ann

      My tenant claimed that he resigned from his company because the employer refused to pay him salary. Due to this reason he is giving 2 months noticed (Jan & Feb) to early terminate the contract of the rental. Initially he refused to pay for the rent of the 2 months noticed because he said he have no money to pay. However, he paid the 2 months rental when we told him we want to vacate them. I’ve asked for a letter from his company to proof of his termination but yet to receive it till to date. The rental contract will only end in Mid April’17 but he want to move out in Mid March’17. Should I return him the deposit if he cannot show any proof of termination and the agent told me the tenant went for few job interview so I suspect tenant do not have any intention to go back to his country. He may have rented another cheaper place therefore he want to terminate the contract earlier and he wanted to use the deposit to offset the rental that is why he refused to pay the rental for the notice period. Please advise what should we do? Can I also ask the tenant to show a letter from the immigration regarding his cancellation of his employment pass? The fact that he resigned from the company instead of been terminated? Is this breach of contract or we still need to exercise the diplomatic clause for the above situation and pay him the deposit? Thanks for your advice in advance.

      • Adam R.

        Hi Ann,

        Yes, it is necessary for him to provide proof from his company that he has indeed been terminated. The diplomatic clause will only come into play upon the provision of the necessary documents to state this. It is advisable to give your tenant a deadline to do so.

        It is possible to forfeit the month of unpaid rent from the security deposit if he cannot produce said proof by the given deadline.

        Adam R.

    • Upali

      Hi, if in the tenancy agreement it is mentioned to refund the security deposit within 14 days of handover of keys, can the owner hold the money by breaching the contract. Considering the fact that there are minor wear n tear for which some amount is supposed to be deducted from the security deposit as agreed by the owner during pre inspection and final handover. However the owner quietly holds our deposit and simply doesn’t respond anything after the keys handover. What is the legal obligation, can the owner be sued for breach of contract

      • Adam R.

        Hi Upali,

        If the TA does explicitly state that the landlord must return the security deposit within a stipulated timeframe, then yes, the landlord is liable to stick to the agreed upon timeline. Any lapse, unless otherwise communicated, should be taken as a breach of contract.

        The landlord does have a right to deduct from the security deposit for wear and tear, but has he/she mentioned how much is going to be deducted? If it is lesser than the full security deposit amount, the suggestion is to go for the Small Claims Tribunal to resolve the dispute.

        Adam R.

    • Denise

      Hi. We’ve been tenants for the same property since 2004 and Tenancy agreement every year after has been renewed in the form of a one page agreement signed by both parties, rent of which has changed (increased) since then. Since 2013, we have been living overseas and work assignment has been also outside of singapore but just to avoid the hassles, we continued renewing the contract. Tenancy renewal is normally on the 10th of February. But January of this year, tenant got into an accident, got hospitalized overseas and had financial problems since then. We had no choice but to give up unit in Sg. For 13 years, the Landlord never made any major improvements in the unit. Curtains got worn out thus changed, and furnitures got minor fixings needed, if ever. Since we are overseas and not in Singapore anymore, can we use whatever appliances left( i.e. dressers, glass cabinets, TV, bed and mattresses etc) in the apartment to offset whatever expenses they would incur in case they need to have it fixed.
      These are points I would really like to understand better:
      1. Can we request the Landlord to use deposit to pay off for the supposed Jan -Feb rent and end the contract and no more renewal
      2. Unit has already been vacated since we are overseas but appliances like dressers, cabinets, glass cabinets, bed and mattresses, TV, water dispenser etc were left in the unit. Can we request the Landlord to use these appliances instead as part of the unit when they rent it out again, to offset whatever expenses they would incur incase?
      3. After 13 years as tenant, whats’s Singapore’s rule re: Tenancy-Landlord dispute if ever?

      Thanks so much

    • Aubrey

      Hi, 3 of my friends and I have just signed a Tenancy Agreement earlier today with an agent since the landlord is not in the country. We have agreed that we will be moving on 1 April. We do not live with each other and still need to look for our replacements in our current places so we need time. We have also transferred the deposit to the bank account of the owner and paid tax. However, just now the agent informed us that the son of the landlord accepted an offer from another person moving in on 1 March. Our issue is we can’t and she’s trying to convince us to move in on 1 March. We settled everything and paid the deposit to lock in/reserve the unit for us. But the agent is saying that the tenancy agreement that we signed is not yet binding since the landlord has not signed it. Is this true? What can we do to resolve this? Thank you in advance.

      • Adam R.

        Hi Aubrey,

        Can clarify what is the official start date of the tenure according to the tenancy agreement signed? If it states that tenancy starts on the 1st of April, then the landlord (or his son) should not be allowed to search for another tenant in replacement of your existing contract.

