Singapore favours landlords

June 23, 2006

Singapore luxury homesSingaporean institutions are PRO-LANDLORD.

There is no comprehensive law governing landlord and tenant relations, everything depends upon the contract.

Rent: Can landlord and tenant freely agree rents in Singapore?

Rents have been freely negotiated since the passage of Control of Rent (Abolition) Act 2001. Subsidized rents are provided to poor Singaporeans by the Housing and Development Board (HDB).


The tenants usually pay a security deposit of one month's rent for every year of lease. The security deposit is returned without interest. However, some corporate landlords demand three months' rent for a two year lease. One month's advance rental is also required.

What rights do landlords and tenants have in Singapore, especially as to duration of contract, and eviction?

The standard lease period is more than 1 year, with or without an option to renew the lease for another year. It is difficult to find lease agreements for less than a year.

There is no Singapore law requiring notices before the end of tenancy agreement, everything will be based on the contract itself. Some agreements state that tenants must give two or three months' notice of their intention to renew the tenancy.

Either party can prematurely end the contract. The party which terminates must pay an amount as determined in the contract, typically a month's rent, as compensation.

If the tenant fails to pay rent as stated in the contract (typically 14 days after it is due), the landlord can obtain a writ of distress from the Court. The Court would then authorize the sheriff to seize and sell goods inside the property and recover unpaid rent and legal costs from the tenant. Landlords also have the right to repossess the property.

Subleasing without the consent of the landlord is prohibited, especially in HDB flats.


Duration until completion of service of process 9
Duration of trial 40
Duration of enforcement 11
Total Days to Evict Tenant 60
Courts: The Lex Mundi Project

How effective is the Singaporean legal system?

Most landlord and tenant disputes are resolved through mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution, usually under groups such as the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) and Singapore Mediation Center (SMC). A formal court proceeding can also be utilized, but this is usually longer and more expensive.


There is no comprehensive law dealing with landlord and tenant relation. General provisions pertaining to landlord and tenant relations are mentioned in the Civil Law Act, Distress Act, Evidence Act and several other laws. Singapore follows the English common law system.

Stamp duty on leases:

  • 0.4% of leases under one year
  • 0.8% of leases 1-3 years
  • 1.6% of leases of over 3 years


david lim | April 04, 2010

Yes, looking at tenancy agreement/written contract, it appears that Singapore favoured landlords. But when it comes to the enforcement of the tenancy agreement, the landlords are always at the disadvantage or losing parties.

Many times,tenants (mostly foreigners)breaks lease, left the premises prematurely without telling the owner and owing rental, damage the furniure and fittings and left the premises without repairing the damaged items or clean-up the premises. Landlords usually sufferred in silent, security deposit in most cases not enough to recover the losses.It may cost more to take up legal proceeding.

Rykel Lim | April 06, 2010

I am currently suing my landlord in Singapore for illegally evicting my family with only a 6-day notice and insufficient compensation.

I will soon find out if the law favours landlord or tenant.

ida | April 11, 2010

Hi i am one of the landlord having to deal with 6 difficult tenant from china that refuse to listen when told.They merely took the chance of the phrase i msg use "your money first to do or buy anything that needs than ill deduct from the rental amount" as im a single mum of 2 kids renting that house of mine in bukit merah 3room for only at 1300 per month.They than was given a new bed from me as previously reported bedbugs to my suprise they call pestcontrol without my knowledge at 400 and simply deduct from my rental without discussing.I could not report them to hdb as my unit i just found out not approve,my agent took the commission and left me with them at my own risk.I am so angry that i told them to leave with many reason even told about the unapprove unit they dont even want to care instead they choose to argue about the agreement,pls help me and advise what should i do...

annie | May 08, 2010

Can anyone pls tell me if landlord can force tenant to pay for cleaning expenses while the tenants want to clean up by themselves?
Thank you!

Andew | May 10, 2010

I am renting a room in the ladnlods unit. He just told me i have to move out cuase his family is moving in. Can he do this? I checked the contract and nowhere does it stipulate early termination for either party.

Lee | May 26, 2010

Currently, I've leased my new apt to a foreigner & his local girlfriend. Even on the 1st mth rental, it was late by 10 days & I didn't conpliant. Now, 2nd mth, it was worst. The rental was very late & he actually issued to me cheque that bounced. I reckoned that he was up to no good & I asked his agent to get the 2nd mth rental in cash from him. But, instead, he insisted to issue another crossed cheque to me. When I went to my apt with my agent, hoping to discuss this matter to him, he refused to open up the door for us. At my wits end, I called upon the police for help to get them open up. But, that was useless too. The policemen managed to talk to my tenant but returned to ask me to contact the tenant & landlord dispute dept. Do u know the frustration??!! My own apt & I can't even go in & talk to the tenant!! The tenant refused to pay me & refused to move out & all the policemen could do was that kind of advice??!! I want to repossess my apt asap. What should I do that will take immediate effect?? Or, is it foreigner is still more superior than locals in the eyes of our law & we just hv to suffer in silence?

