My landlord is stealing from me.
I won’t bore you with the details, but there’s a repair to my air-conditioning that my landlord wants me to do. She also wants me to pay for it. This repair has been recommended by the air-conditioning company since 2013; I don’t know why no one has taken care of it before now. After first telling me she would pay for the repair in full, my landlord has now threatened to evict me if I don’t pay.
As there is no rental board in Singapore, which is actually quite surprising, my hands are tied.
We’re not talking about a lot of money, but we’re talking about enough money that I had to cancel travel plans for this weekend because I simply can’t do both.
What bothers me the most is that this landlord’s word is clearly worth nothing. It is worth nothing to her, and therefore is worth nothing to anyone else. I have it in writing that she promised to pay for this repair in full; in the US, that would be the end of the dispute. Apparently, that is not the case here. I’m irritated because I have done nothing wrong. I’m disgusted because she lied to me. I’m angry because part of the lease agreement stipulates that maintenance will be done before a tenant moves in.
This clearly did not happen.
But I’m also frustrated, because I know she’s stealing from me, she knows she’s stealing from me, and now we have to have a business relationship for the duration of my lease. Where does that leave me?
Ultimately, I’m sad because I believe in the goodness of people. I believe in doing the right thing. When I told my landlord that the air-conditioning company recommended this repair after they came for a routine check (weird law in Singapore), I was doing the right thing.
In books and movies, the good guy wins. We teach children that good triumphs over evil. However, the more time I spend in this world as an adult, the more I read the news, the more I try to help my students understand all the wrong in the world, the more I am afraid that good will not triumph over evil in the end.
And then where will we be?