Landlords at the mercy of tenants ‘from hell’

I refer to the column on “Rental a source of income or problems?” by Bhag Singh (The Star, January 29). I write as an accountant of a property investment company managing rented offices, residential properties and timeshare nights and my personal experiences dealing with tenants of my property.

This is where there is a need to introduce a Tenancy Act favouring and protecting landlords from the actions of tenants “from hell”.

Sometimes it is just unlucky to get terrible tenants no matter how good the screening process, as some prospective tenants put up a good act during the interview to convince the landlord that all is well, only to show their true colours after moving in.

It is always the landlord who suffers despite a comprehensive air-tight tenancy agreement with the relevant terms and conditions spelled out clearly and concisely.

Tenants “from hell” literally staying for free will hold the landlord to ransom by refusing to move out despite unpaid rentals knowing very well that the eviction process is time consuming.

The defaulting tenants after eviction leave behind large unsettled utility bills, making the landlord liable for the outstanding arrears when the utility companies take action against the registered persons.

It is unlawful to cut off water and electricity supply but sometimes the landlord needs to take matters into his/her own hands by terminating the utilities when the situation becomes desperate in the hope that the tenant would leave without pursuing causes of action against the landlord.

However, some ingenious tenants find illegal ways of reconnecting the utilities.

Terminated water supply via the removal of the water meter can be reconnected via a pipe or rubber hose by connecting the two ends of where the missing meter was.

As for the electrical supply, the electricity meter box is located further into the house and so the utility company will be unable to perform the task of disconnecting supply if the front gate is always locked or if the tenant prevents or hinders the people from the utility company from performing the task.

The landlord has little recourse to claim long outstanding rental arrears, unpaid utility bills and damage to the property other than wear or tear when the tenant eventually moves out.

Firstly, the landlord would not know the next correspondence address of the tenant to deliver the lawyer’s letter of demand which will then lead to a summons if the former tenant does not pay.

The owner can resort to employing a private investigator to locate the former tenant, but this is not cheap with little certainty of any success.

If the lawyer’s letter and summons cannot be delivered to the former tenant, then there would be a longer process of pursuing a substitute service pursuant to a court order.

Upon obtaining a judgment to recover the amounts due, the execution to enforce judgment and proceed with any bankruptcy action can only take effect if debts are in excess of RM30,000.

The court process is a long, tiring and time-consuming affair requiring much resources in addition to mental anguish and emotional distress.

Some tenants prior to vacating the premises damage the property and pilfer anything of value which include the lights, taps, piping and wiring, which can be sold as scrap, thus leaving an inhabitable property.

Introducing the Tenancy Act is one way to protect the landlord, as it is obvious that the landlord will never run away in view that the property is stationary, while the delinquent tenant will never provide any forwarding address.

Tenants already have inherent protection while it is the landlord who is at their mercy and at the losing end. At the end of the day, the landlord would just curse his bad luck, give up the pursuit of claims and move on.


Kuala Lumpur


February 2, 2015 at 4:47 PMAL

I am not a landlord but I do agree fully that the landlords need to be protected. In developed countries, there is landlord's insurance to protect them! I had a client who once told me that he had rented out his terraced house at Taman Megah in PJ at above market price. One year after that, I asked the same client about his rented property. He answered that that bastard tenant did not pay a single cent since moving into his property and he had to use illegal means to kick him out as Malaysian law was not property the landlords!

February 2, 2015 at 6:38 PMAnonymous

Dont buy wrong property... !!!
Without experince i purchased 1world for own stay. Now the assessment is killing me. Why the developer mentioned the project as commercial.? Since i staying at 27th floor la. Wat benefit developer declare it as commercial than residential.. like arena project why downstair is declare as commercial.. top can be residential.....

So sad buy wrong property

February 2, 2015 at 5:47 PM

Please prove you're not a robot

February 2, 2015 at 5:49 PM

Please prove you're not a robot