Reddy | July 06, 2010

Hi, My new landlord doesn't want to give me the keys of the house and also not willing to return back my advance amount of S$2000. I have reported to police and the suggestion is to approach Small Claims Tribunal. Found out from HDB that he is not the owner and a criminal case can be lodged against him. HDB says they cannot do anything as the owner has not signed the agreement. We are foreigners and not sure how long we can stay here. I am really frustrated. Any suggestions? Thxs.

TI | July 11, 2010

Hi it is legal to let your own son stay at your rental flat?a mother did ,that but the rental one room flat it hers.,under her name and address.but the mother let her son and family stay at her flat for almost 5 years!the son has a house that is under process of selling his 4 room hdb flat.he just wanted a temporary house for himself and family he told the mother to stay with her other children.,so he has a house to stay rather than it legal ? to let your other occupier to stay even they are your family members?

Gerry | July 13, 2010

I am a new tennant to a friend of mine and we have moved in 6 weeks ago. Now my friend sent a letter to the landlord seeking to allow me and my wife to occupy one room in the flat that my friend is leasing for two years. Today, my friend received a letter notice from the landowner's agent seeking to so called "To Up" a particular amount in the monthly rent, securities, and probably the agent fee for the two year lease. If my friend does not comply, me and my wife shall be immediately evicted with no given grace period. If my friend fails to comply they will also be evicted from the house.

I say that this is not a question of legallity but the respect and grace to give an amicable time line to comply and then evict. If I may speak free I am indeed a foreign PR here. But is grace and respect an expensive commodity to give? Does Singapore really care about its expat's welfare? We too pay our taxes without fail, our cpf contribution also is used by the Singapore Gov't and yet we are treated as a bunch of rag tags. If there is any word that can describe our dilemma, it will be "unfair". Other countries have fair practices to its foreign constituents. If there is none here, then I'd be thinking moving out from this place.

I know that me and my wife have no claim on this and it is true. But what can we do on this matter? Can we sue the landlord?

LFC | July 20, 2010

I would like to find out if Rykel Lim manage to do anything about the landlord terminating the agreement earlier.

What action and how long it will take to be sue the landlord for evicting the premises ?

Manu | July 23, 2010

Hi, my new landlord refuses to repair /replace any of the faulty fixtures even within the first month of tenancy. I have no contact with the landlord and all communications are via his agent. As per him I hv rented a old unit & everything can not be new,if thr are problems then I need to repair/replace at my own cost. Whereas it's mentioned in the contract that landlord will take care of any such problems at his expense for the first 30 days. Looks like I m being forced to invest in his property. Any suggestions who can help.

rainman | August 03, 2010

I have been renting a room with the owner of a HDB flat for 4 months without any contract. I have paid 1 month advance and 1 month deposit when I moved in. But now at the start of this month, I did not pay the rent because I will be moving out at the end of the month due to different work location outside Singapore. I give my landlord a notice of 1 month to inform her of my decision but now she is threatening me that she will change the key to my room before end of this month becuase she said that my 1 month deposit does not cover the rent. In this case, what's the best thing to do? Is it alright to report this to the police?

Confuse | August 04, 2010

Hi, I have rent master room in a condo, meanwhile there are 3 rooms in the condo that are occupied by two other tenants..and we all get long great. My question is, is it normal if your landlord sleeping in your couch in the living room almost every night, meanwhile, according to the agreement he is only going to come once in a while only to clean the house, not to stay. We have complain to the agent about this, but his reply is thatm because all of us renting the rooms, the landlord have the right to stay there because it is the common area. is that correct? because I dont think this is normal, and I think also very disturbing.

lala | September 06, 2010

hi, i have rent out my place with the ta (1 yr lease)saying to sell with tenacy but the buyer want vacant possesion....
i spoke to my tenant and he refuse to leave and demanded full compesation of rental for the remaining month. is this right ? what can i do?

Dima | October 18, 2010

Hello, Just two weeks before I moved to a condo apartment and staying there with Chinese family and some other tenants. When I was making contract, agent and landlord told me that I can use the aircon anytime but now during daytime they are switching off it. So where can I complain about this situation? Please help me!

vivi | October 30, 2010

do i had the right ,if my tenant bring the parents up and stay without permission from me and only inform me the day that the parents had reach, that i requested for a $150 top up for the stay of two person for 4 days 3 night.

