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3 things you should know as a landlord

1

No specific laws for tenancies

  • Did you know that in Malaysia there are no specific laws governing tenancies? The main document that protects your rights as a landlord in tenancies is the tenancy agreement. This is why having a proper tenancy agreement is very important.

2

Tenancy vs. Lease

  • A tenancy is when the rental period is not more than 3 years and a lease is when the rental period is more than 3 years. Normally leases are more common in commercial business rentals.

3

When there is a dispute

  • When a dispute arises between a tenant and a landlord, it is the landlord that is at a disadvantage. Do not take matters in your own hands, seek professional advice on how to proceed. As a landlord you need to apply to a court of law to recover rental arrears and obtain a court order to recover possession of your property from the tenant.

3 things to do before you rent out your property

1

Rental amount to charge

  • Find out how much are similar properties in the area renting out for. A little research will ensure you set the right rental amount. Online property rental listing sites are a great place to start. Charge too low and you lose out financially, too high and you may be stuck without a tenant.

2

Spruce up your property

  • Have you considered renovating your property or cleaning it up? A little investment to make your property more appealing to potential tenants will help you stand out from the rest. You may even be able to charge more rental!

3

Get a proper tenancy agreement done up

  • Congratulations, you got a tenant! Make sure you document the terms and conditions in a proper tenancy agreement. Sign it, register and stamp it. Remember not stamping it means it cannot be admitted to court. All done? Now just handover a set of keys to the property to your tenant.

When your tenant does not pay rent

Check your tenancy agreement

  • A tenancy agreement is a contract. The terms and conditions of the tenancy should include remedies for non-fulfilment of obligations by both parties. These remedies should form the basis from which subsequent actions to be initiated against the tenant to recover the overdue rent, is taken.

Issue a letter of demand

  • When the tenant ignores the landlord’s request for payment of overdue rent, the landlord can send a letter of demand that should state the outstanding amount due, the period from which it was due and the expected settlement date of the outstanding amount. This letter of demand provides documentary evidence that a formal demand for payment was made and it is important that the letter is either sent by registered mail or delivered by means that require the tenant to acknowledge receipt.

Pursue legal action

  • Ideally matters of tenancy should be resolved out of court due to the expense of pursuing legal action. The landlord with legal assistance can serve the tenant with a notice of termination of rent. Next, a suit could be filed against the tenant to obtain a court order instructing the tenant to vacate the property.

    This legal process may take months and cost a lot of money, and should only be considered as a last resort.

Managing property matters when you are not able to do it yourself

Power of attorney

  • There may be times when you are not able to execute matters in relation to managing your property. This could be due to you being away overseas for an extended period or you may be incapacitated due to various reasons. Use a Power of Attorney (POA) to appoint an attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf. Read our article, What is POA or Power of Attorney: Everything you need to know to learn more.

What is an attorney?

  • An attorney-in-fact or donee is the person or persons you appoint through a POA to act on your behalf for either general or specific matters when you cannot attend to them yourself. The capacity of the attorney-in-fact is governed by the terms and conditions of the POA where you specify what he/she can do on your behalf.

Revoking a power of attorney

  • A POA is usually for a specified period. However, should you decide to stop the powers granted to your attorney-in-fact, you need to officially revoke the POA. This is usually done by issuing a document called the Revocation of Power of Attorney. Read more about revoking a POA in our article What is POA or Power of Attorney: Everything you need to know.

Dealing with neighbours

COMMON ISSUES WITH NEIGHBOURS

In an ideal world we all should be getting along happily with our neighbours, no issues and no fuss. However, in reality we often come across THAT neighbour which we just cannot tolerate. Loud music blasting late at night, dogs incessantly barking, cats making themselves at home at your place, cars parked in front of your gate, branches of trees that grow over your side of the fence and, choking smoke from open burning. These are some common and very real issues that we have to deal with when we are unfortunate to have inconsiderate neighbours.

WHAT TO DO WITH INCONSIDERATE NEIGHBOURS

Strata property (apartment, condominium, etc.) owners can fall back to the Strata Management Act 2013 which came into force on June 1, 2015, where the property’s joint management body (JMB) can assist in resolving issues between neighbours and usually there are common covenants that all strata property owners must adhere to. Non-strata property owners however do not have it as easy. Typically, local council bylaws are the only reference should matters escalate between neighbours and if legal action is pursued, civil law and/or case law apply.

When all other means of communication fail, issuing a letter to your neighbour asking him/her to stop or correct their offending behaviour, is your best option. This letter is documentary proof that can be used to help your cause when you decide to escalate the matter to the appropriate authorities.

Building works

Engaging a building contractor

  • The roof is leaking and the ceiling is falling down. You call a building contractor. They give you a quotation and do the works. When the works are done you find that the roof tiles don’t match! You enter into an argument with the building contractor and use the quotation as a reference… and you find that it just says to fix leaking roof and ceiling. Easily avoid misunderstandings and get a proper construction contract – small-scale building or renovation works done up. Clearly describe the works to be done, the amount to be paid and the duration it should be done by. Do not underestimate the importance of a contract even if it is for small-scale works. Have a contract to safeguard your rights when something goes wrong.

