• PROPERTY-CENTRE
    Rent out your property. overdue rent.
    PROPERTY
    renovations. neighbour disputes.
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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.

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