        Usually, the tenancy agreement should be signed in the presence of the landlord and tenant, together with the agent (if applicable). In this case where the landlord is overseas, the tenancy agreement should be signed by him and mailed back with his signature first before you endorsed it so as to remove any miscommunication. Regardless, following the agent’s line of argument that the contract is not legal binding because the landlord has not signed it, you should be able to ask for your deposit back.

        Adam R.

    • Nick F

      Hello. Is there a legal definition of tenantable repair as required in lease agreements? Upon occupation for a new 2 year lease what can reasonably be expected to be an acceptable condition? Or rather, as the lease agreement does not specifically state anything beyond repainting of the house, can a tenant expect that the property is cleaned and fit for habitation, including cleaning up of renovation dirt (dust/paint etc.), proper deep cleaning of all bathroom and kitchen equipment/facilities (removal of grease, grime etc. from cooking, clearing drains, cleaning cupboards) and window cleaning, and can it be expected that badly damaged/scratched/marked/water stained wooden and marble flooring be cleaned and polished? Is there any case law in the tenants favour where the Landlord has not handed over property in a tenantable condition and costs and time to rectify should be borne by the land lord?

      • Adam R.

        Hi Nick,

        Usually before the signing of the tenancy agreement, both the tenant and the landlord are free to negotiate the terms in said contract to outline in no uncertain terms the extent of responsibility for each party should adhere to. This would include request from the tenant for the landlord to clean up, make repairs, replace worn-out fixtures before he chooses to move in. This can be stated as detailed and explicitly as possible, of which the landlord can choose to agree or disagree on these terms.

        This is encouraged because there is no firm legal definition about what is considered “tenantable repair”. In the rental market, it is commonly assumed that so long as the landlord provides a hospitable accommodation to the average person and doesn’t endanger the lives/privacy of the occupants, then the agreement should be able to come to pass. Understandably, (I’m sure) there have been cases where the tenant does disagree with the landlord about the condition of the property, but again, these are usually grey areas that should be discussed with the landlord prior to signing any contract.

        Adam R.

        • Nick F

          Many thanks Adam. The end of this discussion in our case was a compromise and not ideal for either party. Lesson: be as detailed and explicit as possible as you said!

    • Rae

      Hi there,

      My tenant’s lease is ending soon but requested for a short-term extension (6 months). She is requesting for return of half of her deposit (i.e. half month of the monthly rental fee).

      But as far as I know, it is the landlord’s right to ask for at least a month’s deposit, no matter how long the lease is. Am I wrong?


      • Adam R.

        Hi Rae,

        Yes, you are right. Furthermore, the full amount of the rental deposit should only be paid back after the lease has ended (whether extended or not).

        Adam R.

        • Nick F

          Dear Adam,
          What about the question of tenantable repair I raised on 21 Feb? Mthks/Nick

    • Maung

      The landlord accepted the letter of intent to lease a residential unit, but didnt deposit the initial deposit in Bank. In the meantime, the Landlord’s agent sent the TA and few terms were negotiated and Agent confirmed with the changes. Now the agent trying to market the unit to someone by dodging me to sign the TA by saying the landlord is unavailable. Can the landlord now refuses to sign the TA by saying the terms of TA was not accepted by me initially and hence he decided to lease it out to someone else? What damage I can claim?

    • Sam

      I had taken an apartment for short duration of 6 months, and made clear to agent that I am only seeking for short duration. He said okay but made tenancy agreement of a year suggesting, as legally he cannot make less than year contract. I had to empty the apartment in 4 months which came to15 days notice. Considering situation and to complete one month notice I extended till 4.5 months and paid rent accordingly. The agent said i will not get deposit as he needs to look out for other tenant once i leave. I was okay with arrangement and let him keep the deposit. But I got project hence needs to extend and I wanted to continue the same place. He did not allow me to continue as he found another customer. I requested for my deposit back in such case but he refused suggesting that i communicated his that i wanted to leave. Now he made me leave the place and has not returned my deposit as well. On top he sent additional bills for common expense for whole months. I also found that it is his usual practice to make people sign contract for a year and not to return the deposit. Also later I also found that he is renting out couple of rooms illegally. I am not sure how legal entity in Singapore work. I was okay to let go deposit earlier when i thought i am leaving earlier, but now that he does not getting affected as I left rather I have to find another place and pay deposit again. I wanted to seek help in order to understand if this is correct and legally correct. I had refused to pay him expense as he still holding my deposit. Kindly advise.


    • Mitch

      Hi there. Great blog, thank you for sharing. I’m about to sign a two year lease for $4K per month, I’m expat with EP. I’m a little unclear on what happens if my employer terminates me, say after 6 months, and I have to leave the country. There is a diplomatic clause effected after 12 months. What would be my liability in this case?

      • Adam R.

