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Can't use kitchen, privacy issues, landlord in the house? Please help.

Can a foreigner buy...? Can a foreigner rent...? What about deposits? Bad neighbors? Unreasonable landlords? Miscellaneous problems?
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Can't use kitchen, privacy issues, landlord in the house? Please help.

Postby apologize » 05 Nov 2015, 23:24

Ok so I'm going start from the beginning:

I moved into a room (in something that i only recently found out used to be government housing) with two other roomates (neither of which has a contract). It later turns out there is a third roommate, the landlord in person (although they had previously told me they didn't live here).

The contract i signed was handwritten in chinese by the landlord and I, it just mentions how much rent i will be paying monthly, how much deposit (1 month) and to keep the environment clean and quiet. I have a photo of this contract in my phone. I paid the deposit and 1st month's rent in cash. (no receipt)

A few weeks later I am minding my own business frying a steak in the kitchen and the landlord comes in to scold me for frying things. According to them I am not allowed to fry things because they say so, that i can use the kitchen to boil but no frying. There is a smoke extractor and the kitchen is well equipped, the landlord says that frying lets cockroaches in. I tell the landlord that I don't agree because this was never mentioned in the contract and if I had known i wasn't allowed to use the kitchen I wouldn't have moved in here. The landlord then says that I am free to go if I don't want to abide by the rules.

Problem 1) I really really NEED to use the kitchen to cook, I clean up impeccably after i use it and i use my own utensils. Can I just tell the landlord that was never mentioned in the contract and keep using the kitchen as i please?

Also, one day the landlord sent me a message that i should clean the trash in my room (a pile of papers in the bin and empty plastic bottles to be sent to recycling on the corresponding day.
Problem 2) The landlord must have come into my room while I was out to see this, otherwise there is no way they would've found out.

Problem 3) If i break the rules that are not mentioned in our 'contract' can the landlord kick me out?

Issue: I'm pretty sure this is illegal because the landlord said we base this 'on trust'.
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Re: Can't use kitchen, privacy issues, landlord in the house? Please help.

Postby Nuit » 05 Nov 2015, 23:46

Move.
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Re: Can't use kitchen, privacy issues, landlord in the house? Please help.

Postby apologize » 05 Nov 2015, 23:57

Nuit wrote:Move.


But what about the deposit? Should I report this to anyone?
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Re: Can't use kitchen, privacy issues, landlord in the house? Please help.

Postby Nuit » 06 Nov 2015, 07:43

I don't know. You could always try to delay month 2 rent ("sorry - Aunt Bertha hasn't sent my allowance yet, because she's in hospital"), and then suddenly move as late as possible in that month. Deposits are always tricky & I'm not the right one to ask.

But he sounds exactly the sort of landlord you don't want. Telling you he doesn't live there, and then suddenly he does. Entering your room. Prohibitive rules.
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Re: Can't use kitchen, privacy issues, landlord in the house? Please help.

Postby urodacus » 06 Nov 2015, 08:31

Move after not paying rent for 2 months. The problem is that you still have to put up with that shit for two months.
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Re: Can't use kitchen, privacy issues, landlord in the house? Please help.

Postby Icon » 06 Nov 2015, 09:59

It is illegal for the landlord to enter your room. Yes, you have the right to a lock. Once you sign and pay, the landlord needs your permission to enter the premises.

You are supposed to have a hard copy of the contract. Not to have one is illegal. handwritten or otherwise. Most people use a printed standard copy you buy for a few NTDs at 7-11.

Never sign a contract without a witness. Now it is your word against his. He can claim he told you he lived on premises, he can claim he gave you a copy of the lease.

For the time being, you can go to Tsui Mama. www.tmm.org.tw They can straighten and clarify a few things for you.

Do not stay in this situation for the sake of a kitchen, even if the guy swindles you out of two months rent you just can't stay there under these circumstances. One thing is a "misunderstanding", another one downright irrational, can't argue with them, make rules on the fly kind of people. Out. Today. Now.

Yes, you have recourse. But I would put your valuables away first.

There are many places with kitchens. Apartments and rooms are a dime a dozen. If you need help, say so. Never rent a place without a local or any other person with you as witness. Take pictures of the place before you move in. Take pictures afterwards.
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Re: Can't use kitchen, privacy issues, landlord in the house? Please help.

Postby ironlady » 06 Nov 2015, 10:03

Check out the below. I've been out of Taiwan for awhile, but likely much of this hasn't changed much.

You can sue in small claims very cheaply. I'm not saying to actually do it, but if it comes to it -- I mean, if the landlord somehow refuses to return your deposit, in full, in cash -- and there is no "penalty clause" for moving out early, right?? -- letting him know that you know how to do this might loosen things up. The first step (not really suing, just preparatory) is easy. All you need to do is go down to the Post Office and fill out a Registered Evidentiary Letter form. (It is supposed to be in Chinese, but for the purpose of just scaring the landlord it probably wouldn't matter, or else get someone to write something short and sweet for you in Chinese. They need three copies of it, and one gets sent in a nice official scary envelope to your landlord. It tends to get their attention if nothing else will. Obviously you know his address...

The other card that sometimes works with landlords is letting them know you realize they owe tax on their rent. If you have a photo of that "lease", I'm sure that the tax people would just assume you had paid every month, rather than taking the side of someone who would otherwise be owing them money. It would be cheaper for the landlord if you simply accepted the return of your deposit, in full, instead of dragging everyone through a proceeding with the tax people. YOU have nothing to lose.

In both of these cases, you may want to opt to move out FIRST, get another place without revealing where you are going, and then try to recover your deposit. Take tons of photos (video too) of the room, kitchen, etc. when you leave. If possible, take another person with you and have them appear in the photos/video so they could potentially testify (again, not that it will get that far, but having a witness will add intimidation power against the landlord if needed.)

If it were me, I'd clear out first and get to a place where I felt secure, then think about getting the deposit money. Otherwise, just stop paying the rent. It could be amusing to claim that you'd paid the rent for "this month" already -- how can he prove you DIDN'T give him cash? But again, I'd prefer to get out of there first. Most of the confrontational stuff is daydream or from-a-distance material more than anything else.
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