Landlord increased the rent within the minimum occupancy period
I am asking this for a close friend. My friend got a room in an HDB flat with the owner living in it. She is a Malaysian working professional on Employment Pass.
They signed an agreement that clearly states the rent amount to be set for the next 12 months. It also has a minimum occupancy clause which states that if she leaves before 6 months her deposit of 1 month’s rent will not be returned.
3 months in the landlord increase the rent by 10%. There is no clause in the agreement that allows the landlord to do so.
My friend was really upset considering she was already fed up with the crazy rules of the house (no cooking, curfew after 11 pm, no boiling water, no eating in the room, no hanging of clothes, etc).
She found a new place and wants to leave. The landlord refuses to give her the deposit.
Is this legal? How can she pursue this? Great if someone can provide actionable advice.
If there is a signed contract, just go to small claims court.
Check the contract for clauses that allow rent increase, check for clauses around house rules etc.
The contract as you describe is strange. If there is a 1 year contract and the tenant leaves before month 12, they are liable for the remaining contract term. In this case the landlord saying 1 month as compensation is reasonable.
A landlord can not increase rent during the contract term unless there is an article stated in the contract. The landlord can not limit the use of the rented property unless stated in the contract.
Her court case would be, rent has to be back to contract level, house rules cant be enforced. The compromise would be the landlord lets her go and gives back the deposit.
Unfortunately if she has already left the property and with that broke the contract, there is very limited recourse.
First step, talk to the landlord. “Sir, You have illegally increased my rent and enforced rules that are not in the contract. To make it easy I like to leave and you pay pack my deposit. If not I will take you to small claims court and you will lose.”