Woman & her son spend night in stairwell after landlord locks them out of Yishun flat

The landlord claims the tenant agreed to terminate the lease in late March.

Nigel Chua | April 08, 2022, 07:48 PM

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After less than a month of moving into their rented flat, a pair of mother and son found themselves spending a night in the stairwell outside the flat after their landlord locked them out.

The mother, a woman surnamed Yu, shared her story with Shin Min Daily News (SMDN), denying the landlord's claims that the contract was terminated by mutual agreement.

Year-long lease agreement

51-year-old Yu is in Singapore accompanying her son, who studies here.

She says she found the flat online, and signed a year-long lease agreement for the four-room apartment in Yishun, at the rate of S$2,600 per month.

The lease was to start on Apr. 1, but Yu told SMDN that the landlord agreed to let them move in earlier, from Mar. 20.

However, on Mar. 24 and 25, the husband-and-wife owners of the unit arranged for potential tenants to view the unit, which she found to be highly puzzling, Yu told SMDN.

Notice pasted on door

Then, in the morning on Apr. 7, Yu realised that the water and electricity supply in the unit had been cut off.

She also found a notice instructing her to move out of the unit by Apr. 7.

"If you don't comply, be prepared to deal with the consequences," said the notice.

Photo via SMDN.

"Ms. ▉▉▉:

You have already received our lawyer's letter. 

Please move out of the unit before Apr. 7.

This is a reminder. If you don't comply, be prepared to deal with the consequences."

She then went out to buy food that afternoon, returning 15 minutes later to find that she had been locked out of the unit by the owner, who had placed a new lock on the main door.

Despite calling the police, who came down to the scene to try and mediate between both parties, Yu was not able to get back into the unit.

After making a report at the police station, she had nowhere to go and spent the night in a stairwell.

The police confirmed to SMDN that officers responded to a call for help at around 1:13pm on Apr. 7.

They said that officers offered their suggestions to the parties at the scene, and that no further assistance was required.

Woman suspects landlord unhappy over use of space

Yu said she suspects that the landlord was unhappy over the use of space in the unit.

She says that the contract was to lease the entire unit, though the owner kept one bedroom locked up.

Yu also requested the owners to clear up their items in the living room and kitchen, as she wanted to make use of these spaces. However, Yu says that the owners did not do so.

She also recalled that the owner had once made comments on the amount of luggage she had, though she also pointed out that she had "just six luggages and a few cardboard boxes of daily necessities" for her and her son.

Their items, Yu added, were all kept in the bedroom.

Landlord claims tenant sought termination in March

A lawyer's letter sent on behalf of the landlord paints a different picture of what happened, however.

The letter, dated Mar. 31, apparently said the tenant asked for the tenancy agreement to be terminated on Mar. 23.

The letter also stated that Yu had cancelled her application to have the unit's utility bills paid through her account, sometime before Mar. 25.

Based on the above, the lawyer's letter said that the contract was "terminated by mutual agreement" on Mar. 25, at the latest.

It also said the tenant had committed "serious violations" of the tenant's code of conduct, including causing nuisance to the owners, and that she was being given seven days' notice to move out.

The letter listed six examples of such violations, such as making threats to get the owners to leave, taking liberties to deal with furniture in the unit, threatening to withhold rental payments, and behaving rudely.

Tenant hopes to be given two months

Yu denies that she terminated the lease agreement.

She also explained that she cancelled the utilities application as the owners had invited other potential tenants to view the house, which led her to think she would only be able to live there for about two more months.

Yu said it was not easy to rent a house, and hoped to be given two months to find a place to live.

She also said she had already made the S$2,600 rental payment to the owners, for the month of April.

SMDN was unable to reach the landlord for this story.

Top image via SMDN

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