        Hi Mitch,

        The worst case it that you’ll stand to lose your 2 months deposit plus the pro rated commission amount that your landlord has paid out to their agent (if applicable). Let you landlord know as soon as your termination is confirmed. You can try to find a replacement tenant to take over the current lease.

        That’s usually the most amicable solution.

        Adam R.

    • Cass

      If my tenant going to move out on 14 April but he give us the rental fees on 14 Mar so should I have to give them the deposit

    • Mohamad Rahim Abidin

      Would like to ask , a tenant rent in 2015 – 2016 we use house agent and signed one year agreement. The tenant paid one month rent and one month security deposit.
      Second year he wanted to extend and I do it online application to HDB for approval. Forgeting all about the security deposit and assumed the same as the first year agreement. The second year agreement was from 1 may 2016 -31 oct 2017 and he wanted to terminate the agreement by april 2017. Which 6 months earlier.
      What should I do. Can I ask for the 6 months refund of rental.
      Please remember that the second year agreement was done online to HDB for approval.
      Thank you.

    • Jasmine

      Hi I need some advise.
      Recently just rent a hdb unit with 18mths lease. Just start stay in the unit within a month received a HIP notice.
      May I know if within my tenancy period HIP landlord have to compensate me? Like a free rental for that period?
      Really need some advise. Cause during HIP period is really hard for a family with kid.

    • Jasmine

      Hi, I need some advice.
      Recently just rent a hdb unit with 18mths lease. Just start to stay in the unit within a month received a HIP notice.
      May I know if within my tenancy period HIP landlord have to compensate me? Like a free rental for that period?
      Really need some advice. Cause during HIP period is really hard for a family with kid.

    • Tommy

      Hi, I would like to check with you if a tenancy agreement is legally binding if only one owner of the property signs the tenancy agreement as the landlord with the tenant(s). Pls advise.

    • rafael

      Hi i have an inquiry, we recently moved out of our apartment last june 10 2017, but we paid may to june rent of 2500, so my understanding is we still have 5000 deposit still that will be refunded (minus the elec and water bill, and other task like cleaning the house so less than 5000 will be refunded), the agent returned to me 750 only she is saying we moved out of june 10 instead of june 1, so she took 1 month rent from our 2-month advance, and deducted elec and water and others, leaving us only 750. is that even legal? take note we dont have a contract. we stayed in her apt for 1 yr and 6 months

    • Adi

      Hi there and thanks for the useful advises! Unfortunately due to health issues I’ve to resign (expat on an EP), move back home and terminate my contract and leave the apartment after just 2 weeks from signing:( What are the negative consequences? My agent scared me that not only we could lose the deposit (2 months as it’s a 2-year lease), but we might have to pay on top the landlord agent’s fee and potentially the loses he is suffering until finding new tenants. I have no option as I have to cancel my employment in a week so we’re actively looking for a replacement… What are my realistic options in this case? Thank you in advance!

    • Adi

      I forgot to mention that we HAVE NOT paid stamp duty which seems to be in our favor in this case… is it?

    • Daryl Kovan

      I am the landlord of a property being rented out. In the existing contract with my current tenant, the contract states that the landlord will pay the required commission fees in the event of renewal of contract. A previous agent I had insisted to be a go-between for landlord and tenant on any matters arising from the tenancy. In the situation, I felt the future commission for renewed contract is warranted. However, my current agent takes a hand-off approach (as “contract is between landlord and tenant”). Is this practice (of giving commission for renewed contract) a standard in Singapore and if so, what service can be expected from the agent during the current period of tenancy? In the event of renewal of contract, can I negotiate on the agency commission in the new contract?

    • PH

      Hi Adam, I have a 1 year contract for a room rental. I am now in 8th month of renting. However the landlord would like to rent it out the whole unit then said I may be shifted to his other property. But again he said his other property still haven’t confirmed if there will be vacant or not when I got to move out from this current unit. Also haven’t confirmed when I need to move, but currently he already let people to view my room where I stay. What should I do. Does it mean that the landlord has to break the contract and give me back my deposit? Then in 1 month notice period, could it be deducted from the deposit or I need to pay first then in my last day I get the refund? I have 1 month deposit, and I am frightened if the landlord could anyhow terminate as the unit already rented out then it is hard for me to get back my deposit.
      Appreciate your advice. Thanks!

      • Krristy Lam

        Dear PH,

        Please ensure you keep a proper documentation of all correspondences with your Landlord. If an issue over the refund of the one month deposit arises, you may wish to the to read our article on the function of the Small Claims Tribunal for further information.

        Thank you!


