Q I rented out my property and I am having issues with my tenant. Can I get my agent to step in? Can I also ask my agent to manage my property for me?
A Typically, your property agent's responsibilities end after you sign the tenancy agreement with your tenant and hand over the property. Some agents may help to resolve landlord-tenant disputes out of goodwill but they are not obliged to do so.
To minimise friction with your tenant, set out the terms of the tenancy clearly in the tenancy agreement. Here are some useful clauses to include:
•Payment schedule for rental and deposit;
•Who pays for utilities, monthly maintenance, repair fees;
•Extent of the tenant's responsibility to upkeep the property.
You can check if your agent is willing to help manage your property during the tenancy term. If he is keen, set out the agreed terms in writing.
Also, while it is tempting to get your agent to help handle money matters related to the tenancy, there are some restrictions.
Agents can only handle certain monies in property transactions. For private property, these are the agent's commission, stamp duty fees, rental deposits, monthly rental and valuation fees, if applicable.
For Housing Board flats, the monies that agents can handle are only the agent's commission and stamp duty fees. Visit the Council for Estate Agencies' website for more information on this.
In facilitating rentals, your agent should advise you on your eligibility to rent out your property and ensure you have obtained and completed the necessary approvals and paperwork. If you are renting out your property to foreign tenants, your agent should assist to check that they are residing legally in Singapore.
It is also your responsibility as a landlord to check your tenant's immigration or employment documents. This is a requirement under the Immigration Act.
You can verify the validity of these documents at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Manpower's websites.
The CEA website has more tips on working effectively with a property agent.
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