Monday, September 15, 2008

Transient Tenants May Face Trouble From Next-Door

Source : The Straits Times, Sep 15, 2008

MATCHING short-term landlords with temporary tenants seems like a win-win situation all round.

MORE MONEY IN SHORT STAYS: 'In the last two years, the demand for short-term leases has increased 15 to 20 per cent, judging from the increase in our revenues from that sector.' - Mr Eric Cheng, a veteran property investor and the senior managing director of property development and lifestyle group ECG Group of Companies -- ST PHOTO: SAMUEL HE

But sometimes, there is a third party involved - the neighbour.

'Occasionally you have one or two nasty neighbours, nosy people who don't like short-term tenants,' said Mr Jonathan Ho.

In one case, he rented out an apartment at Spottiswoode Park to a medical tourist receiving treatment at the nearby Singapore General Hospital, on behalf of the home's owner who was in China at the time.

But just three days into the lease, a neighbour complained to the owner's wife, who was in Singapore, that there were foreigners living in the apartment.

'The owner's wife didn't know her husband was renting out short-term, so she shouted at me and wanted to chase out the tenants on the spot,' Mr Ho recalled.

'Just because the neighbours are nosy and put ideas into her head that the foreigners could be illegal.'

Mr Ho tried to clarify things but the owner's wife insisted that the tenants leave, so he had to cancel the lease.

But he said this is a rare case. 'Maybe because Spottiswoode Park is an older development, so most of the residents are used to their neighbours and don't like strangers.'

Indeed, most landlords say residents in the prime areas, where developments are heavily occupied by expats, are fine with short-term tenants as neighbours.

This is the case at Casuarina Cove in Tanjong Rhu, where a three-bedroom apartment is up for a six to 10 month rental while its new owners serve out their own lease elsewhere before moving in.

An expat housewife from Britain, who would only give her name as Mary, said that most of her neighbours at Casuarina Cove are expats with transient stays.

'People coming and going is all a way of life, isn't it?' she said. 'When they're here, the neighbours are all quite friendly.'

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