    • Sara

      Hi Adam,

      I would really appreciate some advice on what deems a property uninhabitable in Singapore. LONG story short, we’re currently in a dispute with our LL. Our A/C broke on 30th July, rent was paid on 1st August as normal and LL informed about A/C. Although he has been tricky from the start (explaining this would be a whole other message!) we weren’t particularly worried about the A/C as it’s clearly stated in the TA that it’s on him. However, nearly 2 weeks later, he’s refusing to fix it. Reason? Because, although the loud buzzing starts as soon as it’s turned on, the air is cool for about 3-5 minutes before it starts blowing warm air. He believes we should just live with the ‘inconvenience’ of the buzzing sound and turn the A/C off every few minutes when the hot air starts. Obviously this is ridiculous (not to mention we have a 6 month old baby) and we’ve hardly used the living room this month as it’s unbearable without A/C.

      ANYWAY, we consulted a lawyer, he said it’s not enough to dissolve the TA, but we should basically replace the A/C unit and deduct from Sept 1st rent. This is apparently the best legal option, so we informed the LL this is what we’ll be doing if the A/C isnt fixed within 7 days. Needless to say, he’s furious and says if we do this we will be starting a ‘dispute’ with him. we’re day 3 into the 7 days notice we’ve given him – he’s clearly not going to fix it, so looks like that’s what we’ll be doing.

      THE PLOT THICKENS! Last night, we’re on the couch eating dinner, baby on the floor play-mat in front of us and we suddenly hear horrible loud crackling sound, like fireworks, coming from the floor. It sounded to me like the apartment below us was on fire and this was a burning wood sound. we were petrified – suddenly the tiles started to rise and, no other word for it, explode. Husband grabbed the baby of the floor, a metre away from where it was happening, and yelled at me to get out. We made it out and just watched form the front door as our living room tiles all rose up. (If this makes no sense, google ’tiles suddenly popping up’ and youtube will show you examples.) I can’t tell you how scary it was, but anyway, thankfully no fire, no one was hurt, condo management came to look at it and said it looks like heat made the tiles expand and there was too much pressure (wonder why the living room was so hot???) Anyway, our living room is completely unusable. cant use the dining room table, or couch – there’s essentially no where to sit. There is a small ‘safe’ path you can squeeze around the outside of the room to get to the kitchen. Baby and I are confined to the bedroom today. Since it happened on a Saturday night and today is Sunday, we’re stuck with it for now it seems. Landlord has been informed (I’m sure he’ll find a way to blame us…over-used the floor perhaps?) anyway he’s coming by this evening to view it.

      Our agent is advising that, in light of recent events making the place uninhabitable, and if he refuses to fix A/C and floors within a reasonable time frame, we just tell him we’re dissolving the tenancy agreement and moving out by the end of the month. The A/C has totally taken a backseat, but it’s obviously still a factor in how habitable the place is right now. Having seen the video and photos of the floor, he’s asked us to ‘live with it for now’.

      Advice needed…I’m scared that, while this is certainly the sanest option if the LL refuses to fix it, or wants to take his sweet time can we legally get out of the TA AND have a good case to get our security deposit back in full?? I accept that the latter may not happen, but that seems so unfair and I’d be willing to go to a small claims court over it, but will they be black and white and say ‘you dissolved the TA without LL’s permission, tough luck’ or will they take into account that the place is basically unlivable?!

      Popping tiles seems to come under structural damage. Assume the first step is to get a contractor to view it and assess how much time and cost the repair will take. But how long do we have to put up with this for? No one can expect me and the baby to live in the bedroom for weeks on end surely? Should we be requesting the LL pay for a hotel stay in the meantime? 100% do not want to be in the house with baby and lots of loud,dusty work. Sorry for the long post, just really unsure of our rights here and feel very upset. Thanks in advance

      • Krristy Lam

        Dear Sara,

        I am sorry that you and your family have had to go through such a tumultuous time in your rental premises. It is best to check with your lawyer and agent what is the best recourse you have at this moment as they are most familiar with the clauses in your TA. I have noted that you have video and photographic documentation of the past instances that have potentially rendered the premises uninhabitable. Documentation in black and white/photograph/video as well as a clear chronology of events will serve parties well should they decide to take the matter up at the small claims tribunal. Please click here for more information.

        We hope that the situation can be settled amicably and expediently. Good luck!


        • David Foo

          Hi, I have been serviced by an agent to help me sublet my HDB flat. The 1 year tenancy is expiring next month and the agent has not initiated the tenancy renewal process. I’m not happy with the agent’s service, and wish to renew the TA with the tenant on my own. Am I flouting any regulations which may incurr penalty or fee to the agent?

    • Nia

      Hi, i would appreciate some advice on what to do get my deposit money back.

      I signed a 6 months agreement and the tenancy agreement is ending on 5h of November. Today, i called my agent to ask what time will we meet for keys handover. He was surprised as he admitted that he didn’t know my contract is ending and i should’ve give him at least 1.5 months notice before checking out. He defends himself with a clause “Tenant needs to give notice at least 1.5 months at the end of the tenancy in order to terminate the contract”.

