Procedure for Rental

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

   
Female/Australian Chinese, new to Singapore.

lucyliu:
Hi guys,

I'm from Sydney, just relocated in Singapore. Would like to meet new friends (in late 30's/40's) for social outings in outside working hours. Anyone interested?

Searching for tennis lesson

ChineseDane:
Hi all,

Does anyone know where to find tennis lesson for beginners? I took a 3-month lesson many years ago so know how to hold a racket, but that's about it :)

Appreciate all information and tips I can get!

Many thanks
Amy

Re: F/31, newbie in SG, looking for network outside work

ChineseDane:
Hi Abby

Thanks for your message. I wrote a private message to you yesterday but I don't think it went through.

I'd love to meet, perhaps for coffee or lunch next week? I can PM you my number if you're interested.

Amy

Re: Moving to Singapore - spouse looking for job

Strong Eagle:
^^^^^^^^
Interesting insights, JR8, and reflecting upon my experiences and interactions with the US Embassy in Singapore, spot on.

I reckon the OP ought to set up a meeting under some guise with one of the HBS... for the US Embassy, it was fairly straightforward to meet quite a few people informally through AAS parties, 4th of July, and other events that the Embassy held.

Re: Applying for P.R using only 1st month salary

rajagainstthemachine:
Like her dp!oh god!!!

Re: PR Rejection

Barnsley:
I would suggest talking to the MP since your spouse is SC. They might help you out.

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

What is MP going to do?

OCBC Waterfest this weekend

menudown:
sports hub to hold its 1st water festival this weekend... there will be various water-based sports, spectator events and entertainment.

admission is free.

http://www.sportshub.com.sg/community/P ... rfest.aspx

Re: Applying for P.R using only 1st month salary

cuz53:
1. You're wrong. Singapore election is all the more reason the government will give less PRs and SCs to foreigners to appease the electorate. They have been doing it for quite some time. Have you seen the stats on PR and SC awarded for the past 2 years, compared to 2006-2009?

2. Repetitive applications without substantial improvement in each attempt will just be futile. There is such thing called spam in ICA.

You are Malaysian Chinese. Applying later will not hurt your chances. In fact it will improve your chances tremendously compared to now.

Ah....NANI!!!!...k la...i will just pray more...po pi po pi po pi!!

Thanks Lynx.. I like your DP.

Re: Applying for P.R using only 1st month salary

the lynx:
1. You're wrong. Singapore election is all the more reason the government will give less PRs and SCs to foreigners to appease the electorate. They have been doing it for quite some time. Have you seen the stats on PR and SC awarded for the past 2 years, compared to 2006-2009?

2. Repetitive applications without substantial improvement in each attempt will just be futile. There is such thing called spam in ICA.

You are Malaysian Chinese. Applying later will not hurt your chances. In fact it will improve your chances tremendously compared to now.

Re: Moving to Singapore - spouse looking for job

JR8:
With ref: to Lynx's post.

An embassy is physically partitioned into two sections, one side for 'home based staff' (HBS), and the other for 'local based staff' . The former are from the embassy's country and are security cleared (at a high level), the latter can be any nationality, but having knowledge of or an interest in the country in question is er, expected/assumed.

I've not heard of HBS being hired abroad, as usually they have worked their way up through that country's equivalent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at home, and then been identified/selected to rotate out for an offshore posting. Thus the staff are known quantities, trusted, and on a long-term career path.

Openings for LBS are advertised as other jobs in the open market would be. In newspapers, job-ad sites etc. Apparently the embassy in question does identify itself, it's not vague or anonymous as with many finance jobs ('Our client, a major Wall Street bank....').

I mentioned this question to a diplomat friend, and her reply was: 'With those qualifications why limit yourself to the Italian embassy? Does she speak any other languages?' I.e. consider it more broadly; Switzerland is the next obvious candidate. But the thinking was broader, consider all missions from the EU, or those from 'the West'. She said that at the last embassy she was posted, the LBS were about as diverse as the UN. Her other suggestion was drawing up a shortlist and contacting the missions (embassies/consulates) directly.

- Being 'LBS' for some people is a career in itself: Some might stay with one embassy for life. Others might work for a number of embassies during their careers (understanding the core of how an embassy functions is a transferable skill-set). But for plenty of others it is just a job like any other 'non-career' job, something you choose to do for a few years.

Re: Applying for P.R using only 1st month salary

cuz53:
Just trying my luck and hoping for the best.

The reason I applied this early is because Singapore Election is coming and hence if i wait for 6 months or more it might fall within the election period, I think my chances of getting P.R. will be quite low considering the recent policy.

Therefore I applied earlier so if I get my P.R, Thank God.

If not, then reapply again..lolz

Re: Applying for P.R using only 1st month salary

cuz53:


Yup, being studying 3 years of Polytechnic and 3 years of University

Did you get offered PR , or has that stopped?

Whats your ethnicity , its a popular question. :D

I'm Chinese. So far still Pending. Will update u guys when i get the update from ICA :D

Re: Chances of getting SG Citizenship?

Barnsley:
The real question is: What has changed between 2013 when you were first rejected and now? I don't see it.

a) You are making even less than when you were rejected. And your work record isn't good. Took 6 months to find a lower paying job... that's how it looks, right or wrong. Now, you've left your low paying job as well.

b) As for your startup... do you have anything that resembles a business plan? A marketing plan? Pro forma statements that show your growth and path to profitability? I think not.

If I was that ICA officer, sitting in my cubicle, looking at your application, I'd say, "What the hell?!! She did a Uni degree in the US and can only score a $3,000 per month job? What the hell is that about?

Then, can't even keep that job, takes six months with a US Uni degree to find a job that pays even less? Is she difficult to work with?

And now, you've left that job and you have no visible means of support. You think you want to start your own business... the last refuge of someone who can't find employment.

Were it I, I'd ink up the big ole "REJECTED" stamp with red ink and whack your application. You're just not showing the kinds of traits that the gahmen wants.

You have a US college education but instead of finding a firm and growing with it, you job hop for less and less salary.

I hate to sound harsh but all the friends recommendations in the world won't make any difference.

Forget about citizenship. Get a job that pays MORE than what you made last time and get your REP renewed. Start building a responsible career... then about 3 years from now try for citizenship.

In the new world of Singapore politics, isnt this applicant perfect fodder for the present Govt. Giving the citizenship I would think would almost gaurantee a vote in the election.

Isnt a 4 year degree in the USA for an overseas student pushing at $150K USD?

Re: new in Business here in Singapore

Strong Eagle:
anyone can help where to find LOC form.

just now i am trying to look LOC from MOM website but cannot find.
or is it my current employer, who sponsor my wife DP, need to apply for LOC?
thank you



Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

The company that hires your wife, ie, your business, needs to apply for the LOC.

http://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permit ... of-consent

Re: How Much Should I Pay Myself?

Goldy740:
i had an EP with my old company but left in May (had to go back to the UK for a month). Have been back In singapore since June and with my sister as the local director have created the company with ACRA. I am using a local firm to apply for my EP on my behalf, one aspect they don't seem to be able to give much clarity regarding the ratio of base salary and paid up capital in the company account.

I was thinking that if i have at least 6 months of salary in the account then MoM would see that i have given myself a realistic amount of time to get some momentum.

The business is an executive search firm focussing on B2C technology/ecommerce/gaming sectors in asia. I have over 10 yrs relevant experience and a BA (Hons) degree.

let me know if you have any other questions.
thanks