World of Tenancy Agreements
It is crucial that tenants understand the basic components of a rental or tenancy agreement. All that legalese in the contract will detail what you are responsible for, how long you are committing to stay and much more. Leases and rental agreements are legal documents that outline the expectations and responsibilities of the tenant and the landlord or property manager. While the terms “tenancy” and “rental agreement” may be used interchangeably, they have different objectives and durations.
A tenancy agreement, sometimes called a rental agreement, is a contract that specifies a long-term rental period. That means the landlord cannot rent the property to someone else and the tenant is responsible for the monthly rental fees until the lease expires. These typically require 30 days’ notice from both tenant and landlord if it will not be renewed. This is the more stable housing option for both parties.
The minimum rental period in Singapore is 3 months. The downside of short-term rentals is that the landlord can rent the property to someone else once that agreement expires, giving you little notice to vacate. But it could be the best option for those who may relocate or change housing options frequently.
Names of tenants
This lists all adult members living in the residence and makes them legally responsible for maintaining the lease’s terms.
Identification of premises
This states the rental’s street address and may specify what is included with the agreement, such as a designated parking space or furniture.
This verifies the duration of the rental period. A standard lease will outline a beginning and ending date (typically lasting from one year to two years). Termination before the ending date is prohibited unless for a reason outlined in the lease or law (eg. Diplomatic Clause). Otherwise, you will pay a penalty, which should be detailed in this section.
Rent payments and other fees
This confirms the exact amount you have to pay each month. The agreement should also specify when rent is due and how it should be submitted. Check to see if online payment is an option. Other fees such as security deposits and damage fees must also be outlined here.
Limits on occupancy
This may include limiting the tenancy to residential use (as opposed to it being used as a business or other commercial space) and specifying the number of people who can live in the unit. There may also be restrictions on who can stay overnight. URA limits the maximum number of unrelated people who can live in the unit is six. For HDB flats, the maximum subtenants allowed for a three-room unit and a four-room or bigger unit remains unchanged at six and nine, respectively.
Some agreements have limits on, or specifically prohibit, tenants from renting to others, also known as subletting.
Information about pets
If pets are allowed, this should be indicated in the document; along with the deposit required should there be animal-related damage to the property.
List of utilities
This should specify what, if any, utilities such as water and electricity are included in the cost of rent.
Process for requests
This should include whom to contact for maintenance or other issues, as well as the request process. Make sure this includes specific contact information and a clear statement of your responsibilities. In most cases, your Ping Property Manager will be your contact person for any issue.
Right of entry
This states when and under what circumstances a landlord can enter the premises. It may spell out access for scheduled maintenance.
Make sure it is in writing: If a detail is not included in your lease, it is not legally binding. So if you have asked for any exceptions, be sure they are all included before you sign.
Confirm the rental lease dates: Ensure that the rental period dates are correct. There are countless stories about tenants signing a two-year lease, thinking it was only for one. It is a legal agreement once signed, and you are responsible for reviewing all of its contents.
Know the cost of breaking your lease: Things happen, so it is important to understand what financial penalties you will incur if you need to break your lease. The tenancy agreement states that landlords may charge you a fee for breaking a lease, such as compensation of fees paid to agents and outstanding rental unpaid.
If you still have concerns: If this is your first lease or there are things you are uncertain about, it might be worth paying an solicitor to review it with you before you sign.