Scam Artists!

There is a big scam out there, and it has just gotten scammier! (If there is such a word) A low income person who is divorced will get a 2rm flat for $60 a month. She will then get a room rental agent, Alex, to help her get unsuspecting people who want to rent a small place in a good location. My friend was scammed. He paid $500 to her per month, and a deposit of one month. He also paid the agent half a month's rental. Sound like a scam yet? Well, that's not enough. Why get $500 when you can get more?

Reika, the divorced low income person who is supposedly very poor and very dumb, has her friends to start going up to your little 2rm apt at 2 or 3am to look for her. After one week, she comes up at 1am to ask for a $10 advance. You give her $10, then two or three days later, it happens again. You tell her not to come over without calling in future, but for the next couple of weeks, she remembers, then forgets all over. She comes to your house, in the middle of the night, tapping on your window for an hour because you refuse to open the door. She screams and sounds slurred. After all this harassment fails to irritate you enough to shift out, she stops paying her monthly rental to HDB for 2 months. HDB gives her a letter to quit, which is put on your door. You give her an ultimatum, pay HDB or else you will have to shift out. She tries to get money out of you again, but fails, so she tells you, " You have to shift by the end of the month, because I need to get another tenant to come in and pay me the deposit for me to clear my debts, you know lar."

Right, of course you know. How is this a scam? Two willing parties, and a perfectly legal contract that you are holding in your hands.

1) Reika is not allowed to rent the flat out.
2) Alex is not supposed to look for tenants for an unapproved flat that belongs to HDB.
3) My friend was not the first tenant that was pushed out in this manner.
4) Reika had a ready tenant, even before the ultimatum was given.
5) Reika would not refund the deposit, you can stay a month more, even though HDB officers might come and kick you out.
6) Alex gets his agent fee EVERY time he gets her a new tenant. So far, my friend is the 4th person (according to her LEGAL neighbours who have been lending Reika money because she refuses to get a job)
7) Reika gets an extra month's rental, as most tenants are freaked out by her antics and move out in the first 2 weeks or a month.

2 scams in one. So people out there, do be careful when you rent a room or apartment. You don't want to go to all the hassle of shifting all your possessions to this rented place that is supposedly rented to you for a agreed contracted term of one year. You might have improved the house for another Reika out there.

So where and which is the apartment in question?

Blk 104, Commonwealth Crescent #04-148

Be warned. This is not an urban legend. HDB should blacklist offenders like her and not let her rent any more low income housing. Guess where she is living at now? The next block, also part of the low income housing the government rents out to "deserving" people who stay there for years. The poor shouldn't stay poor, especially when they are under 30, is fully able to work but is too lazy to. In Singapore, you can't be so poor as to need to borrow $10, failing which $5, failing which $2. I think people are exploiting this scheme really badly. One of her neighbours rent the apartment for $60 a month, but can afford to send her daughter to Australia and go for expensive holidays. How many people who are staying in that block is really poor? On the contrary, many seemingly well off people are now the new poor, with their mounting credit card debts and failed businesses.

Perhaps HDB should review their criteria in selecting who gets to live in the low income houses. Or at least have a hotline for people to call when they find out that their neighbours or anyone is abusing the subsidized rental.

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