By Property Hunter
clock 10-05-2022
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Dealing With Difficult Tenants? What Are Your Legal Rights?

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Being a landlord often involves much more than just providing a home for tenants. It often involves managing a property, dealing with difficult tenants, and finding a way to make a house a home. But, with a little research and hard work, you can become a smart and wise landlord. 


Here are some tips and guidelines that can help you with your property management skills as a landlord.



What is force majeure and can tenants rely on force majeure to suspend rental payment or terminate a tenancy?



A force majeure occurs when one of the parties to a contract is unable to perform its obligations. Both tenants and landlords must come to an understanding of the details of the force majeure in the tenancy agreement if there is one stated.



The term is commonly used in the insurance industry and is defined as an event that the parties could not have reasonably foreseen or expected to occur. For example, natural disasters, fires, acts of God, war, strikes and such. of the Majeure 



The "force majeure" clause will give guidelines to parties on what to do in the event of a force majeure event. Such as suspension of rental for such duration, and termination of tenancy.



A tenant cannot insist on the rental deduction if there’s no "force majeure" clause or cannot invoke frustration as there is no law stating the landlord must do so. However, parties are always encouraged to negotiate. 



Landlords are encouraged to consider such factors:





  1. Long-term relationship with the tenant


  2. Difficulty in finding alternative tenants in this climate


  3. Arranging for deferment of rent payment to a later period, instead of a deduction


  4. Arranging for an extension of the tenancy period




Recovering vacant possession



According to Section 7 (1) &(2) of the Specific Relief Act, a person entitled to the possession of a specific immovable property may recover it in the manner prescribed by the law relating to civil procedure. Where a specific immovable property has been let under a tenancy, and that tenancy is determined or has come to an end, but the occupier continues to remain in occupation of the property or part thereof, the person entitled to the possession of the property shall not enforce his right to recover it against the occupier otherwise than by proceedings in the court.



Therefore, in the case of a tenant still refusing to pay their rent, a landlord does not have the right to force entry of the premises, including changing the locks of the property or even moving out the tenants’ belongings. 



If the tenants do not give a satisfactory reason for not paying the rent, the landlord can then apply to the court for a Writ of Summons. The court must then decide if the landlord is entitled to the possession of the property.



How can the landlord be compensated for the delay in refusing to vacate the premises?



Landlords can claim double rent under Section 28(4) (a) of the Civil Law Act 1956 if in the case the tenant decides to continue to occupy premises after the tenancy has been terminated.



The objective of the double-rent provision is to enable the landlord to recover damages for losses suffered.



What are the essential terms which must be inserted in a tenancy agreement? 



In addition to the basic terms of the tenancy agreement, the following terms should be inserted to protect the interests of both the parties:





  1. Rental Payment, including the method of payment & the deadline to pay every month


  2. Period of the Tenancy


  3. Rental and Utility Deposits




Landlords must also be aware of these terms:





  1. The tenant has to maintain any fixtures or fittings in the premises in good condition


  2. Whether the tenant is allowed to make alterations or additions to the premises, and if so, what are the limits and should there be prior consultation with the landlord?


  3. The tenant is prohibited to use the premises for other purposes e.g.: a residential home used for commercial activity.




Exercising the right ways and measures to deal with the difficult tenants will help ease problems or future headaches. 



For more information or tips on how to deal with tenants and your legal rights, head to Property Hunter’s Facebook page to watch Roger Chin give the best legal advice at https://fb.watch/cVzz7_o0_c/






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