Guides for Expats

Expat Guide - Rent Property in SingaporeExpat Guide - Rent Property in SingaporeExpat Guide - Rent Property in Singapore

Singapore Expats leasing, renting guide - This page covers a step by step guide and information on the procedures for expat to rent or lease property like an apartment or house in Singapore.

Please also read our Expatriates FAQ for more information.


Property Search

Engage a Realtor

A professional property agent in Singapore will assist you and protect your interest throughout the purchase, secure the offer for you at the best possible price. With a much better knowledge of Singapore, the agent will be in a better position to recommend and advice on the choice of property. He will also ensure that all documents are in order and you are dealing with the rightful owner of the property.

Use Only 1 Agent

Most property companies share the same database of property listings in Singapore. Therefore use only ONE agent at a time. If you approach many agents at the same time, very likely that they will show you the same property. Much confusion and embarrassment will arise if you engage many agents. Using 1 agent, you will save valuable time for yourself and the agent. He will then understand your needs and requirements better after a few viewings. Only if they are incompetence, unresponsive or not showing the correct property you wanted, then start to look for another agent.

Location and Price

Deciding on the right location is very important and it will determine the convenience for you family and yourself. Price - budgeting yourself will also evaluate which are the areas and apartments or houses that are suitable for you. Refer to our House Hunt Guide for more details and tips.

Documentation


You have decided on take up a property and you need to prepare the following:

  • Photocopied passport
  • Photocopied employment pass
  • One month's rental for the goodfaith deposit
Your agent will then prepare the necessary documents for you such as the Letter of Intent and Tenancy Agreement.

Letter of Intent

The Letter of Intent, LOI for short, is a letter proposing your intention to lease and your requirements to the landlord. You should take note of the following:

1. Diplomatic or Repatriate Clause

This clause is to safe guard you if in the event you are no longer employed, transferred to other countries, you can terminate the lease after 12 months by giving 2 months notice. Thereafter, the security deposit will be refunded to you. Please note that most landlords will only include the diplomatic clause if the lease is more than a year. 

2. Goodfaith Deposit (booking deposit)

This is the booking deposit, usually the amount is one month's rent. After the landlord signed the Letter of Intent and accept this deposit, he cannot rent the property to other party. This deposit will become part of the security deposit or advance rental after the Tenancy Agreement is signed.

3. Security Deposit

The amount of the security deposit is usually stated in the Letter or Intent. The standard practice in Singapore is usually one month's rent for every year of lease. It will only be payable upon signing of the Tenancy Agreement. When the lease term ends, the deposit will be refunded without interest. However, the landlord reserves the right to deduct from the deposit all costs and expenses arising from the tenant for breaching any of the covenants stated in the Tenancy Agreement.

4. Term of Lease

In Singapore, the standard lease period is more than 1 year, with or without an option to renew the lease. The lease renewal is usually for another 1 to 2 years. For the lease renewal option, the landlord would normally require that you give 2 or 3 months' advance notice of your intention to renew. Most landlords will not accept leases that are less than 1 year.

5. Your Requirements

Ensure that all your requirements and requests are stated in the Letter of Intent clearly. Like requesting a new sofa, new bed or new washing machine etc. After the landlord had signed the Letter of Intent, he is bound by the Letter to provide your requests.

Fully Furnished (F/Furn) or Partially Furnished (P/Furn)  - Fully furnished means the apartment or house you are renting comes with all the furniture, white goods (refrigerator, washer and dryer) and all the essential electric appliances. Partially furnished apartments or house usually only comes with white goods, curtains, lightings or some other loose items. Although a house may be partially furnished at the time of viewing, you can always request the landlord to fully furnish it or request him to get the items you require. All these issues are always negotiation and will determine the final rental amount.


Tenancy Agreement

After the Letter of intent is duly signed. The landlord will prepare the Tenancy Agreement. Any legal fees incurred for the drawing up of the agreement is usually borne by the tenant. However, if the landlord's agreement is acceptable, there will usually not be any legal fees involved.

If the landlord or the landlord's agent is using the standard IEA agreement, it should be fine. Your agent will then ensure that the Tenancy Agreement is fair and unbiased.

You will need to prepare the rest of the security deposit and advance rental upon signing of the Tenancy Agreement. For 1 year lease - 1 month's deposit and 1 month's advance rental. For 2 years lease - 2 month's deposit and 1 month's advance rental. Minus the goodfaith deposit (if applicable) that you have paid when signing the Letter of Intent.

These are the important terms you should take note of when signing the Tenancy Agreement:

1. Diplomatic or Escape Clause and Reimbursement Clause

Check for this clause. This clause is to safe guard you if in the event you are no longer employed, transferred to other countries, you can terminate the lease after 12 months by giving 2 months notice. Thereafter, the security deposit will be refunded to you. Please note that most landlords will only include the diplomatic clause if the lease is more than a year. 

