M'sian Man Found Dead In PJ Condo Unit After Landlord Allegedly Locked It From The Outside
An e-hailing driver was found dead in his rented condominium unit in Petaling Jaya, Selangor after his landlord allegedly locked the unit from the outside
The tenant, who is said to be in his 40s, had been living in the unit in Mutiara Damansara for the past 18 years, reported Sin Chew Daily.
The landlord, surnamed Lu (transliteration), told the Chinese daily that the tenant had been paying his rent on time over the years. She said the tenant would normally meet her at a mall or at her home to pay the rent in cash.
It is understood that the rent for the three-bedroom unit was RM800 before it was raised to RM1,000 two years ago.
Lu said that the unit came without any furniture when the tenant first rented it. Out of respect for his privacy, she never came to check the condition of the unit over the past 18 years, adding that she did not know the tenant's living conditions.
In March this year, the tenant told Lu that he could not pay his rent on time as he had been in a road accident while on a business trip in Johor. Allegedly, that turned out to be Lu's last interaction with him.
Lu said she called the deceased 30 times in May, but he did not answer
Lu said this caused her to believe that the tenant had vacated the unit, adding that she proceeded to use a chain to lock the unit from the outside on 2 July.
Three weeks later, the deceased was found dead on 23 July, after his neighbour notified the police about a foul smell emanating from the unit.
The deceased's family is currently suing the landlord, claiming that her actions led the deceased to die of starvation.
However, Selangor police chief Hussein Omar Khan told Sin Chew Daily that an autopsy revealed the tenant died of a heart attack, not of starvation.
The case has been classified as a sudden death, as the police have not discovered any criminal elements.
Meanwhile, the family's lawyer, Phang Soon Mun, said the tenant was only three months behind on rent
Phang claimed that the tenant was unable to seek help after being locked in the unit because he had no money to top up his phone.
He also said that landlords should not detain their tenants who are behind on their rent.
"If the tenant defaults on the rent, the landlord can obtain a court order, or deal with it through the small claims court, and the tenant must not be locked out," The Straits Times quoted him as saying.
However, Lu said the tenant could have saved himself as the balconies of the unit's living room and kitchen are very close to the neighbour's balconies.
She contended that the tenant could have easily asked for help, adding that there are also people below the condominium who could have heard his cries for help.