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Serious Sinkie Judge Says Kim San Leng Towkay Is Unethical! Cannot Anyhow Raise Rent Beyond Contract Agreement!


Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
SINGAPORE – The landlord of a six-storey hotel along McKenzie Road, who wanted to increase rent beyond the cap that was stated in the tenancy agreement, has lost a court fight against the hotel operator.

The landlord, Mr Hoon Kee Meng, is one of the sons of the late Mr Hoon Thing Leong, who owned the Kim San Leng chain of coffee shops and was dubbed Singapore’s “Coffee Shop King”.

Mr Hoon Kee Meng is the sole shareholder and director of Kim San Leng Realty.

He and the tenant, Dash Living, had taken each other to court after both sides failed to resolve their disagreements over how the tenancy could be renewed. The current lease ends on Jan 31, 2024.

Mr Hoon had proposed renewing the tenancy at a revised monthly rent of around $76,000.
But Dash Living said a clause in the tenancy agreement stipulated that the renewed monthly rent is to be capped at 10 per cent above the current monthly rent of $45,000.

The dispute centred on this clause, which did not specify the duration of the renewed lease.

The tenant argued that it had the right to renew the lease for two years, but Mr Hoon and his company contended that the tenancy agreement did not give Dash Living such an option.

In a judgment on Jan 30, Senior Judge Tan Siong Thye ruled in favour of the tenant.

Justice Tan found that Dash Living has a right to renew the tenancy for a period of two years at a monthly rent not more than 10 per cent above the current monthly rent, or $49,500.

The parties had signed the tenancy agreement on Dec 17, 2021.

In April 2023, the parties began discussions over renewal of the lease.

The landlord proposed to renew the lease at a revised monthly rent of around $76,000 on the basis that it had been offered that amount by a third party.

The tenant then highlighted the clause stipulating the rental cap.

The landlord rebuffed this, saying that the clause did not operate since there was no agreement on the renewal period, and therefore a new rate and term of rental had to be negotiated.

On Sept 14, 2023, the general manager of the hotel sent an e-mail to Mr Hoon, stating that the tenant will exercise its right to renew the tenancy for another two years.

Mr Hoon and his company took Dash Living to court, arguing that the tenant should vacate the premises once the lease expires.

Dash Living countered with its own court action, arguing that the landlord should renew the lease.

In his judgment, Justice Tan concluded that the parties did indeed intend for the lease to be renewed for two years.

The judge noted that Mr Hoon had told his lawyers not to state the duration of the renewed lease in the clause.

Justice Tan said this surreptitious omission suggests that the landlord intended to nullify the effect of the clause if the monthly rent goes up so that he would not be bound to lease the property to the tenant with the rental cap for another two years.

“This sinister intention of the landlord is unethical and inequitable,” said the judge.

Justice Tan also considered that before entering into the tenancy agreement, the parties had signed a letter of intent, or LOI, which expressly stated that the tenant has the option to renew the lease for a further two years.

The judge rejected Mr Hoon’s explanation that his signing of the document did not represent his acceptance of the terms, and that he only signed to trigger the timeline for the preparation of the tenancy agreement.

The judge said this explanation was “disingenuous”.

“If Mr Hoon truly did not accept the terms of the LOI, he should not and did not have to sign the LOI. Alternatively, he could have removed the period of the renewal of the tenancy agreement in the LOI before he signed,” said Justice Tan.



peesai rich people problem, just wayang....real issues will never get addressed.......run road while you still can


These SME typical bosses. Don't have much brain matter but kept on lecching onto PAP rental seeking economy. They add no value to the economy. But they are land owner. And create no value