Security deposits are mandatory before renting any property. It is the insurance money a landlord keeps to offset any losses caused directly by the tenant. The tenant is liable to make the payment.
The tenancy agreement compels the landlord to repay the amount once the tenure expires or the tenant surrenders occupancy.
If you abide by the contract agreement and yet, your landlord refuses to refund the deposit, you have the law to assist you.
Steps to recover your security deposit
1. Landlords can deduct from the deposit if you incur any breach of the agreement. However, they must present evidence for their claims in receipts or invoices. They must state their reasons in writing to substantiate their deductions.
2. Suppose your landlord fails to substantiate their decision, and you believe you have complied with the tenancy agreement.
You can initiate a letter of demand through an attorney. It is easy and affordable.
The letter includes all the demands you expect your landlord to follow. If they fail to perform their duties, you can commit to legal actions.
Landlords often assume foreign nationals do not know their rights and can be misled. Letter of demand ensures they receive a notification regarding their end of the agreement.
3. You can move ahead to the Small Claims Tribunal if the letter of demand fails, or you cannot afford a lawyer.
Anyone can approach the Small Claims tribunal for a nominal fee and on their own.
However, you are eligible if your disputed security deposit amount is less than $20,000 and you are physically present in Singapore.
You cannot appeal
Generally, the tribunal reviews cases and orders the landlord to refund the deposit unless they find reasonable grounds.
You cannot appeal against their decision if you are dissatisfied.
You can also take your case to the Magistrate’s Court with the help of a lawyer. It can be an expensive and time-consuming route.
How to safeguard your deposit?
Before committing to a tenancy agreement, review the terms covering the refund of the security deposit. Clarify with your landlord before signing.
You should also inspect the property to ensure it does not have any existing damages.
Also, avoid breaching the terms of the agreement. Suppose you believe your landlord may unlawfully withhold your deposit.
In that case, you can delay your last month’s rent to leverage any losses.
Your Call to Action If you require more details and information, you can contact our expert landlord lawyers and legal advisors from Singapore by filling up the form on our website.