Get Out of My Property or I Cut Your Electricity – Eviction & Double Rental

Melody Tham Cheng Yee
Legal Associate at Raj, Ong & Yudistra

In the world of renting, disputes between landlords and tenants can sometimes escalate to unexpected levels. 

Landlords: “Tenant is not paying. I want him to get out. If not, I’ll change the locks and cut electricity!

Tenants: “My landlord is threatening me to move out. He even said he is going to charge me double the rent. Can he do that?


Here’s for the landlords

“My tenant hasn’t been paying for months and he refuses to exit the property. What should I do?”

Landlord 1

Put things in black and white. Don’t just call. Write a letter regarding the outstanding rental payments. If he still refuses to pay, give him one last date to exit from the property. This “notice to quit” is very important. Put it in writing!

 “Can I kick him out by taking steps such as changing the padlocks, cutting electricity, throwing his stuff out?”

Landlord 2

Legally, no. The law says that you can only evict your tenant by getting a court order. Otherwise, your tenant may sue you back instead.

“I sent him all these. The last date I gave him has passed. He still refuses to move. How do I get him out, legally?”

Landlord 3

With the letter and notice to quit stated above, appoint a law firm to help you get a court order. Do not try to break in (although it’s your own house, I know).

“I gave him until 1st January to leave. It has been 5 months and nothing changed. What can I get from him if I sue?”

Landlord 4

Firstly, reclaim possession of your property. Secondly, sue for any outstanding rental up to the expiry of tenancy. Thirdly, you can sue for double rental (2 times the normal rent) for the 5 months he stayed beyond 1st January, until the date he gives you back possession of the property.

For the landlords – things to take note of

  1. Before signing, check your tenancy agreement thoroughly. Get a lawyer to draft it.
  2. Check your tenancy agreement. Look out for the expiry of tenancy, renewal options (whether renewal is automatic), and notice period to ask your tenant to leave. Act according to the agreement.
  3. If you wish to terminate the agreement, communicate with your tenant earlier. Give written notice of when is the last day. 
  4. Keep record of all communications, in writing. 
  5. Seek legal advice to ensure proper procedures are followed.

For the landlords – TLDR

Check your tenancy agreement before doing something. Communicate properly. Keep records in writing. If you’re not sure, consult a lawyer, don’t be a hero.

Here’s for the tenants

“I can’t afford to pay my rent for a month and my landlord wants to terminate my tenancy agreement and threatens me to leave the house immediately. Can he do that?”

Tenant 1

This depends on what your tenancy agreement says (I hope this is not the 1st time you are reading it). Check when your landlord has the right to terminate the agreement (e.g. after 2 months of unpaid rental). And, what is the required notice period for you to exit the house.

“My landlord changed my padlocks and even threw my things out. Is he entitled to do so?”

Tenant 2

No, legally, he cannot do so. You may sue him in court if you suffer losses due to that.

“My landlord says he can sue me for double the normal rental because I overstayed. Is that true?”

Tenant 3

Yes. If your tenancy has ended, and you refuse to leave within the notice period, you are now staying illegally. Your landlord can sue for double rental for the period you overstayed beyond the last date to leave until you hand the property back. 

For the tenants – things to take note of

  1. Before you sign, check the tenancy agreement thoroughly. Get a lawyer to vet it.
  2. Check your tenancy agreement. Look out for the expiry of tenancy, renewal options (whether renewal is automatic), and notice period to ask your tenant to leave. Act according to the agreement. Pay on time.
  3.  If you wish to renew the agreement, communicate with your landlord earlier well before the expiry. Allow yourself sufficient time for planning. 
  4.  If you are terminating the agreement, respect the notice period and vacate the premises by the agreed-upon date. Avoid the risk of double rental claims against you.
  5.  Take photos or videos of the property’s condition upon leaving.
  6.  Keep record of all communications, in writing. 
  7. Seek legal advice if you face difficulties or uncertainties.

For the tenants – TLDR

Read (I mean actually reading, not glancing) your tenancy agreement before signing. Follow it. Communicate properly. Keep records. If you’re not sure, consult a lawyer, don’t be a hero.

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