Security Deposit

Can anyone tell me if there is a practical court or forum, (ie small claims court) where landlords can be held accountable.

After going to considerable trouble (see advt oriented housing “pool, spa, restaurant etc”) to advertise my apartment (after agreement with my landlord that if I found someone new, he would not keep any bond) and after finding a wonderful new tenant for him. He decided that this prospective tenant was not suitable, without meeting the prospective tenant, or having any information whatsoever about the tenant. Obviously he has found someone himself, and he is content to go back on his word.

He intends to keep one months rent, when he will rent to apartment out straight away no doubt.

I accept that it may not be possible to force him to keep his word, but he has charged three months rent as deposit -which I’m told is illegal.

The apartment has been left spotlessly clean, and the plan is to meet him on Friday, the last day of the monthly contract. He has now threatened my girlfriend, that if we cannot reach an agreement on final adjustment of the power and electricity, we will have to continue to rent the house for another month. Another ploy to charge more rent.

He has become rude and aggressive when talking to my girlfriend, in whose name the apartment is rented, and insulted her by calling her a difficult customer (Ou-kae. -It’s unusual for difficult customers to pay rent before its due -every month.)

Is there any practical way that a just solution can be found, or is it a case of kiss your money goodbye?

Any suggestions appreciated!

Johnny S

Please provide more information on where you are living: the city or county, the district, or village, etc. Your specific street number and address is not needed, but all the other details of your location in Taiwan would be helpful.

The apartment is in Taipei County, Dansuie Town, (Hong Shu-lin) Section 2 Chung Chern East Rd.

I am due to meet the owner tomorrow night, which is the due date for this months rental, to finalise.

I will check this site tomorrow, to see if there may be any suggestions.

Thanks for your assistance.

John S

There will be a tiao2 jie2 wei3 yuan2 huei4 in the local government office there somewhere. That is a mediation (or negotiation) committee, that arranges meetings between disputing individuals.

However, if you go visit them, it will take a minimum of a week or two to set up a meeting with all the parties involved. Good luck.


I have heard that it is illegal for a landlord to take 3 months deposit. Is this true? If it is, can anyone site the law?

The law prohibiting landlords from asking for more than 2 month’s rent (in cash) as security deposit in provided for in Land Law Article 99.

What a nightmare.

Story goes like this …

A mate and myself lived in Mucha. The mate studied Qi Gong with a grandmaster far from where we live. The grandmaster helped us to get an apartment closer to the Qi Gong school. The Grandmaster made arrangements and signed the lease for the apartment. The Grandmaster left Taiwan (a full 6 months ago - meaning halfway through the lease) for good and is impossible to reach.

Now at the end of our lease (we paid directly into the landlord’s account) we are told we will not get the deposit back as the landlord wants to pay the deposit back to Grandmaster - which signed the lease. Fair enough …

BUT it’s not his (grandmaster’s) money, he is not reachable, the landlord knows this and knows we are the ones that lived in the house and paid the rent.

What to do? I understand the landlord’s argument … yet I feel he knows it is our money … and now taking a chance to keep it since we can’t reach the grandmaster.

What are our options ? Frankly I am not to keen on throwing away a pocket full of money and giving in … I WANT IT BACK !!

Before I pose any solution to this dilemma, please clarify the following: (1) How much longer do you expect to be in Taiwan? (2) Where is your new residence going to be ? MuCha? Where? (3) What is the amount of the deposit that you wish to have refunded? (4) How would you describe the current landlord’s “level of cooperativeness” and “level of sympathy for your plight”? (5) What the landlord may be worried about is that if the Grandmaster shows up, and he has already refunded the money to you, the Grandmaster may ask to get it back too!! Your comments?

So please clarify the above issues. Also, as an aside, I would say that the TYPICAL CHINESE HANDLING OF SUCH A CASE WOULD BE THE FOLLOWING: Don’t move out. In other words, if your deposit is for three months, just stay the extra three months, and tell the landlord you are out of work or whatever, and will pay him later! When the three months are up, you are both square, so it is BYE-BYE.

Richard’s comment "TYPICAL CHINESE HANDLING OF SUCH A CASE " is something that I would like to hear more of.

We often read about various problems and nightmares, and we often try to think of solutions in either Western or Legal terms.

It would be great to get more insight on how the Taiwanese would deal with certain situations.

Originally posted by Hartzell: Before I pose any solution to this dilemma, please clarify the following: (1) How much longer do you expect to be in Taiwan? (2) Where is your new residence going to be ? MuCha? Where? (3) What is the amount of the deposit that you wish to have refunded? (4) How would you describe the current landlord's "level of cooperativeness" and "level of sympathy for your plight"? (5) What the landlord may be worried about is that if the Grandmaster shows up, and he has already refunded the money to you, the Grandmaster may ask to get it back too!! Your comments?
  1. I expect to stay here for another year or so …
  2. I LIVED in mucha then moved to the current house for a year and will move again now because of the end of lease. Whereto is a guess, but in Taipei though.
    3)NT$ 50 000 was the deposit of which NT$ 40 000 is mine and the rest a flatmate’s.
    4)He understands, yet feels he is not sure if the money is actually ours - WHICH IT IS !!
    5)The grandmaster WILL NOT return to Taiwan as he left his 3rd/4th/5th (??) wife here and alot of debt … also his (actually the wife’s) qi gong school. He has big money problems and “dissapeared” if I could put it like that … He will not be back.