      However, i have no intention to terminate my contract. the contract simply expires as i have stayed there for almost 6 months. It is reasonable for me to give him prior notice if i were to move out earlier than contract term (early termination) but it is unreasonable for the agent to obligate me to remind him about my contract expiry date as he needs to keep record of his own files. I comply paying rents n pub while living in his premises according to the tenancy agreement. Moreover, he has his own copy of the contract so it is unreasonable for him to say that he forgot about my contract expiry date and holds my deposit of $1000 to cope with next month lost if he didn’t get new tenant.

    • Dr Sniffy


      Short question… Why don’t landlords put that the place needs to be professional cleaned in the contract? Is always “standard” or “that’s what’s done in Singapore”. If it’s expected, why not just add it to contract instead of dispute it and take from deposit?

    • Joyce

      Hi Adam,
      I would like to ask u some questions regarding the minor repairs clause. I just moved in 6 months and there is some bad blood between the landlord and I. My landlord keeps delaying the repairs and ask me to “live with it”. Is there really nothing else I can do but just live with it?

      Three months ago, the air con unit broke down and I notified the landlord promptly. She told me that she will get back to me asap but 8 days later, she did not get back to me. The air con repair took about 2 weeks to be completed (over the span of 6 trips). The first 2 trips the repair man postponed the meeting on the actual day, without informing me, so I was left waiting at home for nothing. Subsequently, the repair man came down thrice without bringing spare parts and this makes me feels like the air con man is not interested in helping me to fix the air con. This repair man is a friend of my landlord by the way.

      Now, the washing machine broke down too and she is trying to “settle it asap”. I am wondering if it is possible to ask the landlord to cover my laundry fees in the meanwhile when she try to get the washing machine fixed “asap”?

    • Marvz

      Hi there! I would like to ask if a handwritten amendment on the contract is valid without my signature beside it? I am disputing my contract with the owner of the room since she has agreed that we need only serve one month notice and in order to be allowed to leave after because it as stated in the clause. Now, I have been asking her for the copy of the contract because I need it for some application and she has not given me any, even a soft copy. In this case, do I have a case against her for not being able to provide the copy with the stamping duty – not even a soft copy was given? We have rented her place for the past 8 months and now want to move out because we’re moving abroad. I am in doubt that she has tampered the clause and added in “To forfeit deposit if <12 months stay" without my acknowledgement. So, I need to know if a handwritten amendment without the 2 parties signing it is invalid.

    • Eva

      Dear 99.co,

      I would like to terminate my tenancy due to the unit is undergoing HIP soon.
      Trying to give Landlord 1.5mth notice.
      Here is my story. The tenancy is sign for 18mts from Mar’17 till Sep’18. After move in to the unit within a month received a HIP notice and never heard from the agent & the landlord before i take over the unit.
      During the HIP polling process and when going to start construction, landlord just keep it silent and without inform. I did call up to HIP to check when the construction going to start and know that my unit will going to start HIP on Apr or May’18. So i’m decide terminate my tenancy by end of Apr’18.
      May I know in this situation will my security deposit been forfeited?

    • Nicholas

      good day, would like to ask, my friend just signed a 2-year rental lease for a shophouse. Due to their decision to move to another location, they are looking to terminate the lease to facilitate the move.

      I have the following questions:
      1) should they choose to terminate the lease, what will be the compensation be like? the security deposit only or will it include the rental of the remaining months of the lease?

      2) and how should they go about?

      cheers and will appreciate a swift reply.


    • An shih


      I left my previous rented room in a HDB flat in Bishan. The landlord asked me to move out within 24 hours because I had breached some of the items mentioned in the agreement. I did, but he didnt return any part of the deposit I paid to him, even though there was zero damage done to the room. Now, he breached the agreement multiple times himself. Entering my room in my absence without notifying me, barging into my room and threatening to go downstairs and ‘settle it right now’, are a couple of things off the top of my head. So, my question to you is does he have the right to keep all the deposit when both the parties (tenant and landlord) have breached the agreement. The agent involved is obviously taking the landlord’s side. Is there anything I can do to claim at least some part of the deposit, as there was zero damage to the property?

    • Marvelous post together with great recommendations! This place is very practical and used in us. Thanks for selling valuable material.

    • I’m an expat and have been in Singapore almost a year.
      I moved into a condo with a 2 year lease (with 1 year diplomatic clause) in May 2015 and also started a new job last month. Unfortunately the new job isn’t working out and it looks like I’ll be fired. I’m desperately looking for something else, but realistically I don’t think I’ll find anything in time.

      If I don’t find anything, I’ll be given 4 weeks to leave Singapore, so will have to break the tenancy contract. I’ve asked the agent to inform the landlord to find out what to do in this situation but haven’t heard back yet and am getting worried.

