We have started staying at the new place on Sunday and I must say, after the initial horror of horrors, I was finally relieved to be rid of all those slimy real estate agents and an equally slimy house.
As the title suggests, what exactly happened?
While we were aware that the house was rather old, we were not prepared for the sight that greeted us when we stepped into the house the first time after receipt of the keys. For starters, the previous owner’s tenant was still on the premises, busy packing and moving away his things. Technically, he was trespassing and no one informed us of his presence, not even the seller, her agent or my agent. Nil hid his surprise and displeasure quite well. I, on the other hand, wanted to see what else he would do after he was done packing and removing his things.
He took the last of his bags, the remaining key that was given to him, say goodbye and left. I was in shock. Thinking about it now still makes me do a double take. Urm, hello, but since when was it okay to have the previous tenant allowed to walk away into the yonder with my house key? I did ask him for the key but he insisted that he had to give it back to the previous owner. And speaking of the previous owner, she was conveniently missing from the place – something I find strange. I mean it’s only proper courtesy to be there to ensure that your previous tenant clears up the place and so forth before they give you back the keys. Definitely no thank you cards for them!
I suppose his definition of clearing the place meant just removing his bags because the entire apartment was littered with rubbish. There were pots of dead plants sitting at the balcony and the area was covered with dirt as well as lord knows what else. There were pieces of broken glass in the partition area as well as rubbish on the floor, old chairs and other items. The bathroom and second toilet was not washed and smelled of day-old urine. There was stuff growing on the ceiling of one bathroom too! There was rubbish next to the sink, the bathtub and well, the toilet seats were obviously different from the toilet bowl. Both rooms had rubbish and unwanted items in the drawers, on the floor. One of the airconditioning units was broken and most of the lights were out of commission not to mention one of the heaters. The kitchen…omigod, the kitchen was the worse! If I had a photo, I wouldn’t even dare put it up for fear of people recoiling away in disgust.
The kitchen floor was covered with specks of I-don’t-know-what-and-don’t-care-to-find-out. The countertops, cabinet doors and shelves were sticky and grimy. There were dark specks of gunk on the shelves and the cooker hob and hood was a mess. It was so bad until the first thing I could think of was changing it. Just so you can imagine how bad it is, let me share that the original colour of the hob and hood is white but what I saw was basically brown-black. When the contractor removed the old one to install the replacement hob, he asked if I need a scraper to remove all that gunk underneath. As it turns out, it was a good idea to get the two replaced as they were old…about 15 years old.
And I’m not done.
The yard, gah…rubbish, stains, dust, dirt…my cleaner took eight freaking hours to clean the place and even then, she told me that she couldn’t get everything done up to her standards. It was just too dirty, especially the kitchen. She was so sure that the cleaners the agent hired did absolutely nothing because the place was filty and was nice enough to warn me that in order for certain areas like the kitchen to be really clean, I’d have to wipe the surfaces with strong detergent for at least another three times before it’d look brand new or at least seem to look brand new. The floor alone took me three to four rounds before my feet stopped looking grey or black after walking around. I was surprised to see that I had white tiles for the master bedroom balcony as previously it was just grey.
And I was told that this is common in Singapore and M’sia. WHAT? We later found out that a handover was conducted the day before the day was complete but obviously I or Nil wasn’t told of the event or the outcome. What utter nonsense.
Anyway after this nightmare, I told myself that no one should go through such misery. A place shouldn’t be handed over in such a condition even though the law offers no provision or protection (something should be done about this formally tho). When it was time for me to hand over the rented place, my parents suggested that I just do a coursery sweep of the place and end it there (no cleaning, no washing, no nothing). I said no. I wasn’t to let someone else experience what I went through especially considering the fact that his wife had just given birth a week before. It’s just not right.
So I cleared out the place, wiped down all the surfaces, vacuumed and mop the floor and did the best I could…even washed his cushion covers and table cloth. I was happy that the owner had no complaints about it when we did the handover together. We walked through everything, I told him what I left behind, what I did, where things are. This is how a handover should – not him arriving to see me cleaning or moving my stuff, or to a dirty house.
To anyone who is buying/selling/renting/leasing out a place, please please please make sure that this doesn’t happen to you or worse, that you don’t do this to someone else. It may be the norm but there is a saying, “If people eat shit, are you going to join them as well?”