What to do when building works are faulty

  • Your building contractor finished their job but you noticed that the work done is faulty and not in accordance with the agreed terms. What do you do? Send the building contractor a letter to request the builder to fix the faulty works. Where the faults are visible, you may take photos and attach them as part of the letter. Of course, this assumes that you already have a proper small-scale building contract in place. This request letter serves as documentary proof of the faulty works and that you made the request to have it fixed. Should the building contract refuse to fix the faulty works, this letter can form part of the evidence if you choose to take legal action.

Property and tenancy documents

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Tenancy

This is a letter of demand for rental under a tenancy agreement. The document refers to an original tenancy agreement, which states the day by which rental should have been paid. It also includes an ultimatum, wherein if the tenant does not pay within 5 days from the prescribed date, legal proceedings will commence. The landlord can only evict a tenant with a court order. The letter of demand should be sent by registered mail so that there is a record of the letter being sent and received by the tenant.

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This agreement is drafted from the landlord’s perspective, in which either the tenant or landlord may be a company or an individual. It specifies the terms of the rental of an apartment or unit property. This includes, amongst others, the duration of tenancy, amount of rental, identity of the tenant, security deposit for utilities and damages, details of any fixtures that will be handed over with the property and the condition of the property during handover.

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This tenancy agreement for house is drafted from the landlord’s perspective, in which both the tenant and landlord can be individuals or a company. It specifies the terms of the rental of a house. This includes, amongst others, the duration of tenancy, amount of rental, identity of the tenant, security deposit for utilities and damages, details of any fixtures that will be handed over with the property and the condition of the property during handover.

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This is a tenancy agreement for landed commercial property, where the landlord and tenant can be either an individual or a company and the property is used by the tenant for commercial/ business purpose. This agreement can be used to set out the terms and the conditions of the tenancy and the rights and responsibilities of each of the landlord and the tenant in relation to the tenancy.

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This tenancy agreement is an agreement between the landlord and tenant in relation to a parcel/lot/unit in a commercial property for commercial/ business purpose. This agreement can be used to set out the terms and the conditions of the tenancy and the rights and responsibilities of each of the landlord and the tenant in relation to the tenancy. To use this agreement, the parties must be acting in the course of business.

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This is a letter by the main tenant to seek the consent of the landlord to share an apartment, house, commercial landed or commercial strata property, with another company or individual (sub-tenant). There must be an existing tenancy agreement already in place between the landlord and tenant, in which the tenant will continue to be responsible for its obligations under the tenancy agreement.

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Building works

This agreement is for a contractor to carry out small-scale building or renovation works to a residential property. It is intended for use by the property owner or the contractor. The owner is an individual, while the contractor may be an individual or a company. This agreement includes the details and duration of the construction work to be carried out, obligations by owner and contractor and specifications of the site to be worked on. Under the agreement, the parties have the option of filling in detailed plans of the construction work within the agreement or attaching separate documents of the plans together with the agreement.

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This is a letter between an individual and the builder – be it an individual or company. If you have employed a builder whose work was faulty or who used materials which did not conform to the contract, use this letter to ask the builder to put the faults right free of charge. This letter allows you to dictate to the builder the reasonable time to complete the repairs. After such time passes and the remedial work is not completed, it warns the builder that you will employ another builder to rectify the faults at their costs. It is assumed that there is in place a contract for the works of which complaints are now being made, and the faulty building work is contrary to the specifications in the contract.

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Dealing with neighbours

This letter can be used to complain to a neighbour about excessive noise caused by the neighbour. You should keep a copy of this letter when you send it along with any other correspondence between you and your neighbour, and keep a record of the time, date and other details of the noise. Before considering any legal action, ensure that all other avenues of trying to stop the noise have been exhausted. For instance, communicating politely to your neighbour several times (via this letter or speaking to them) or complaining to the management body of the property you live in (if applicable).

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Use this letter as an initial request to a neighbour to prune evergreen trees, plants or bushes that encroach onto your property causing obstruction of light to your garden or your home or the clogging up of your drain. Your neighbour must be living in a residential (rather than commercial) property. The letter includes an ultimatum, in which your neighbour must prune the tree, plants or bushes, in which failing to do so, you may proceed to take any legal actions that are available to you, against your neighbour.

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Powers of attorney

This power of attorney is a document that appoints and empowers a person (the Donee or Attorney) to act on your (the Donor) behalf, specifically for collection of rental of a property. Use this power of attorney strictly for the matter of rental collection only.

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The power of attorney is a document that authorises an individual or a company (Attorney or the Donee) to act on behalf of another (the Donor). It enables the Donor to continue with the Donor's affairs even though the Donor is unable to be present due to being away when a particular matter or transaction in which the Donor is involved in is being negotiated or concluded. This power of attorney document is meant to grant the Attorney for a sole purpose only. This means that it is meant to deal with only one particular matter or transaction of the Donor which must be specific in nature. The power of attorney must be attested and registered with the High Court of Malaya.

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This is a document to revoke a power of attorney which has been previously granted to another. To revoke the power of attorney, you must file a copy of this deed of revocation together with the original copy of the power of attorney at the High Court which the power of attorney was registered, as per Section 5 of the Powers of Attorney Act 1949 (Act 424).

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