      I’ve read posts where tenants have been required to pay until the 14 month diplomatic clause – but if I’m unemployed and have to leave Singapore, how am I going to do this? (I’ll have another 8 months before my diplomatic clause can be used and there’s no way I can afford to pay this!)

      Does anyone else have experience of this or advice on what I can do?

    • Jo

      Hi, my partner and I have signed the lease agreement paid security deposit on the day we visited the house and confirmed the lease. However, one day later saw a turn of events – her father was admitted to the hospital and required long term care, thus we decided to withdraw the rental to stay with her dad at his home. In this case, even though we have not moved in to the new place, our agent confirmed that the deposit is non-refundable. Although we have signed the contract, can we still request for full or at least partial refund of deposit?

    • Bella

      Good afternoon,

      I have a prospective tenant that said he is making $10,000 a month. I asked him for 1.5 months security deposit and he said he will pay 1 month in November and then the 0.5 months in March because he wants to pay school fees in January. This sounds suspicious to me. Should I listen to my suspicion and say no to him? My worry is he will keep coming up with excuses to not pay rent or delay paying rent.

    • SY

      If tenant is just renting 1 of the rooms to a 4 room flat, does the term “flat” adequate in the tenancy agreement covers agreement including the room? as land lord do we need draft tenancy agreement for a room or a flat rental?

    • Ash

      Hi if I need to terminate the contract 1 month before completion that is by the 11th month on a 12 month contract, is there a way I can do that and get the deposit back?

    • Oon

      Hi there,

      I signed a two years contract with my landlord through an agent. After staying for four months, landlord informed us that they are selling off the unit due to some financial situation. Does this considered a breach of contract?

      Besides, as we know landlord is selling off the unit, hence we wanted to try to move out as soonest as possible, instead of waiting interested buyer to come in. However, the agent advise not to move out first. Is this correct?

      Please advise.

    • Maple

      In my contract, there is a list that need to be done by Landlord, such as replace mattress , and so on. But the landlord havn’t done anything in the list yet. My contract will be due at the end of the June. So what can I do?

    • Winter Loy

      If after signing the lease and paying the rental deposit, but before stamping the document, the landlord starts introducing new terms and proposes charging more, how can I get my rental deposit back?

    • priya

      I had a normal A4 paper rental agreement (not sure if its legal as i can not see any STAMP on it) for one room with my landlord for 6 months in condo. I have to vacant the room in 5 months as I have to leave the country due to my EP cancellation.

      My owner mentioned one clause : tenant pays one month deposit of $xxx to landlord upon signing the contract, deposit shall be refunded on expiry date of the agreement. deposit can not be offset final month rent, deposit will also be forfeited if tenant does not pay rent.

      When I informed her, that i dont have option and leave the country, i notified 40 days in advance. still she is not ready to understand my situation and keeping my deposit as penalty.

      Please help me to know the rules and regulations if its legal or she is simply taking advantage of foreign tenants.

    • Srinivasan

      I am tenant in HDB. for last three years,i am paying my agent fee. I am planning to deal with house owner agent directly. Is there any rule/clause that i should do renewal via the same agent when i rented house.

    • Alwynn

      Hello there.
      We have been renting a condo since 1 Nov last year. We’ve been a good tenant — rent is always paid on time, and there’s no issue with the space, save one: when we moved in, my Mother asked the agent to ask the landlord if we can clean the aircon ourselves monthly, rather than hire an aircon servicing agent, while providing the final chemical clean. We received no response, so we continued as we were. The space is a 1 year + 1 year tenancy agreement.

      Now, two weeks before the 10 month mark, at 11pm, the agent texted us 1. If we would like to renew, and 2. To arrange for a visit. Within 5 minutes of each other. In the contract, the request must be submitted by the 10 month mark, and the landlord cannot bring anyone in the view the space until after the 10 month mark. They have clearly broken the contract as well. When we replied the affirmative to (1), we were informed that the landlord would not like to renew the lease, because, we quote, “he did not like that we didn’t service the aircon”, without informing us that, actually, he did not like our proposal. Furthermore, the agent in the phone call (at midnight no less) repeatedly lied to us regarding the purpose of the visit, saying it is for prospective rental tenants, then saying the owner is coming for an “inspection”, then saying it is for a viewing again.

      We are very confused as to how best to move forward. We would like to continue the lease for another 3-6months, but if untenable, we would like to lodge a complaint for the way we were treated during this period of time, including a breach of contract on the landlord’s side. (Small claims?)

    • Mae Yang Kwok

      Hi There!

