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Posted by PropertyDirectSG on December 22, 2017
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Tell-Tale Signs That Your Rental Property May Be Used For Illegal Activities

Brothels and gambling dens are some of the illegal activities that have sprouted in rental property.  Landlords should always read on the tell-tale signs.


Here are some tell-tale signs that your rental property are being used for illegal activities:

  1. Sudden Spikes in Utilities Bill   (provided that the bill is under the landlord’s name)

This is one of the tell-tale signs that something odd is going on.

Though it is common for the utilities bills to fluctuate, keep a look out for significant increases in the bills over a 3 – 4 consecutive months.

If there is an increase of 20 – 30% or more, this could mean that there is a possibility of other occupier(s) staying in the rental property other than those stated in the tenancy agreement. You should check for things like illegal subletting. Alternatively, it could be a sign that an unlicensed business is being conducted within the property.


  1. Check with Security Guards

Security guards are often the first ones to notice something odd because other residents tend to complain to them first.


Another reason that they will notice is the number of visitors to your property increase. If your tenant is illegally subletting, security guards will also notice as they see there are new residents who do not have an access card. They are usually able to keep an eye on your property and drop you a message of odd happenings.


  1. From Time To Time, Google Your Rental Property Address

When it comes to illicit businesses, the address sometimes pops up online. A customer may blast about it on a forum or social media. For that reason, you might see your property address appearing online on illicit business websites.

  1. An Increase In The Need For Maintenance

If there is an overall increase in the need for maintenance, be on guard. It may be time for a proper inspection of your rental property. The higher maintenance could be due to a rise in the number of occupants.


  1. Be Friendly With Your Neighbours

Always be on good terms with your neighbours. If they do not know you, they will not be inclined to inform you when something odd is going on at your unit.


  1. During Inspections, Keep An Eye For The Following:

  • Discolouration of surfaces near the stove or oven.

This is an indication of over cooking that is done daily.


  • A fridge that is unusually packed given the number of occupants.

In usual circumstances, a single tenant or a couple would not have a fridge filled to the brim.


  • A massive collection of footwear and umbrellas.


  • Piles of extension cords with 12 different types of chargers plugged in.


  • Incongruent items


None of these are definite signs of illegal subletting – but they do give you a clue on whether you need to be wary. Just be on the safe side.


Happy Renting & Happy Seasons!


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