Malaysian tenant tragically dies locked inside apartment amid unpaid rent dispute

tenant

Tenant's apartment conditions and the door lock (Photo: Sin Chew Daily)

MALAYSIA: A heartbreaking incident recently transpired in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, involving the unfortunate demise of a tenant who was tragically locked inside his apartment for an extended duration.

As reported by Sin Chew Daily, the tenant, a man in his 40s working as an e-hailing platform driver, had fallen behind on his rent payments for a minimum of three months.

In response, the landlord took the drastic step of securing the apartment unit, apparently unaware of the tenant’s presence inside.

Deprived of the means to reload his phone credits, the tenant found himself ensnared without any way to convey his predicament or seek assistance.

The exact measures he took to garner attention or request help during this ordeal remain uncertain.

Approximately a month after this tragic episode began, neighbours stumbled upon the tenant’s lifeless body.

Of particular distress to both the community and his family was his markedly emaciated condition, a stark contrast to his previously healthier appearance, as evident in photographs taken prior to the incident.

The family take legal action against the landlord

This incident has stirred significant concern and outrage among community members and loved ones.

The grieving family of the tenant is currently preparing to initiate legal proceedings against the landlord, alleging negligence on the landlord’s part.

One of the attorneys representing the family underscored that regardless of the landlord’s awareness of the tenant’s presence within the apartment, locking him in amounted to a perilous and potentially life-threatening action.

Instead of resorting to such drastic measures, the landlord should have pursued legal channels, such as obtaining a court order or seeking recourse through a small claims court, to address the unpaid rent situation.

“This is the first instance of such a heart-wrenching case in his entire legal career,” the attorney added.

He is dedicated to raising awareness about this situation to avert any similar occurrences in the future.

Landlord’s misapprehension

According to the landlord’s account to Sin Chew Daily, she believed that the deceased had vacated the premises and did not send anyone to inspect the interior by forcibly entering the unit.

It wasn’t until the evening of July 2nd, at 7:30 pm, that she went to the unit and secured the iron door from the exterior.

Only after receiving a call from the police did she grasp that something had gone awry.

Prior to that, she had made multiple unsuccessful attempts to contact the deceased via phone calls.

tenant
The landlord try to contact the tenant (Photo: Sin Chew Daily)

She asserted that she thinks the deceased had ample opportunities to rescue himself.

She expressed bewilderment at the family’s suspicion that the tenant perished due to starvation.

Her reasoning lies in the close proximity of the living room balcony and the small kitchen balcony to the neighboring unit’s balcony.

Additionally, there is a continuous flow of individuals on the ground floor.

Subsequent to the incident, she was contacted by an investigating officer, requesting her consent for the deceased’s family to retrieve his belongings.

On 29 July, the deceased’s mother, aunt, and another individual came to gather the deceased’s personal documents and possessions by 5:19 pm.

She noted that their interaction was minimal.

Latest developments and autopsy results

In a recent update, an autopsy disclosed that the man’s demise resulted from a heart attack, contrary to earlier suspicions of starvation, as conveyed by Selangor police chief Hussein Omar Khan on Sunday (13 Aug).

Hussein clarified that the case is still categorized as a sudden death report, as no indications of criminal involvement have emerged thus far.

He urged the public to reach out with any pertinent information, as the police continue to amass evidence.

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