In a standard Singapore Tenancy Agreement, there is usually the reimbursement clause together with the diplomatic clause. This clause states that if you exercise the diplomatic clause, you will have to reimburse part of the commission the landlord had paid to his agent.

The reason behind this clause is that the landlord had paid the full one month's agent commission for a 2 years lease but if you terminate the lease by exercising the diplomatic clause, hence unable to complete the full 2 years, you will have to refund the pro-rata commission. Since landlord grants the diplomatic clause, they will usually demand reimbursement clause to be included in the tenancy agreement.

2. Public Utilities, Telephone and Cable Television

The installation charges and the monthly bills for the following services are the tenant's responsibility:

  • SP Services - the water and electricity supply
  • City gas - piped gas in selected areas.
  • Singapore Telecom- residential telephone line.
  • Starhub Cable Vision (SCV) - cable television and cable broadband internet.

Although at times the tenant can request for some of the fixed bills to be included in the rental amount as a package.

3. Repairs and Maintenance

The tenant is responsible for maintaining the leased premise, carry out minor repairs at own costs. In a standard agreement, the tenant will only be responsible if the amount of the repair does not exceed S$100 or S$150.

Only major repairs and maintenance would be the landlord's responsibility provided that the damage or malfunction of appliances is not caused by the tenant's negligence.

The tenant will have to take up service contract for items such as air-conditioning, gardening, pest control or pool servicing.

4. Rental Amount

Check the rental amount. Sometimes the landlord will divide the rental amount into a. rental of premises, b. rental of furniture and fittings, c. maintenance fees. Just make sure it adds up to the correct amount that you have agreed.

5. Stamp Duty

In Singapore, Tenancy Agreement will need to be stamped by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore. Only after the Tenancy is stamped then it can be considered a valid contract as evidence in court for any disputes that may arise in the future with your landlord. This is to protect the interest of both parties. The stamp duty is usually borne by the tenant.

Computation of the stamp duty fee (updated 22 Feb 2014):

Rental Period of 4 years (48 months) or LESS

Total rental x 0.004

then round down to the nearest dollar

Example 1a Monthly rent is $5,000
Term of lease is 2 years (24 months)
Therefore, stamp fee = 5000 x 24 x 0.004 = $480

Example 1b
Monthly rent is $3,888
Term of lease is 3 years (36 months)
Therefore, stamp fee = 3888 x 36 x 0.004 = $599.872 = $559 (rounded down)

Rental Period MORE than 4 years (48 months)

Total rental divided by the number of years (average annual rent)
Then use the above answer x 0.016

then round down to the nearest dollar

Example 2a
Monthly rent is $5,000
Term of lease is 5 years (60 months)
Calculations:
5000 x 60 / 5 = 60000
60000 x 0.016 = $960
Stamp fee = $960

Example 2b
Monthly rent is $3,888
Term of lease is 6 years (72 months)
Calculations:
3888 x 72 / 6 = 46656
46656 x 0.016 = $746.496
Stamp fee = $746 (rounded down)

6. Term of Lease

The standard lease period is 1 year or more, with or without an option to renew the lease.

Taking Over the Property


The landlord will prepare an Inventory List on or before the day of handing over. Check the items listed in the inventory. Check all electrical appliances, air-con, lightings, water heater etc.

If there is anything unsatisfactory, do not panic, note it down on the inventory. Even brand new houses have defects, therefore be understanding and allow the landlord to rectify it within a reasonable period.

Commission Payable


As each realtor may charge differently, please refer to your realtor for the service fee payable.

Tenant and landlord should ensure that an invoice from a licenced real estate agency is issued to them. Upon payment, do not pay cash directly to the realtor, instead, issue a cross-cheque payable to the realtor's agency according to the invoice.

Related Page

   
Re: Salary Negotiation

brian_singapore:
On salary discussions (with HR) - or at least within my MNC conpany its fine to go in with a higher salary then they are able to pay.

HR won't provide any feedback at the first stage and will go back and provide a recommendation to the hiring manager based on a combination of salary expectations, internal benchmarking and budget for the position.

Once they get confirmation on the recommendation, this will always go back to the candidate as a verbal offer, even if its substantially less. This was the case with one of my recent hires whose ask was 30k higher then what we were willing to pay.

This may vary with other employers as HR is the last step and they are the only ones who (should) be discussing salary.

But its broadly been the case in other companies I've worked even when hiring managers have conducted the negotiations.

Key to remember is once you get to the negotiation stage, the hiring manager will do their best to hire you ad they are keen at that point. So they are almost always likely to come back with an offer even if under your expectations.

