Generally, the landlords increase the rent in Singapore when the tenancy agreement ends or gets revised.
However, the laws are mostly pro landlords and entitle them to ask for a raise if the current rent is below the average in the market.
Ideally, there should be a logical justification about the rent increase, like a hike in property tax or adding of a mutually agreed amenities or feature to the property, and a good landlord always provides heads up that does not lead to any disagreement or discord.
The best option for a tenant to work such a situation is to negotiate with the landlord. If one has a cordial relationship with the landlord, a deal can be made with minimal or no increase.
In spite of all the sweet-talk, a tenant may get a rude and sudden demand to increase the rent and in most cases, such situations result in either early termination of the tenancy agreement or a compromise by the tenant to give in to the new terms.
One such incident happened with Scott when his landlord started quoting inflated rental benchmarks and demanded to raise the rent twice in six months of renting.
Scott sympathized with him and agreed to the demand of increasing the rent initially but soon realized that he made a mistake and a greedy landlord was just ripping him off when the second rent raise demand came forth after a month.
Money grabbing schemes
“While I agreed to his demands only a month back, he started lamenting about the forecasted growth of the rental market and how much monthly loss he is incurring by letting out his place at such a lower rent!”
Excerpt from the interview with Scott Hughes.
Scott – It was a great place for me, perfect little corner flat in Fort Road, which was near the East Coast Park and a short commute to my workplace. I have earlier stayed near Upper East Coast but thought of moving near the CBD and chose to live in a smaller place at the same rent.
I never negotiated the rent and signed a year-long agreement, paid everything as per the rules every month, without any failure.
Then suddenly after three months, the landlord sent me a WhatsApp note, an article from a popular news agency that mentioned that rental market in Singapore is moving northward and the landlords can expect more from the market in the forthcoming months.
He also added a note saying that he might have made a mistake quoting me less rent and he would expect me to pay extra from next month onwards.
It was a bit confusing since I did not want to increase my monthly real estate expenses but I really liked the new place and wanted to have a long-term stay. I obliged to his demands.
Truuue – Did you sign a new agreement?
Scott – No. I had to pay stamp duty and did not want to spend much time thinking about it. I guess, I really wanted to continue my stay in that place without much fuss.
Truuue – That was a mistake. Did your landlord ask for a new agreement?
Scott – No. He did not. I realized I made a huge mistake in within one month. My landlord started sending me more news and forecasts about the property price increase and the upswing of the market.
He mentioned he felt that the rent is still not sufficient and if he would have rented it to new tenant., he would have got at least 10% extra to the rent that I was paying.
I tried to be reasonable and showed him the neighbouring units that were available at even lesser rent.
Also mentioned that I paid my rents on time and took good care of the place. I also offered to sign a new agreement for two years with higher rent and no change in rent during this period. That would have also saved me from any rent hike problem in the future.
But he insisted that his property is better since it was on the higher floor and a corner unit with a better view, etc. and he declined any change in agreement for an extended period.
“He made me sound really desperate and finally, I decided that I better leave.”
After a few weeks of me leaving that place, there were new cooling measures and some slowdown in the property market. I guess his unit is still up for rent at a higher price than the market standard.
I got an equally decent place in an adjacent building and I am really happy with my new landlord. We signed a contract and I clarified all the points and made sure there will be no unjustified demands of rent increase and harassment.
Seeking a suitable place for rent in Singapore is not just difficult, it can be dangerous too at times.
We at TRUUUE Tenant (also known as TRUrental Tenant) are committed to delivering the best experience suited for both landlord and tenant while they rent in Singapore. We care about all the parties in the property transaction; we always aim for the WIN-WIN outcome. As you are reading this, our team is working relentlessly to find a suitable solution for these issues. To know more about our mission, follow us and download our app. Enjoy peace of mind for your next rental!