      Thank you for running such great blog. We are early terminating our two year contract after 12months of stay. Even though there’s no early termination clause in the TA and the diplomatic clause doesn’t apply, we expected the deposit to be forfeited and are ready to pay the pro-rated commission he paid his agent. We find it fair. But landlord asks for additional month of rent for penalty of early termination. Also he wants us to thorough clean everything, including dry clean of the curtain.
      Does the landlord have a legal ground to request the additional one month of rent for penalty in addition to the deposit forfeited? Do we still need to hire professional cleaners to clean the place or the cleaning cost should be covered the deposit forfeited?

      Many thanks for your help in advance!


    • Lau

      I am looking for a one year lease. Do we need to inform the agent What are the terms we are looking for in a TA (e.g. termination clauses) when we offer the owner before the LOI is issued?

    • yeo

      Hi there,
      I am currently in a dispute with a Mall.
      i have signed the LOI and they accepted it along with my deposit amounting to one month rental. Subsequently, they prepared the letter of offer. along the way, i realised many things not in favor of my business and i decided to withdraw, they ask for a meet up in lieu of forfeiting my deposit as the deadline to return the Letter of Offer is nearing. I went down on the last day of the submission deadline and after a lengthy discussion, all parties agreed verbally that the Letter was to be on hold. They assured me they will not submit till i have clarified all terms n conditions stipulated and i left. Now they want take action against me.
      1. i have not paid the security deposit of 3 months
      2. i have not paid the stamp duty and legal fees for the TA
      3. i have not signed any TA
      4. all the have is the signed copy of the Letter of Offer which was promised not to be submitted till i give the green light.

      i currently request for them to return the Signed copies and they told me they will not and they want submit to management for persual.

      Please advise how can i resolve this.

    • Kar

      Hi, We have rented a unit for 2 years and it is ending on December 2019. We have some commitment to which we have to leave the country at the end of November. We had requested the landlord the following:

      1. We found another unit and moving in the month of 20th November 2019.
      2. We paid advances and the partial rent to the new landlord.
      3. With the current landlord where we are staying, we had requested him to adjust the deposit of 2 months which we have paid as rental advance.
      4. The reason we had requested because we had to pay 2 months rental advance to the new landlord and also the partial rental for the month of November 2019 and the full month of Rental for the month of December 2019.
      5. The landlord is denying that he cannot adjust or offset the rental deposit (2 months) for the 2 months rental for November and December 2019 even though we are handovering the unit in the month of November 2019.
      6. Is the painting of the home is part of the tenant or not? ( As my understanding that if we stay more than 1 year, it is not necessary for the tenant to repaint the home) and kind note, we had stayed for 2 years.
      7. What are the other possible repairs we are liable for?

      Can you kindly advise on the above and it is really appreciated.

      Kind Regards,

    • Santini

      Hi There,

      Good day. I currently staying in one of the flats and my LL daughter has been promising to provide me the TA until to date. Im now on my fifth month and I had taken this place for 6th Month and I will extend another 6 Months if everything is fine. My LL daughter is currently in overseas. The question is should I keep on staying there since I dont have a TA and I had pay 1 month Deposit and 1 month rental. Please advise.

    • John

      Hi, I am renting a room in HDB flat. My TA is two years and there is no clause for early termination by the tenants in the contract. I have already completed 18 months but due to personal reason, I need to terminate early. I gave 2 months notice but the landlord refuses to accept and demand full rental for remaining months. May I know if there is any common law regarding early termination of TA in the event that there is nothing written? How should I negotiate with the landlord?
      Thanks a lot!

    • Rushi


      I have signed a contract for 2 years lease. And already paid 2 months deposit. But the landlord is now refusing to have house cleaned before I move in. We haven’t taken the keys yet. How much penalty I will have to bear?

      • Rushi

        I mean we decide to terminate the agreement before taking the keys.

    • JW


      I would like to terminate my contract early. However there is a clause in the tenancy agreement stating this ” In the event of early termination by the tenant, the tentant must compensate to the land lord the rental amount of balance months of lease terms. Alternatively the tentant can also find another replacement at the same or higher rent. ” If this is the case, what am I suppose to do so that I do not have to pay the balance months of the lease terms?
      Please help. Thank you so much.

    • Mervyn

      Hi, I would like to draft and execute my own tenancy agreement with my tenant’s spouse when the current lease expires as I want to avoid paying a hefty renewal fee to the agency. Ultimately, the onus is on me to renegotiate the terms of the tenancy. Is this allowed? My TA with the agent does not mention anything about renting to the same household under a new agreement. All it states is that renewal of the agreement will be at the same rent and subject to 1 month fee payable (per year of lease) to the agency.

    • Mervyn

      HI, I would like to draft a new TA on my own but rent it out to my current tenant when the TA expires. TA to be sign with current tenant’s spouse. Primary purpose is avoid paying agent a 1mth fee per year of lease as I find it too high. Will this be considered a renewal?

    • LIN

      I have a property rented out. Is it legal for landlord to hold a set of property’s key ? Just like, hotel, the property owner holds the keys for every rooms though it is occupied.

