For Landlords

Why Tenants Overstay— and How We Solved It

On a typical day, property regularly gets rented out to tenants who sign the tenancy agreement. Tenants keep to the rules, responsibilities and timeframe for which they are allowed to stay for. Once their time is up, they pack their belongings, clean the house, and then move out. The property is ready to be rented out to the next person. All is well. 

However, there are also those tenants who make things difficult by overstaying. It could be for whatever reason be it financial constraints, difficulty finding the next unit to move into, emotional attachment, lack of awareness of the terms, or their personal circumstances. Regardless, overstaying poses a major inconvenience to the landlord. Overstaying past the end of the tenancy is a breach of contract, which may create legal complications. Not only that, landlords are at risk of losing rental income when the overstaying tenant refuses to pay, which in turn might affect the landlord’s credit and reputation. 

Notwithstanding what landlords have to deal with, here is one real-life example of how SPEEDHOME dealt with a tenant who overstayed.


Our dear tenant – let’s call him Mr. Ten – had initially rented property from our platform. The tenancy agreement which Mr. Ten signed was bound to end on 31 July 2021. As the end date drew near, it became more and more evident that he had not made any preparations to move out or even settle outstanding rental dues. The outstanding payment was found to amount to 3 months’ worth of rental fees. Mr. Ten here was in clear violation of the agreed-upon terms in the tenancy agreement.

Extension Attempt Failed; Time to Move Out.

Mr. Ten had formally approached SPEEDHOME in August 2021 requesting for an extension to stay in the property. SPEEDHOME was willing to agree to the request provided that Mr. Ten would pay the outstanding rent in full. Unfortunately, he did not fulfill the commitment, leading to SPEEDHOME requesting the return of the keys as per the original agreement.

Despite this, Mr. Ten continued staying on the property until 17 August 2021. SPEEDHOME had to constantly apply pressure on him to retrieve the keys and eventually, Mr. Ten returned the keys to the SPEEDHOME representative on that day. The property inspection was conducted two days later and thankfully, revealed that Mr. Ten had left the house in an acceptable condition.

Unusual Requests and Prior Issues.

Throughout the tenancy, Mr. Ten made several unusual requests that raised concerns. These included:

  • Asking for an extra month to find a new home,
  • Using the excuse of losing their job during the MCO (Movement Control Order) to miss rent payments, and
  • Inquiring if they could hand their keys to a neighbour instead of SPEEDHOME when moving out.

These requests created a sense of unease for SPEEDHOME, as they appeared to be attempts to delay responsibilities and avoid fulfilling obligations. 

Being Considerate in the face of the MCO.

SPEEDHOME did show Mr. Ten some understanding and was considerate to his situation during the MCO in 2021. Despite the leeway given, however, Mr. Ten did not follow through on promises made. He ultimately ended up leaving SPEEDHOME with three months’ worth of unpaid rent, which caused significant financial strain. 

What Did We Learn?

Our experience with Mr. Ten here emphasises important lessons for landlords to know and be mindful of:

  1. Clarity in Contracts: It is essential to be clear and detailed with the potential renter on the terms of the tenancy agreement. This includes outlining the rights, responsibilities, and timelines for the tenancy which will take place. In Mr. Ten’s case, it would seem that despite renting with us, his overstay attempt showed lack of awareness of (or that he simply forgot about) the terms of the agreement. If the tenancy agreement says you move out on 31 July 2021, you don’t have the right to overstay. 
  1. Communicate Effectively: Open and transparent communication is vital to resolving any issues that may arise during the tenancy period. Any concerns that the tenant has should be discussed promptly and work towards mutually agreeable solutions. In this case, Mr. Ten did raise his issue of losing his source of income during the MCO, and some leeway was provided to him, but he used it as an excuse and did not appear to make attempts to pay back the outstanding rent. 
  1. Set Clear Boundaries: Landlords need to enforce the terms of the tenancy agreement and maintain clear boundaries to avoid tenants overstaying or disregarding their obligations. In our dealing with Mr. Ten, he tried to plead with us, manipulating the circumstances to his favour and disregarding his obligations as a tenant by missing rent and not moving out on time.
  1. Be Cautious of Unusual Requests: Landlords ought to be wary of tenants making unusual or unreasonable requests. These may be attempts to manipulate the situation or delay fulfilling obligations. Missing rent payments because of a loss of job and needing more time to look for a new house may be some valid concerns, but who gives keys to their neighbours? All those are excuses and ways Mr. Ten used to overstay and escape paying rent. 

The case of the overstayed tenant serves as a cautionary tale for landlords. Learning from this, landlords ought to be vigilant and facilitate clear understanding of contracts, open communication, and enforce responsible conduct to ensure a smooth rental experience for all parties involved. 

Landlords who have rented out properties with SPEEDHOME have no need to worry as we perform tenant background checks for you. Not only that, but we also provide you with Overstay Cash Defender so that you can still receive rental income for tenants who overstay. 

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