Woman pays $10k deposit to rent Woodlands flat, finds out it has already been leased out

The New Paper
Mar 13, 2023

A woman paid a five-figure deposit to rent a unit in Woodlands, but found out a month later that the flat had been leased to someone else instead. 

According to Lianhe Zaobao, Jin Yan, 36, had signed a lease for a four-room unit at Block 845 Woodlands Street 32 for $3,300 a month, for a period of two years. 

Yan said she paid a deposit of $10,216, which included three months’ rent and additional taxes. Her move-in date was slated for Feb 15. 

But she did not end up moving in on that day, because her landlord told her she was overseas. 

The following day, the landlord informed her she was hospitalised. 

Yan said she “didn’t think too much about it, and compromised,” agreeing to receive her keys on Feb 28 instead. 

It was only when she was sorting the utility bill for the flat did she realise her landlord had leased the flat to another tenant, who had already moved in on Feb 10. 

She confronted the landlord, who agreed to return the deposit on March 1, but failed to do so. 

“The contract has been signed. How could the landlord rent it to other people, forcing us to temporarily live in a friend's house?” Yan said. 

When Yan visited the landlord's workplace to seek a resolution, the latter allegedly sent a text message saying she would return the money on March 10.

"If you are dissatisfied, you can call the police to deal with it", read the message.

Yan said the deposit was never paid, and the landlord became uncontactable.

She has since lodged a police report, and intends to file a claim in the Small Claims Tribunal. She is also considering hiring a debt collector. 

According to a reporter from Lianhe Zaobao who visited the rental unit, the tenants there were unaware their landlord had committed to renting the place to someone else.

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