      Thankyou and best regards


      I am holing an Employment pass and I am in contract for one year rental with approved HDB residance at Bukit Batok area.
      Due to COVID-19 effect, the client project is effected and my deputation to Singapore being closed pre-maturely and I need to fly back to my country (India).
      I have to pre-close the rental contract after paying 6 months rental duration.
      The rental contract do not hold a diplomatic clause, and the owner expecting the rental balance for next six months.
      As this is an unplanned exit and is due to COVID-19 counter effect, can I have some protection for paying the six months rent for which I am not going to stay in Singapore.
      As I am a salaried person and do not have any more salary in Singapore post my exit, I do not have any means to pay such huge amount.
      Seeking for suggestion, how I can be protected.

    • April

      I have a tenancy agreement that is not in my favour, even in a fair sense. The tenancy agreement drafted by my agent allows me to add “Additional Terms”, provided that they do not “conflict with, vary or otherwise limit the prescribed terms”. How do I get the tenancy agreement amended such that I can make it more fair? Right now, the only remaining option I can see is to terminate them which places me also at a loss as my agent also has an exclusive contract with me such that I cannot secure my own tenant without paying him commission even though he would have done no work.

    • Gautam

      Dear Adam,

      I’m new to Singapore and wish to know: is it standard for service contract for the ACs in an apartment to borne by the tenant? This is what my agent has told me suggesting there’s no room for discussion. Please advice me on this.

    • Rob Colligan

      Hi guys and thank you for a good article. My wife and I are being forced to leave Singapore due to redundancy and our Expat Clause has kicked in. We have paid up to October 17th as per the Lease Agreement, but are leaving September 4th. We’ve just discovered that the new tenants are moving in on October 1st, and we have suggested to the landlord that we should only have to pay rent up to September 30th.

      They have refused to accept this.

      Effectively, they are being paid twice for the property for 17 days, and we feel this cannot be legal.

      Your thoughts?

    • Amanda

      Hi, my roommate has not refunded my deposit even though I have paid up till date when I moved out of the room earlier. However the rental agreement was a verbal agreement between me and my roommate (main tenant is her sister who rented the place). May I know how can I proceed from this?

    • JL


      I have 2 months left of rental to pay, can my rental deposit be used to cover it and i immediately terminate the contract?

    • Michelle

      I just renewed my TA for 2 years. My landlady engaged a law firm instead of estate agent.
      Can you please advise who is paying for the “drafting of the tenancy agreement”?

      Thank you,

    • Manu

      Hi, I am a tenant and got my current 2 bedroom HDB apartment through an agent (not from owner) and paid him half month fees with GST during my first time tenure. Now, I would like to continue in same apartment and will extend my tenancy agreement with Owner. Do I still need to pay my agent who has shown me this house? If yes, what percentage? I have heard there shouldn’t be any liability as per SG government.
      PS: Owner’s agent is different and he is liaising with us and we need not to pay him as he is from owner’s side.

    • Marcus Ng


      I encountered a situation where my tenancy agreement has expired and due to my personal reason, I have to move out in 3 weeks. The landlord said that he has the right to deduct my deposit until next new tenant is coming in (or 2 months rental deduction due to 2 months notice is required as stated in expired tenancy agreement).

      The question is the expired tenancy agreement still takes effect even though it has expired?

      Thank you.

    • Doreen

      Hi Jamal, by any chance, the agent would ask to pay 1 month deposit to secure and view the room? I do not want to secure it before viewing and afraid of it might be a scam. Since they ask for personal details like profession, name, ic no. , etc.

    • Kris

      I have a question regarding security deposit under tenancy agreement what the landlord cannot do with the security deposit ?

    • Rin

      Hi there, I have a question.

      The landlord took a deposit to secure the space, however the TA was not signed as what the agent said verbally did not match with TA at all.

      Now the agent is avoiding messages and phone calls and refuse to return the deposit even though it was mentioned that tenant will not be proceeding with the signing of the TA.

      What should be done next? Any suggestions are welcome, thanks! 🙂

      • You might want to check the Letter of Intent first, as it should state what would happen to the deposit if the deal falls through. In this case, since the TA doesn’t match with what you have agreed on, the typical practise is that the deposit should be refunded back to you. For more info, check out this article https://www.99.co/singapore/insider/property-jargon-of-the-day-letter-of-intent-loi/
        Alternatively, you might want to try going to the Small Claims Tribunal to claim the deposit.

    • Sari

      Hi – my landlord has not returned the security deposit more than 45 days after lease ended. The contract states landlord should return within 14 days, and now they are claiming damages to the property but all the receipts for repairs are dated 30 days after our lease ended, can they claim damages so late? By right my deposit should have been refunded before then since all the receipts for fixing damages are dated after that 14 day period.

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