Re: 3-7 December with 2 pre-scholl kids

sundaymorningstaple:
Hello everyone,

I`m trying to make a good plan for our 3,5 day in Singapore. We are travelling with 2 small kids (4 and 5 years old). Look at our schedule please and give some advice, because I`m lost in so many web pages about Singapore :)

3 Dec 11.30 am we`re landing, our hotel is V-Bencoolen.


7 Dec 6 pm we are leaving Singapure

We would like to see:

1. Aquarium (or Underwater World and Dolphins Lagoone, which is better for kids, who love fish and reefs?)

2. ZOO (is there special attractions during weekend?)

3. Jurong Bird Park

4. River Safari
See comments under Zoo.
5. Legoland (is there special attractions during weekend?) How to get there in low cost?

6. Garden By the Bay

7. The Botanical Garden

Is it realistic to see it all during this time?
You will be probably shagged on the day of your arrival (especially the little ones). So I think I'd rest and maybe contact the concierge about getting tickets in advance if you can. Possibly a stroll down Orchard Road in the evening with the Christmas Lights up. It's worth it and you can shut it down whenever the little ones shag out.
1. First full day, Underwater World in the morning (check opening times) then close by is the Botanical Gardens (this is probably more for adults but if the weather's nice it's good for an door spread among the lush foliage there (lot of walking). However, I personally would give it a miss in favour of Gardens By the Bay. Lot of walking there as well, but a lot more interesting things to see including the steel trees.
2. 2nd full day, If you can walk on the 2nd day. You might want to spend it at the Zoo/River Safari/Night Safari (all three would be a bit much but again, river safari and night safari will be in boats and trams so maybe all three can be done. That will pretty much fill up the day and night for the 2nd day.
3. 3rd Day, if you were able to walk after day 1 and still walk after day 2, then maybe the Jurong Bird Park would/could be in order in the morning (half a day should do it as there is also transport the western side of the island). After lunch come back into town and maybe a trip to the Singapore Museum would be in order. Again, in the evening, some sightseeing around town, like the Esplanade, A stroll down boat/clark quay in the evening. Or after lunch a trip out to Kallang to the brand new National Stadium with the retracting roof. There are tours of the facility there but I've not checked that out yet.
4. 4th day? Fill it in with whatever you were too tired to do after the lunch break on the 2nd or 3rd days Or, take a gamble by trying to go to Lego World in Malaysia.
5. Leave the last day open to do whatever you have come across after you have arrived and would like to see but try to keep it a half day trip.
Where can I buy the cheapest city passes?

Is it cheaper to take public transport for our family or the taxi?

Is there any problem with finding a tourist information in the city?


I`m searching at groupon.sg and deal.com.sg is also, it safe and easy to buy tickets there? Should I print my ticket from e-mail or is it necessary to pick up the ticket from specific place in Singapore?

I will be so gratefull for answering my doubts.

Best regards

Monika
Poland

The people are friendly here so you can ask most anybody for help. (and most are usually more than willing to help - regardless of what you read on this forum - we all have to vent at times, but again, we live here so we see the underbelly of Singapore that you will not see). Above all, enjoy your holiday.

sms

Re: So much gloom about Singapore on SBR

Wd40:
Few more:

http://sbr.com.sg/financial-services/ne ... ving-costs

http://sbr.com.sg/retail/news/retailers ... les-vanish

http://sbr.com.sg/financial-services/ne ... local-debt

Re: In global talent survey, Malaysia races ahead of Asian n

JR8:


I'm confused. I assume you meant "quitters" means quitting Singapore, but the above sentence means the other way round :)

It was meant in an ironic way, and it is ironic! I.e. they lable those who leave as 'quitters', which I find a dreadful and condescending term, but then have wondering roadshows around the world to which they invite offshore Singaporeans (and family members, but no guests allowed) seeking to get them to 'quit' their new homelands, and return back to SG.

Maybe Brah has been invited to one. Bryant Park or the Wollman Rink are his local venues of choice for Contact Singapore.

Re: Impossible to get appointment with ICA to apply for PR

PNGMK:
The number of PR awarded in 2014 is about 2/5 of what it used to be... and the demand has gone up. The ICA is quite rightly using every barrier they can to weed out applicants. There's no need for them to open up more slots when they have less PR to give out.

Re: Ear infections

JR8:
Ok, thanks noted.

Can you believe it, he gave me a DVD of the procedure, but I really haven't the stomach or even curiosity to watch it!? :shock:

It's not that I'm squeamish, but it's just like ....why would I want to!? :???:

Re: Working for a foreign service provider in Singapore?

PNGMK:
Not sure if this has been covered by another topic, but I couldn't find anything recent.

