Condo rental in Singapore

The number of people coming to Singapore for work-related purposes is rising, and so is the need for rented condominiums. The duration of stay is, of course, dependent on the length of work contracts. These typically start from 1-2 years, but many expats end up staying longer! Therefore, most people bring their families along for the adventure. If you are coming to Singapore, and are bringing your family, then this guide will help you with the process.

How renting in Singapore works

If you are an expat coming to stay in Singapore for a short while,  then renting a Singapore condominium is the standard option. You need to consider where in Singapore you are going to work, where your spouse would be working, your budget, and the amenities and facilities required. Renting in Singapore, of course, is also dependent on the neighborhood you are planning to live in. For example, if you are looking for a condo in Orchard Road, it would be around $6500 for a comfortable three-bedroom apartment. If you are looking for a condo in the East Coast, it would be around $3500 for old ones and $5000 for newer ones. You can leverage Greyloft’s search platform to find the right condominiums that work for you here – Singapore condo rental platform

Factors to consider while renting in Singapore

Hiring a property agent in Singapore

Property agent Singapore

The first thing to do is engage a real estate agent experienced in expat condo rentals. As you might be unfamiliar with the rules of renting in Singapore, the easiest thing to do is to hire a broker. A veteran in this field will help you protect your interests, while advising you on which kind of property to look for and what kind of documents to carry. Ideally, hiring a broker would be perfect even if you are in a hurry to find a rental property. There is no point in hiring more than one, because all the brokers would most probably be carrying the same database of neighbourhoods, so it is just a waste of time, money and effort, not to speak of the embarrassment that may arise when you show up at a prospective landlord’s doorstep twice or thrice, with different brokers. As long as you have a broker who is experienced, prompt and punctual, you will not have to seek another.

Guidance while choosing where to live in Singapore

Where to live in Singapore - Holland village

One of the primary roles of the broker is to help you choose the ‘location’. You can research on your own and suggest any particular neighborhood (Where to live in Singapore?), or you can entrust the entire task to the broker who would suggest neighborhoods, depending on your preferences. Hence, it is imperative that you have an idea of the facilities required in your Singapore condominium, so it would be easier during the final search. While analyzing your needs and requirements, it is equally important to budget yourself as it would help you narrow down to certain neighbourhoods and even certain condos in those neighbourhoods. The condo housing market is pretty competitive, and the prices are also pretty high, so while you start your property search for renting a condo in Singapore, you can draw up your personal preferences as well.

Letter of Intent (LOI)

Letter of Intent Singapore

Letter of Intent or LOI is prepared by the tenant to assure the landlord that he is serious about renting. Once the LOI is completed and entrusted to the landlord, he will not rent out the property to anyone else, but him. The landlord goes through the LOT, countersigns it and gives it back to the tenant, who will give him a good faith deposit, as an extra assurance. This convinces the landlord even further that the tenant would not rent elsewhere and even if for any reason, the tenant is not able to keep his commitment, the good faith deposit is non-refundable. Though LOI is a short letter, it must contain the following:

Term of lease – In a standard lease agreement, the term of lease would be one year, and it can be renewed before the 12 months are up.

Security Deposit – You must pay at least one month’s pay in advance as security deposit. Once you sign the tenancy agreement, you can pay this amount.

Good faith deposit This is also known as booking deposit and once you give a month’s rent as good faith deposit, it binds the landlord from renting the property to anyone else.

Diplomatic clause – This is applicable for only those leases that last a year, it aims to protect your interests in case you become unemployed during the course of the lease period. Once you give a two-month notice, the lease will be terminated after 12 months and the security deposit returned.

Any specific requests – This is where you pen any specific requests to the landlord, for example, a new kitchen sink, a couch in the living room. Once the landlord signs the LOI, he is entitled to heed and fulfill your requests.

Singapore apartment rental guide download

Getting your Tenancy Agreement

Tenancy Agreement Singapore

Once you receive the Letter Of Intent from the landlord, he would draw a tenancy agreement as well. A Tenancy Agreement is much more detailed than the LOI. Though prepared by the landlord, you must spend as much time going through it in detail as you can. The Tenancy Agreement or the TA, as it is popularly referred to, discusses the terms and conditions of the lease agreement. Probably, more than one draft of the agreement would be drawn to ensure all the clauses are added. The expenses incurred to draw the agreement would of course, be borne by the tenant. Given the situation, the landlord has the freedom to deduct money from the security deposits, should you violate any clauses in the agreement.

A TA is considered complete if it contains the following details:

  • The contact details of both the tenant and the landlord
  • Date at which you (as tenant) have to pay rent
  • The complete rent amount
  • Penalty for late payment
  • Mode of paying the rent
  • The lease term
  • Termination classes and details
  • Security deposit to be paid
  • Final inventory of property

Here are some more details covered in the Tenancy Agreement. The agreement has certain clichéd terms that you must be aware of.

Drawing an expatriate clause – This clause is also mentioned in a TA. This is solely to protect you in case you are rendered unemployed, or you have to visit another country for work purposes. This is also known as Diplomatic clause, Reimbursement clause or the Escape clause

Installing utilities – You will have to pay for the installation charges and all other clauses incurred if you want to put in television, telephone, computer internet and other utilities.

Repairs and upgrades – You have to keep the property in good condition. If there are any repairs to be made, then you will have to pay for it. This is the same for minor upgrades as well.

Stamp duty – Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore must stamp the TA in Singapore. This is to ensure validity in the contract, in case there is any dispute that arises between you and the landlord. You, as the tenant would have to incur the cost incurred for this.

Mistakes to avoid while renting a condominium in Singapore

Despite the fact that you are in a hurry, do not make compromises because it would all eventually lead to problems. So here is a quick look at the mistakes you might make while renting in negligence:

  • Hiring an unreliable broker as you don’t have the time to get a condo
  • Continuing on, even if you are stuck with a particular agent; you are not married to him, so get out of it if your requirements are going to be compromised
  • Singapore does have certain distinct neighborhoods; you can visit Greyloft, a premium service provider for expats to view different kinds of condos
  • Everything turned out to be perfect, except for the commute time; you failed to check that
  • Getting advice from friends and family is good enough, but do not rely that as the final judgement
  • The bedroom size may be smaller than you imagined, so you must always have a minimum space requirement
  • Space is a premium factor in Singapore, so if you want to keep aside a couple of rooms for guest visits, then you will have to pay more

How Greyloft can help you

In order to ensure that you do not make any mistakes while renting in Singapore, you can get in touch with Greyloft. The main attraction of Greyloft is that you can do everything online, right from viewing the condos, to short listing them, choosing a particular one and finally, signing and paying online. You are entitled to a wealth of information when you associate with Greyloft, with of course, no strings attached.

For a tenant, the refund of his money is quite important after he decides to move out of the condo. Greyloft assures expert guidance when you are renting a condominium. There are certain landlords who hesitate to part with the deposit money and would give the tenants excuses for not refunding. But when you rent a condo through the services of Greyloft, we assure that your deposits will be protected and you will be sufficiently refunded, in case you have to relocate to another country. We have highly experienced brokers in Singapore who have been working in the field for several years, so you can trust our advice completely, both for renting a condominium and for getting back your deposit when you move out.

Singapore apartment rental guide download

Also published on Medium.

Co-Founder and CTO at Greyloft, a technology enabled property brokerage in Singapore