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Bad tenants: Know your rights as a landlord

IF you are renting your house and the tenant has not been paying rent, how do you make the person pay up? What if the tenant is a foreigner who has left the country, and worse still, what if your house is damaged or vandalised?

According to lawyer Nicole Ng of Messrs Elizabeth Siew & Co, as a landlord, if you have properly drafted a contract, you may be able to demand for late interest payment.

Ng said if they still did not pay on time, landlords had the right to terminate the contract.

“Even if tenants default by only eight days or so, you can actually terminate the contract. But the landlords don’t want to go through the trouble of taking action even if they have the right to do so,” she told NST Property.

Ng said to prevent tenants from vandalising your house, the contract must stipulate that you would inspect the unit from time to time to ensure that everything was in order.

She said this was necessary to ensure that the property remained in good condition at all times.

“You can forfeit the deposit if the house is badly kept. You can also take legal action and bring them to court to get all monies owed to you.”

Ng, however, advised landlords not to take legal action against foreign tenants who have left the country as it would be costly.

“It won’t be practical to go to court. What you should do prior to leasing the unit is, get a local guarantor for the foreign tenant. This way, if the foreign tenant defaults on rental and escapes, the local guarantor will be held responsible.”

Ng is one of the panellists for the forum entitled “Tenancy horror stories: Can technology be a solution?” which will be held at the first edition of the NSTP myRumah Property Showcase this weekend.