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Malaysians share their worst landlord stories


Here are 8 stories that our readers have shared about their terrible landlord experiences.

© Anutr Yossundara | 123rf

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Renting a house can sometimes feel like a game of chance. You never really know what you’re in for until you move into the house. Just take a look at our previous article on housemate horror stories and you’ll read all kinds of encounters of the nasty kind.

But today, we’re not here to talk about housemate or roommate issues. Instead, we want to highlight another issue that all renters face: the landlord. In most cases, landlords are reasonable people who work hard to provide a safe and decent environment for their tenants. Unfortunately, sometimes they don’t.

From telling their tenants how WiFi can be bad for health to pretending to be a landlord, here are some of the worst stories we’ve heard about landlords so far.

1. The imposter

My landlord (let’s call her Sam), posted on a renter’s website that she has a room to rent. The rental was only RM700 and it’s fully furnished. Utility bills and parking bays are also included. After reaching out to her, she brought me to the house and showed me around. Everything was exactly like in the pictures that she advertised. She also mentioned that she would occasionally spend the night because it’s near to her workplace.

After moving in, I heard from my housemate (we’ll call her Alice) that the housemate I replaced (Belle) hasn’t received her deposit despite waiting for more than two months. I didn’t pay much attention to it back then, because I didn’t want to “kepoh” other people’s business, but I should have realised that this was one of the red flags.

Months go by and everything is fine until the day the REAL landlord, Regina, walks in with a potential buyer. Alice and I freaked out because someone walked in unannounced and we were watched like zoo animals. We asked Regina who she is and why she had the key to our house — she said that she’s the owner of the house. We were dumbfounded.

So, the story goes like this: Sam is an ex-employee of Regina and she was entrusted to take care of the unit including paying for the monthly mortgage and utility bills. However, Sam didn’t pay a single cent and it got to the point where the bank started going after Regina about the late payment.

As for Alice and I, we were forced to move out within a month because Regina sold the house and the new owner would be moving in soon. That wasn’t the only issue I faced. I knew that Belle, the previous tenant, did not receive her deposit until much later so I demanded for it. Regina kept coming up with an excuse not to pay me, telling me that she’ll do it tomorrow or the next week. This went on until I told her that I won’t move out of the house until I receive my deposit. It was only then that she returned my money.

– Vanessa C.

2. The one-month notice

I’ve been renting this apartment in Petaling Jaya with three of my friends for close to six years. The rent was cheap; it was RM1,200 for the whole unit, which was why we didn’t want to leave. One fine day, the landlady came to our house and said that she had something to tell us. We thought she wanted to increase the rental because the rent had remained the same for the past six years. However, what she said was that she sold the apartment unit because she’s in need of cash and that we have only one month to move out. We were quite angry as the news just sprung up on us and she never told us anything prior to this. Thankfully, we managed to find another apartment nearby at the very last minute but we had to fork out a lot more money for the new place.

– Rashid

© photomake | 123rf

3. The conspiracy theorist

I shared the same house with my previous landlady and she is an “interesting” character. The entire house has no fan or air-conditioner, except for the room she rented out. She cooks and cleans using some weird homemade concoction. I’m not allowed to use the drying rack to dry my clothes because she would use it to hang her fake Ikea plants. There are so many fake plants at home and they’re all very dusty. I don’t know when was the last time she cleaned them. I even spotted some insects living there. One day when she left for a holiday, I decided to help her clean them. I think I killed more than 50 insects. It was so disgusting. She also has this weird rule of not allowing me to use any chemical-based cleaning products, so I had to wait for her to leave to do the deed.

She also believes that WiFi signals can cause cancer. When I bought a WiFi signal booster for my room (I couldn’t get a good connection in my room), I had to lie to her, saying that the signal booster goes through the wire connection and not through the air. I’m also forced to turn off the WiFi router every night before I sleep. There are nights when I play video games till late; she would get up and turn off the WiFi modem, and I’d get disconnected. I had to sneak out of the room just to turn the modem back on again.

