LOI and TA must haves
- Tenant’s personal details. Note that harboring illegals, so-called overstayers, in the rented premises is an offense punishable by law.
- Landlord’s personal details
- Lease term/option to extend. The lease can be extended for the same duration if you and your landlord agree to do so. If you wish to extend, two month's advance notice is pretty much the norm. However, the rent may vary depending on the market price that's prevalent at the time of the lease expiry.
- Payment terms – Rental amount, due date and preferred mode of payment.
TIP: I suggest you pay the rent monthly as opposed to quarterly or in one year's worth lump sum. The latter may be more convenient, but it also means you'll have no leverage left in the event the landlord doesn't comply with the TA's regulations.
- Security deposit. The amount of security deposit that needs to be paid. (Click here if you're having deposit issues with your landlord)
- Maintenance issues. you are responsible for maintaining the premises, i.e. for carrying out minor repairs at your costs. What constitutes minor repairs? Usually anything below S$ 150,-. Make sure you are both on the same page here though, because some landlords mean this S$150 clause to imply that if a repair costs in excess of S$150,- you need to ante up the first S$ 150,- and he will top up the rest.
- Diplomatic clause also known as Escape or Expatriate clause or Repatriate Clause or Reimbursement Clause. This offers you protection against undue losses for you in the event your employment is halted or you are transferred overseas. In general terms it means that you can terminate the lease after 12 months by giving 2 months' notice upon which your security deposit will be refunded. However, note that this clause only applies where the lease term is more than one year.
TIP: Always make sure that the diplomatic clause is carried over into the new TA when you are extending your lease.
- Termination of lease. This means that a Diplomatic/Expatriate Clause is stated, and sometimes a reimbursement clause will be added. When the Diplomatic/Expatriate Clause with a reimbursement clause is exercised, tenants have to reimburse part of the commission (pro-rated to the remainder of the lease term).
- Furnishing. Is the property partially or fully furnished or not furnished at all? What's the furniture's condition like? It's best to make note of this.
TIP: Take pictures to document any damages to the property before you move in, so you can compare and contrast the state of the furnishings when your lease has come to an end.
TIP: If you like to prepare your own meals, double-check that the kitchen has an oven, because these are not that common in Singapore
- Subletting. If you are intending to sublet one or more rooms, this should be stated explicitly.
- Pets. If you are bringing a pet with you, this should be clearly stated.
- Air-con servicing. You are responsible for servicing the air-conditioning units. The service period frequency is usually four times per year or thrice per year.
- N-bloc or Enbloc. This clause benefits the landlord, since it offers him protection against early termination of the lease in the form of financial compensation by you, due to the apartment complex being sold in a collective sale, an Enbloc. In other words, if you are renting an older condo, try to negotiate out this clause or you could end up out of pocket if and when you are evicted within the lease term as part of the Enbloc process.
- Request to have the property cleaned thoroughly before you move in, perhaps followed by a new coat of paint if you deem this necessary.
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Bayshore Park Eastern View