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Beware the property trap, Chong tells owners

By HIU CHII FEN

newsdesk@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Do not break into your own property even if your tenant fails to pay the rent. It could be a trap. This was the warning given by MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong to landlords who were thinking of doing this to reclaim their property. Chong said any move by a landlord to break into the property, even when the tenant failed to pay the rent, was against the law.

He said many landlords had been brought to court by tenants for breaking into their properties and were sued for the loss of their tenants’ assets including cash.
“This could be a trap laid by tenants who are looking for easy cash. They could be conmen,” Chong told a press conference at his office in Wisma MCA here yesterday.

In the past three months, three such claims were made by tenants – all of them Malaysians – against their landlords. Their claims amounted to a total of RM117,000 in cash and assets. During the same period, he said he received 12 complaints of tenants who failed to pay a total of RM57,000 in rent. Lawyer Leong Pak Yiew, who is a member of the department, advised landlords facing this problem to file for a distress order at a court.

“Under this order, landlords will be able to legally seize the premises and the tenant’s rent will be recovered through auctioning all assets found within it,” he said. However, this process could take up to two months and might be costly in terms of legal and court fees.

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