Tenants disappear without a word, leaving AMK condo in a mess and 3 months' rent unpaid

The New Paper
Jan 8, 2024

The sofa was mouldy, a washbasin had a hole in it, and there was leftover food and garbage on the kitchen stove and sink. Glitter particles were also strewn over the floor and bed in one of the rooms. 

Such was the state of a four-bedroom condominium unit in Ang Mo Kio when the landlord made a visit recently.

What’s worse, the tenants had “disappeared” without having paid three months’ worth of rent, reported Shin Min Daily News.

The landlord, Ms Wang, said the apartment was in good condition before she leased it to a Spanish expat couple and their young daughter.

The 47-year-old music teacher sensed nothing amiss with the couple as they had stable jobs and valid employment passes until 2025. The tenant worked with a multinational company, his wife was a Spanish teacher at an international school and their  daughter studied at a school here. 

The couple signed a two-year lease with a monthly rent of $3,900 in August last year and moved in a month later. The transaction was completed with the help of a property agent named Ms Ma.

But soon after the one-month deposit was made and the contract was signed, the tenant started acting up.

Ms Wang claimed the man told her former tenants, who were still staying in the apartment at the time, to vacate promptly. He also asked for a new fridge, which she gave him. 

She told the Chinese evening daily that she considered withdrawing the lease but chose not to as she believed cultural differences were to blame for the tenant’s behaviour.

Months later, after learning from a neighbour that her tenants had not been seen for a while, she decided to pay a visit to the apartment and discovered the mess they left behind. She also claimed that the tenant had not paid rent in three months. 

She contacted Ms Ma, who found out that the tenant’s work pass had expired in September 2023, before the family moved in, and that they had to leave Singapore in October. 

Ms Ma, 57, then sent several WhatsApp messages to the tenant’s Spanish number, but he chose to ignore them. However, she said she received a missed call from him when she was asleep. Other than that, she has been unable to contact him.

Ms Wang lamented the incident, saying it was the first time in many years of leasing the property that it has happened to her. She said she plans to report the matter to the police.

She said: “Hopes of getting back the money owed are slim, but I hope my situation can serve as a warning to other landlords.” 

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