These self-professed ‘neat freaks’ rented out their flat last year while they travelled overseas.
But in just four months, their cosy four-room HDB unit in Bukit Panjang had become what they claimed to be a ‘garbage house’, Shin Min Daily News reported on Thursday (March 9).
With the tenants refusing to move out despite the landlords’ request, 51-year-old Zheng Minning and her husband, surnamed Cai, are at a loss on what to do next.
In an interview with the Chinese evening daily, the couple shared that they rented their home to a couple in their 30s last October.
Describing how they agreed on a rent of $2,750 a month, Zheng said that she requested the tenants to keep the house clean and tidy.
“We are neat freaks, and they agreed to maintain the house’s cleanliness,” the landlord said, adding that this additional condition was included in the contract that the tenants signed.
Landlord: ‘House looks like it’s not been cleaned in years’
After returning to Singapore last month, Cai and Zheng decided to perform their prayers at their Bukit Panjang home.
But upon stepping into the unit, they were shocked at what they saw.
Zheng said: “The floor was sticky, and there was hair everywhere. The toilet and kitchen were full of filth.
“They had only stayed for four months, but the flat looked like it’s not been cleaned in four years. Our beautiful and cosy house has been turned into a garbage house.”
Angered by the breach in contract, Zheng shared that she requested the tenants to vacate the flat in a month.
But the other party refused to accede to her request, the landlord said, alleging that they had also verbally abused and blocked her on WeChat.
Landlord ‘willing to return tenants’ deposit’
Locked in a stand-off with their tenants, Zheng and her husband are currently staying at a friend’s home.
With no resolution in sight, the landlord said that she is willing to return the tenants’ deposit – one month’s worth of rent – if she can have her flat back, adding that she would then be willing to discuss compensation after that.
Admitting that she had breached the contract by requesting the tenants to move out abruptly, Zheng said: “But they violated the terms first, so it’s considered fair.”
The tenants have no reason to continue staying in the flat, the landlord added.
She said: “During the past four months, my sister warned me that they were dirtying the flat.
“The tenants kept telling us that they had cleaned the flat, and I believed them. I can’t believe things would happen like this.”
Tenant: Different views with landlord on cleanliness
One of the tenants shared that the contract did not stipulate in “black and white” that the landlord could use any reason to terminate the housing agreement.
Describing how the cleanliness of the flat was acceptable, the man said: “We didn’t damage anything that belonged to the landlord. Even if we did, the landlord should have inspected it after the contract expired and paid for it with a deposit.
“We’re still buying home appliances so we’ve got some cardboard boxes around, but the kitchen and toilets were already dirty [before we moved in]. We’re just trying to keep things the way they were.”
The tenant also shared his version of what happened when the landlords entered the flat.
“On that day, the landlords just opened the main door of the flat with a key,” he said. “They said that they would like their house back, and everything happened too suddenly.”
Clarifying on whether she had entered the flat without permission, the landlord did not admit to doing so.
But she said that she had knocked on the door before entering the house.
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