Sheryl | March 27, 2011

my landlord has just withdrawn my 1 month deposit. before that, they had already agreed that i can move out earlier. Then after this verbal agreement, they started to find problems, shouted at me, and stopped me from using washing machine. so now i moved out without completing the contract which is due half month later. now they refuse to give me back the deposit cos i moved out before the contract is over. would like to know if i can pay the rest of the rental which is less than a month, so i can get back the deposit?

Harry | September 08, 2011

I do not know much about singapore property laws but I feel the terms of house rental or leasing favors landlords. Its a market driven by stupid agents who do not understand what right and whats wrong. One of such law/term used in the contract is about breaking the contract. I do not think anyone can tell whats going to happen in another six months or what conditions he might have to face. But by this stupid contract term the tenant has to pay for all the rent of the remaining term which is completely illegal. I understand that the tenants should have to pay for the loss caused like agent commission, damages but not the total amount of the leasing term. I like singapore for many reasons but I think its pretty bad when it comes to rental terms.

AGL | September 19, 2011

were renting out a room from HDB for about 3 months now. our tenancy agreement is that we rent the room with A/C. before signing that agreement i ask the landlord if there is no limitation on that and he said anytime can open the A/C. one day when i got back from my work i open the a/c but cannot turn on so i sms the landlord if our a/c is spoiled? she replied that because their power bill has double they put a timer on our A/C & will be used at night time only. Is that legal to do for the landlords? never inform their tenants regarding the new rule? also everytime they sending sms to turn off everything in our room after we go for work. I'am so fissed off regarding this matter. one time i leave the light, fan & tv (but put it in mute mode) on. then suddenly the landlord sms me if am in the room telling me they hear a sound of fan & tv on in our room and was told also that the light was on. I mean come on does the owner opens our door even we lock the door when we go out? how come they know when the tv is in mute mode. I believe even the landlord gives us the key to room they still have a duplicate of the key to our room. no privacy at all. now my question is CAN I REPORT THESE SITUATION? To whom i shall report this? i hope somebody will help me on this. thanks for any reply.

Rykel Lim | October 02, 2011

@LFC - It was a loooooong and tough fight for me but after more than 2 years of legal fees and hassle, my landlord finally settled with me out of court and I am satisfied with the result. The terms are confidential and sealed. If you need any other areas of advice, just look for me on Google+ or Facebook.

Answers123 | March 26, 2012

Hi guys, please kindly give me some advice on how to solve my situation right now. I am a tenant for a shophouse. For the past 6 months, i stopped my business operation due to absence of licence from relevant authorities. Due to the binding contract, i still carry on to pay the monthly rental to my landlord. I also tried to find new interested tenants to take over the shop so that i will be free from this binding contract. Till recently, i have a interested tenant to take over the shop but due to minor disputes between the landlord and the interested tenant, the interested tenant decided not to take over the shop anymore. Therefore, i will need to continue to pay the heavy rental monthly without earning any revenue. Moreover, the landlord requires the new tenant to buy a public policy which cost about $1,000 annually which agitates the interested tenant as they do not see the need to purchase this insurance. This is not included in the contract at all as well. Moreover, all the advertisement and interested tenants are recommended by me but not the landlord. The landlord agreed to help find new tenants to takeover as well, but there is no results from him at all. This could be due to the reason that he has his monthly rental from me and therefore there is no need for him to put in any effort to find new tenants at all. Please kindly help me get out of this situation. Thank you.

Rosalind | November 13, 2012

Hi, i just signed a tenancy agreement & paid the owner one month good faith deposit.
However handing over of keys & two month security deposit is only
Due next week.
I'm currently having second thoughts~ can I still opt out? I don't mind forfeiting the one month good faith deposit but is the contract binding once signed?

deepanjli | March 04, 2013


I rented a house along with five other girls when I moved to Singapore. After a month I found somebody to replace me for six months and now she is shifting out and my name has been removed from the contract. Is it still my responsibility to find a new roommate?

Thank you

Tony Lau | March 12, 2014

A China man has rented a room from me but without property agent to complete proper tenancy agreement. If this Chinaman insist using the deposit to offset the rental, can I as a owner to evict him and take repossession of the room after sufficient notice given.