She also believes conspiracy theories like how Covid-19 is fake and that we shouldn’t be alarmed over it.

– Noah

4. The one who stepped out of line

I live with my boyfriend in an apartment. Our landlady is very nice and she’s quick to resolve issues we have at home. The only problem is that she’s very flirty, especially towards my boyfriend. Generally, I don’t have an issue with that; we usually just laugh it off whenever she makes an uncomfortable remark about my boyfriend. But once, she told my boyfriend that she would lower the rent for him if I move out. That was the last straw for the both of us. We moved out shortly after.

– Aishah M.

5. The irresponsible one

I am currently renting this duplex house. The house was fine when I first moved in but the air-cond in my room stopped working after a while. I contacted the owner to get someone to come and fix it. However, he refused and even told me to use the fan instead.

The other issue I had was the water heater. We have a centralised water heater system and the one I have at home is broken. Sometimes I get hot water when I shower, sometimes I don’t. I complained to the house owner but he told me to talk to the condo management. When I spoke to the condo management, they told me to ask the house owner instead. This has been going on for weeks. It got to the point where I’m just too tired to care so if there’s hot water when I shower then great, if not I’ll just shower with cold water.

– H

6. The opportunistic landlord

I rented this house last year and when I moved in, I made the mistake of not checking the condition of all the household appliances. It was only after I moved in that I realised the washing machine wasn’t working. I didn’t bother with it.

When my lease ended, I decided not to renew it because I wanted to rent elsewhere. The owner came and checked everything and she told me that the washing machine was spoiled. I told her that it was spoiled even before I moved in but she’s not having it. She insisted that it was working fine and that I’m the one who broke it.

I didn’t have any evidence to support my claim, so not only did I not get my deposit back, but I had to pay RM3,700 for the old washing machine that I didn’t even use. And I’m pretty sure it cost less than RM3,700 because it looked like it’s been sitting there for the past decade.

Lesson of the day: always double-check if everything is working and list down things that are broken before you move in so that your landlord can’t take advantage of you.

– Azlan

© RYAN MACKAY | 123rf

7. Paying on the dot

My landlord has an annoying tendency to text my partner on the 1st of every month to ask for rent money if it’s not transferred before 12PM. It wasn’t a specific rule stated in our contract, and it annoys me that she’s rude about it. There’s no “Hi”, “please”, or “thank you” in the messages — just a straight “Rent?”.

Normally, I wouldn’t mind if it was specifically mentioned in the contract or if she asked nicely, but she has to understand that not everyone receives their salary at the end of the month to be able to pay instantaneously on the first day of the month.

– PN

8. The blaming game

I rented this place for five years and just moved out 2 months back. There were a lot of issues during the last couple of months.

First of all, my landlady listed her house for sale without telling me. Fortunately, I heard it from our neighbour or else I would be clueless. When I confronted my landlady, she accused me instead and told me that she did inform me.

She also brought a few potential buyers to view the house but she didn’t manage to sell it. So instead of looking for a solution, she put the blame on me and told me that I’m the reason she couldn’t sell the house.

There’s also the constant complaint about how she’s earning nothing because the rental is low (we pay RM500 a month for rent). But it wasn’t my fault that she didn’t increase the rental fee so why am I getting blamed for this as well?

In the end, I decided to move because I was getting tired of the drama. Unfortunately, I did not sign any tenancy agreement. The landlady wanted to save money so she didn’t draft any tenancy agreement before we move in.

The lesson here is, always ask your landlord to prepare a tenancy agreement. Please protect your rights!

– Richard Qkl

Renting a house comes with certain risks which is why it’s important for you to know your rights as a tenant and spot potential red flags in your tenancy agreement before you put your deposit down. On top of that, it’s also important to do a background check on your landlord and make sure he or she is a reputable one.

* For privacy reasons, some respondents’ names were changed. Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.

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