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Mouldy sofa, hole in sink: Condo unit in disarray after tenants 'disappear'; over $10,000 in rent owed

Mouldy sofa, hole in sink: Condo unit in disarray after tenants 'disappear'; over $10,000 in rent owed
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

Renting out your home can be an extra source of passive income, but it may sometimes result in additional expenses. 

Such was the case for one woman Wang, who leased her four-bedroom condominium unit in Ang Mo Kio to a Spanish expatriate family of three. They signed the contract in August last year, and in September, the family moved in.

According to a report by Shin Min Daily News, upon visiting the property recently however, the 47-year-old landlord was shocked to find the apartment in complete disarray, with damages to some parts . 

The family had allegedly vacated the premises and "disappeared" less than four months after moving in, Shin Min reported, leaving behind leftover food and garbage on the kitchen stove and sink. 

Additionally, the sofa had large patches of mould growing on it, and glitter particles were scattered all over the floor and bed in one of the rooms. Even more puzzling was how the washbasin had a large hole smashed through it.

Wang, a music teacher, emphasised that the unit was in good condition before being rented out to the family.

Wang explained that she had felt assured about the situation initially as the tenant was employed by a reputable multinational company, with his wife working as a Spanish teacher at an international school. Their young daughter too, was enrolled in a school here. 

Their stable jobs and valid employment passes until 2025 led Wang to sign a two-year lease with a monthly rent of $3,900. According to Wang, the process was facilitated by a property agent, surnamed Ma.

Despite receiving a one-month deposit, issues reportedly arose soon after the tenant signed the contract. 

Wang shared that the man began approaching the former tenants who were still residing in the apartment at that time, asking them to vacate promptly. He even requested for a new fridge, to which Wang obliged. 

Wang told Shin Min that she'd considered withdrawing the lease due to this behavior but ultimately attributed it to possible cultural differences.

3 months' rent not paid

The visit to the property was prompted by a neighbour's observation that the tenants had been absent for an extended period. 

While she'd initially presumed that the family had gone overseas on vacation, Wang later grew suspicious. She did a check and was shocked to discover that the tenant had not paid rent in three months.

Speaking to Shin Min, Ma, 57, shared that she'd done her due diligence before proceeding with the tenancy. Before finalising the lease, she had ensured the authenticity of all documents, including employment passes. 

After being contacted by Wang, however, Ma found out that the tenant's work pass had expired in September 2023, less than a month before the family moved in, and that they were required to leave the country the following month. 

Ma stated that after sending several WhatsApp messages to the tenant's Spanish number which were ignored, she received a missed call from him a few nights ago while she was asleep. However, further attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful.

Wang shared that it was her first time encountering such an incident in her many years of leasing the property and that she intends to lodge a police report.

"Hopes of getting back the money owed is slim, but I hope my situation can serve as a warning to other landlords," said Wang.

ALSO READ: Landlady from hell? Woman evicts tenant, pulls out knife after he requests deposit back

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