I was lounging next to my landlord, watching Game of Thrones together when a few raunchy scenes popped up on the screen (no surprise, but it was painfully awkward – like a child watching a kissing scene with his parents). While I was cringing away at the awkwardness, my landlord piped “Did you know the unit above us used to be an illegal brothel? Oh, and, I once had a tenant who happened to also be a porn star.”
“An illegal brothel? Wait, how did that happen?”
“Well, apparently the unit was leased out to this lady who then subleased it to a few foreigners. Neighbours reported seeing strange men entering the house in the middle of the night and leaving a couple hours later.”
“Oh my god, was the landlord aware of this?”
“No. She only found out after condo management contacted her.”
(Read to the end to find out what happened to the porn star.)
I decided to do my own little vice research on this topic and found out that illegal prostitution is actually quite common in Singapore. In an article titled “Woman disgusted her flat was turned into brothel”, a landlord was shocked to find her house in a filthy state, with condoms and sex toys strewn around the unit. Other than the unusable and sullied state of her mattresses, the bigger concern was that illegal activities were conducted without her knowledge despite her due diligence in checking the tenant’s S pass and profile.
So what could you do as a landlord looking to put your house for rent in Singapore to prevent this from happening to you? Here’s what we think.
Make random checks to your property
Making unannounced visits can prevent/detect unlawful activities. There is no time to cover up any mistakes or activities.
Get your neighbours to help you look out
A good neighbour is not just one who doesn’t put a password on their Wifi. A REALLY good neighbour is one who will help you keep a watch on your house.
Installing a cctv at the main door to check activity
Installing a CCTV inside the house crosses the line of privacy. But installing a CCTV outside the house is acceptable and allows you to monitor the activities happening in the house. You can always make a smart guess based on the following:
- Time of the day
- Age group of visitors
- Whether the visitors are familiar faces or complete strangers
- Length of time spent in the house
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In case you were wondering about the porn star, my landlord told me that he was doing a profile search on his tenant and realised that she had a stage name. So when he tried looking for her via her stage name, images of her in her birthday suit appeared on a few porn sites. He had always thought that she was a model all along. Guess she found something better!