A service provider in the publishing industry, headquartered in China, is interested to have me working for them. Ideally, they want me to relocate to Bejing, but they are happy to let me work remotely with intermittent visits to their HQ. In that case they would just pay me as a consultant.
Since I only moved to Singapore to live here with my partner, I prefer the remote option, of course. Because I am common law spouse to a localized foreign employee at a MNC, I got a LTVP pass.

I understand from other postings that I'll need to set up a company, if I want to be self-employed in Singapore. However, I am not sure if a sole proprietorship company is the right way to do. I certainly have demonstrable skills, experience - I did this some years ago in a similar manner for a US company in Europe - and a consultancy contract by then, but the whole business relationship won't have anything to do with Singapore. It is just me, a foreigner, residing in Singapore, working for a foreign company that has no office in Singapore, for customers and vendors in Asia and Europe/US. Would the authorities still regard this is a legitimate endeavor?

Also, the tax implications are not quite clear. If I understood it correctly, I would need to pay income tax here in Singapore based on the salary that I pay myself as the owner of my sole-proprietary-ship company to myself as employee of this sole-proprietorship company. Does this sound right?

Any insight based on your experiences would be great.


I would register an offshore company, set up a bank account in an offshore country (HK, Seychelles) and bill them for the work in that companies name. But that's me.

Re: Was this some form or scam, or just an 'awkward approach

PNGMK:
The market (rental) is desperate in some spots... and agents are being pushed to the wall or out of the business.

Re: PR Rejected, Approved, Rejected : Now what?

PNGMK:
OP... talk about killing the golden goose. However I personally don't think PR is what it was worth awhile ago - look for greener pastures maybe.

Re: Ear infections

PNGMK:
The probe vaccuuming was very helpful for my issue a few years back. The bill was about the same.

Was this some form or scam, or just an 'awkward approach'.

JR8:
Walking home today, mid-pm, I came out of the MRT and was ambling homewards. I was stopped half-way across a junction as the lights changed, and a late/middle aged couple stopped beside me.

Her: Do you live here? (pointing at condo in the distance)
Me: Yes, I do.
Her: Do you rent your unit?
Me: Yes.
Her: Do you want to rent another unit?

Me: . Er, no, we're happy with what we have thank you and we are leaving next year, why?

Her: Oh, I am an agent, and this man owns a unit there he wants to let out.
Me: Do you usually approach strangers on the street and ask them things like this?
Her: Oh, we just thought that maybe you want to rent a place.
Me: No, we have an agent, we don't rent from strangers on the street .

That was that. But maybe 30 minutes later I noticed them ambling around the swimming pool. Stopping observing, ambling on, and so on.

I appreciate that agents will show initiative in getting a sale, no problem with that, but I am very unused to being approached by locals with such a bold and forth-right manner.

How would others read the situation?

Re: Salary Negotiation

PNGMK:


I tend to agree with WD40 but the best MNC's will have a internal salary analysis for the position and be aware in particular of the 50% median mark for the position. IF you're asking around this your probably ok unless you have a particular reason to ask more. Use Glassdoor etc to do a salary review of the company to see if they pay over or under the median.

3-7 December with 2 pre-scholl kids

movinia:
Hello everyone,

I`m trying to make a good plan for our 3,5 day in Singapore. We are travelling with 2 small kids (4 and 5 years old). Look at our schedule please and give some advice, because I`m lost in so many web pages about Singapore :)

3 Dec 11.30 am we`re landing, our hotel is V-Bencoolen.


7 Dec 6 pm we are leaving Singapure

We would like to see:

1. Aquarium (or Underwater World and Dolphins Lagoone, which is better for kids, who love fish and reefs?)

2. ZOO (is there special attractions during weekend?)

3. Jurong Bird Park

4. River Safari

5. Legoland (is there special attractions during weekend?) How to get there in low cost?

6. Garden By the Bay

7. The Botanical Garden

Is it realistic to see it all during this time?

Where can I buy the cheapest city passes?

Is it cheaper to take public transport for our family or the taxi?
Is there any problem with finding a tourist information in the city? Connecting with wireless will be very expensive for us.

I`m searching at groupon.sg and deal.com.sg is also, it safe and easy to buy tickets there? Should I print my ticket from e-mail or is it necessary to pick up the ticket from specific place in Singapore?

I will be so gratefull for answering my doubts.

Best regards

Monika
Poland

Re: 28 F keen to hang out

vishnuvs:
Hey folks, Vishnu here. Also single, looking for some females to hang out with. Any meeting being planned soon?

24/M looking to meet new folks

vishnuvs:
Hey guys,
Vishnu here. Been working in SG for a few months now, so would love to get to meet some new people. If you're into cycling, then even better! email - vishna_8691@yahoo.com