Your advice sounds great, but what about police ?

If you’re quite sure that the grandmaster is not coming back and you can prove that(such as testimony from his wife, etc.), then go to the police, telling them your problem, and ask the police if the landlord can return you the deposit if the grandmaster doesn’t show up in three months or in whatever period. Also, Tell them you will not run away, and are willing to confront (or testify, sorry, I don’t know the correct English expression, not my mother tongue)with the grandmaster if he does show up and claim his rights to the deposit.

Also, before you go to the police, you can tell your landlord that you’re going to do that, just to intimidate him a bit in case he and the grandmaster are actually on the same side trying to con your money.

But remember, although I don’t know law very well, you guys really don’t have much legal ground, given that you guys were so stupid to let a third person to sign the lease for you, without letting the landlord know in advance that you guys are the real people who pay EVERYTHING!!!

On the other hand, Richard’s solution is not so dumb!! Before you go to the police, if you are sure you won’t get the money back given your very weak legal stance, but you really want to get the money back, then an eye for an eye!! If there is still 2-3 months away before the lease expires, then tell the landlord to collect the rent from the grandmaster since he is the one who signed the lease. And then when the lease is due, sayonana, bye bye, au revoir, and he can’t push you to leave now since the lease is not due yet. But first make sure what the landlord is entiled to do according to your lease when a tenant doesn’t pay rent on time.

Just think what you will do when you are in your country. When it comes to legal issue, the way to handle it is quite similar everywhere.

Good luck

Or ye could just call a few mates around (I’d like to go too) and then give the facker a little ting a ling ling, when he walks in wade in with the duffs and fack him up so bad he don’t walk out again, yer up fer it?

I’ve had dealings with the police and they were largely unsympathetic and uncooperative and if they side with the landlord, then he’s got the moral and legal high ground (at least in his mind)

If the contract doesn’t say that the deposit is to be refunded to (Your Name Here) you probably won’t get it back. I wouldn’t give it to you.

I think Hartzell’s solution rocks. Taiwan has all sorts of regulations that allow tenants to stay past the final date of the lease. Given this, the landlord is not likely to do something drastic like torch the place below you to smoke ya out. 'Sides, it would be a learning experience in Chinese style confrontaion and culture trying to pull that one off. Learning can be fun.

So the Grandmaster left the country? What about the Furious Five - can’t they help?

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself - I just love it when people call themselves Grandmaster, Imperial Wizard, Generalissimo, Poobah-For-Life, etc. These figures invariably command sooooo much respect. Not.

Hahahaha - funny and helpfull … well, not really.

I paid 3 months deposit, and have 3 months left on my lease. My landlord thinks I should continue paying the rent until the end of the lease, as he wants to have the 3 months as a damage deposit. I dont trust this guy because he lies and plays tricks all the time, so I am worried that he will find creative ways to not pay me back all the damage deposit. I said I will continue to live there for the next 3 months and he can use the deposit for the rent. Now he wants me to leave by the end of the month and is threatening to use police, etc. Any thoughts?

If you happen to be renting in Taipei City, it is ILLEGAL to take 3 months deposit. The law states that 2 months is the maximum. Just FYI/BTW. If you feel secure enough, you might want to ask him if he’s reporting that rental income and paying the tax on it…but that might also put him into an even worse mood… :astonished:

It’s a deposit. You get it back when you leave. You have to pay rent until then. Then he gives you the deposit. If he doesn’t, take him to the small claims court, or rip out anything that will move form the aprtment.


Actually, the last thing I want to do is go to small claims court. Considering i dont speak the language and am a foreigner here, I dont think my chances of winning would be that good. Does anyone know if this guy can force me out with the police, or is it a long drawn out process that will probably take 3 months anyway?

You paid three months deposit. You knew what that meant. Has your landlord cheated you or acted in bad faith? Is there any specific reason you have for wanting to break the contract? I believe that both parties, including you, should act in good faith. Which means that you need to keep paying rent right up until the last month. After you move out, and it is clear that there is no damage to his property, the landlord should be able to return most of your money to you fairly quickly, with the balance returned once he has ascertained that there are no outstanding debts, i.e. long-distance phone bills, unpaid utilities, etc. You both entered into an agreement. You need to keep up your end of it as much as he does.

Now you say he has lied to you and played tricks on you. Can you elaborate? What kind of lies and tricks? Substantial enough that you want to break the contract, I guess. I can understand wanting to cover your ass, but I also believe in fair play. A pre-emptive dirty trick is still a dirty trick.