Property Nightmare Stories #3: My Electricity Wasn't Working So I Stole My Neighbour's

Contributor March 24, 2017

 

Property investment is the hype but property nightmares are often shoved under the carpets. In this series of Property Nightmare Stories, PropertyGuru gets down on the ground to find out firsthand what can happen when the tenant or landlord voids a contract.

 

A bigger issue than you think: Tampering Power Supply

 

This is a situation in Valencia Walk Up Apartment @ Sri Muda, Shah Alam. An agent has been helping his client to do Tenant Management where he monitors the payment of Rental, Water &  Electricity Bills.

It is a unit rented out to a company as a hostel but the agent was caught by surprise when the electricity bill was zero for the past 2 months with foreign workers staying in the unit. Inspection was carried out to identify if the TNB meter has been damaged.

It was found out that there was no power supply to the unit as the power cable from TNB Meter (on the ground floor) to the unit (on the fourth floor) was stolen.

For the past 2 months, the Tenants were “borrowing” power supply via a wire extension cable from its neighbour. It was dangerous and unsafe to live in this condition.

 

Solution

 

This month’s issue involves a nightmare to the tenant! It is important for tenants to know their rights and properly exercise their rights in scenario like this.

It is the responsibility of the landlord to allow the tenant to have peaceful enjoyment of the property during the tenure of the tenancy. Therefore, the tenants have the right to notify the landlord when the unit has no access to electricity and request the landlord to do all necessary to repair the electric cable to ensure that there will be power supply to the unit. And this should be done at the landlord’s own costs and expenses, unless stated otherwise in the Tenancy Agreement.

The Tenants should without delay notify their landlord and not try to resolve the issue via their own means or at its own convenience, as their action to “borrow” power supply from their neighbours:-

 

a) is illegal under the Electricity Supply Act 1990 and its Regulations which may attract fine or action or prosecution by the relevant authorities against the electricity account holder of the Demised Premises. The Landlord not only will be subjected to fine or action or prosecution by the relevant authorities if he/she is the account holder, but also potential legal claim from the neighbour;

b) is dangerous, unsafe and fire prone as the connectivity via the said wire extension cable was unauthorised and done not according to the proper and right safety standard; and

c) is in breach of the usual tenancy agreement wherein the said action by the Tenant would render the usual insurance policy on the Demised Premises against any loss or damage by fire void.

The above scenario may somewhat be prevented or mitigated by the Landlord via:-

a) Inspection from time to time on the condition of the property;

b) Insist the Tenant to register the electricity account under the name of the Tenant;

c) Obtain an indemnity from the Tenant against any loss, actions, fine, prosecutions or etc. caused by any tampering of the electricity meter or cables or other unauthorised action, or etc. of the Tenant

To visit some of the other nightmares, look for the one you resonate with most:

 

 

This article was contributed by Alvin Teo (Advocate & Solicitor- Messrs Mak, Ng, Shao & Kee) and Nicole Ng (Advocate & Solicitor- Messrs Elizabeth Siew & Co). For more information or legal assistance, contact or email them at 07-3341922 (alvinteo@mnsklaw.com) or 03-8075 0901 (nicole.ng@esc.legal).

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