Breaching of Tenancy Agreement – What You Must Know
Generally, landlords and their tenants would not have much problem with each other as a well written tenancy agreement would have covered possible areas of friction under its terms and conditions. However, in some cases, when disputes arise, it may lead to an early termination of tenancy.
Termination of Contract
For early termination of the contract by the landlord, the landlord may have to forfeit the security deposit. That is, the security deposit that is given by the tenant when the tenancy agreement is signed. It is typically equal to one or more months of the rental, depending on the period of the lease.
The security deposit is given to protect the landlord in the event that the tenant breaks or violates the terms of the lease or rental agreement. It may also be used to cover any damages to the property, cleaning and other contingencies during the tenancy period.
Under normal circumstances, when the contract expires as agreed in the agreement, the landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant. The final sum to be returned is subjected to any applicable costs or necessary deductions to be made to the security deposit.
If the tenant is the one who breaks the rental agreement, the landlord have the right to withhold the security deposit and may even demand additional compensation as a result.
For Tenant Who Wants to End the Lease Earlier
For tenant who would like to end the lease earlier than stated in the agreement, he or she should notify the landlord in advance. This would allow time for the landlord to make plans during the tenant’s transition out of the property. This notice period usually is 1 to 2 months.
Even if the tenant plans to surrender the rental lease, he or she should seek the written consent of the landlord. Take note that as the landlord is not obliged to accept the surrender of the lease by the tenant and may request for monetary compensation as a result.
Adding Diplomatic Clause To the Agreement
For tenant who is likely to be posted overseas for work at certain point in time, it is advisable that a “Diplomatic and Reimbursement Clause” is added into the tenancy agreement before the lease begins. This is applicable in the scenario of a high likelihood of an overseas posting, or for an expatriate living in Singapore who may be called back to the home country at a short notice.
This clause would allow the tenant to terminate the rental lease prematurely in the event that he or she has to leave Singapore for work. This is subjected to a minimum notice period and having fulfilled a minimum occupancy of six months. In the event that the tenant exercises the clause, the landlord may demand that the tenant reimburses a pro-rated amount of the rental agent’s commission, if applicable.
Landlord Can End the Lease Early Too!
Similarly, landlords are also entitled to terminate the tenancy agreement prematurely – even though it is relatively uncommon for landlords to do so.
There are two situations in which this may happen.
In the first situation, the landlord might wish to terminate the tenancy agreement due to personal reasons. This is by no fault of the tenant. Unless there is an early termination clause written in the original agreement, it is still legal for the tenant to reside in the property until the lease expires.
Thus, the onus would be on the landlord to make sure that the tenant is properly compensated for the early termination. If the tenant is not properly compensated, after a wrongful eviction occurs, the tenant could have strong grounds to pursue a case with the Small Claims Tribunal – provided that the original lease is two years or less.
In the second situation, the owner may choose to terminate the rental lease early if the tenant has breached any terms of the agreement – the most common would be failure to pay rent. Given that the tenant has been unable to fulfill the specific obligation in the agreement, the landlord can choose a range of options to compel the tenant to pay rent. These include forfeiting the agreement, re-possessing the premises and evicting the tenant.