- Request for verification of property ownership such as the latest property tax statement or utilise the e-Valuation List service at the Internal Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) website to find out the name of the property owner for $2.50.
- If the property is an HDB flat, request for a copy of the Housing Board’s approval letter to the landlord for subletting.
- Avoid paying a security deposit and advance rent by cash or cash cheque. Make out the cheque payable directly to the landlord. If you have no cheque account, buy a cashier’s order with the appropriate payee’s name.
- Whenever possible, make an appointment to meet the landlord to satisfy yourself that the prospective lease is in good faith.
- When responding to Internet advertisements, ensure that the source of the advertisement is from a credible website or property portal. If in doubt, contact the agency of the estate agent who posts the advertisement online to ensure it is not a hoax.
- Be aware of comparative rentals in the area where one is planning to lease a flat/ apartment and be wary of anyone who touts an incredibly low or attractive rental.
- Be sure that tenancy agreements signed are stamped by Iras as it is an offence to evade stamp duty on tenancy agreements. Moreover, if the tenancy agreement is not stamped, it may not be admissible in a court of law in the event of a legal dispute.
- Appoint an accredited estate agent or an agent from an accredited agency who has professional indemnity insurance.
Dr Tan Tee Khoon
Chief Executive Officer
Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies
Source: Straits Times, 12 Mar 2010