Tony Lau | March 13, 2014

What is the proper procedure to evict a tenant if he insist to use his deposit to offset the final month rental payment. What constitute sufficient notice being serve before such eviction action can be taken by the owner. During such eviction take place, must landlord need to employ a Security personnel to witness to prevent any claim of items lost by the tenant later.

wendy | July 12, 2014

I have given my landlord 1 month notice to move out but they start giving me problems and headache.. first ask me ti give then my room key so that they can open my room when im not around for others to view.. Now take always the laundry poles.. put all my detergent out.. they borrow baby play pan from me and their dog urine on it and want me to take back.. how can I go about.. please advise urgently..

Mike Peri | August 18, 2014

I have recently rented my bedroom out for a one year tenancy.
It has been two months since, and I've noticed my tenant has been bringing a China girl over on many occasions.
I wish to terminate the tenancy. Is it reasonable to give a one month notice period?
The tenancy is for a single person... now this visitor seems to think she can come over anytime, and has been using the aircon all the day!
I have also discovered that she has even used my address to apply for a data plan from a telco here... she is not even a tenant here.
Do I have grounds for early termination of the one year tenancy.

shadow | December 21, 2014

No sure you still need advise but here is my reply for your question.
1. Does not Tenancy aggreedment specified that you tenant cannot bring anyone to stay over night? If yes, you have right to enforce.
2. You only rent to one tenant, so you can enforce not to allow anyone else to stay in the home. This is protected by common law act.

Tenant | June 07, 2015

I am a tenant who had some problems with landlords that refuse to return me deposit.

In the contract, it states 2 months period of renewal but there is no minimum stay.

When I was moving in, I emphasized this to the female landlord and she verbally agreed that I can move out anytime when needed and there is no minimum stay. She took my 2 months deposit.

First 1-2 months we had no problem as the landlords were also just moved in not long before me.

There are few reasons I moved out:

1. I have been bearing with no wifi for 6 months and the landlords yet to fix the internet as promised.

2. The maid stopped coming to clean the house after 1 or 2 months after I moved in. The cleaning service was promised as well. The bathroom and common area are very dirty; the pet even pooped at my door side and I had to clean the mess. It happened to other tenant as well. The landlord also stock up their commercial goods at home. All these lead to a lot of cockroaches. There was once I saw the maid waiting for the male landlord to wake up (he was drunk sleeping in the living room), I overheard that he has been delaying her pay. I guess thats the reason she stopped coming to clean the house.

3. The landlords brought back whole bunch of friends to play mahjong at home, can be from 7pm- 1am or even later. I have texted to remind them to keep the voice low as their friends screamed and laughed very loud at night that disturb my sleeping.I should have called the police to catch the landlords. Other tenant complained they play mahjong as well. However, we don't have the right to stop them as it is their house. The whole house was also full with cigrette smell as they smoke at home with balcony door closed. I was once very nausea and forced to call my bf to take me away.

On May 19, I whatsapp the female landlord my intention to move out. She kept finding excuses like haven't discussed with her husband even i bumped into her in the house few times. She just reluctant to talk. There was once I said I need her 5 min, she said her friends are here in the house already she needs to entertain her friends. So I SMS her again on June 2 that my intention to move out on June 6. She said that she will only return my deposit for the 4 days when the day I checked out.

On June 6, they both were not home and din reply my message at all. Thus I passed the house key to one of the housemates to pass to them. I guess I don't want to get into trouble by keeping their keys. However, the landlords din refund me the remaining deposit as promised. I don't really care for the remaining deposit. I care about justice and fairness.

I have been having good relationship with them before that and even helped the female landlord to do online transaction when she needed help. It was just small amount of money and she returned me after that. I am rather disappointed with them while i have been trying to discuss with them the timeline to move out and they kept avoiding. I already can smell that they purposely want to "swallow" my money.

They both tried to convince me to take out money for their money loaning business. Luckily I insisted to say no money to invest.

It happens at Charlton Residences unit X. An older husband and younger 2nd wife, 2 dogs and 1 cat. Please do not stay there!

Anyone can advise me what to do?

Silambarasan | April 27, 2016

I rented a studio apartment (private)- my 1 year contract is completed. LL and me agreed verbally(whatsapp chat) for another 6 months contract. Now, as a tenant I wanted to vacate the flat. I informed my LL regarding my vacation 1 month in prior. LL agreed my movement.

But LL says he wont payback the advance amount unless if he/me(tenant) find a replacement for the flat.
Also LL demand a compulasory rent for my 1 month stay.

Please advise, how shall i proceed.

kamika | September 03, 2016

me and my friend renting two room here and they been keeping 3 Dogs (but sometimes 6) in the house currently, we have an hygiene issue everytime (owner not home till late night sometimes) causing the house got very very bad smell. now theres an small issue which my lanlord claim us to pay the maintainance which I dont think is our issue. May I know how we need to settle it ?

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