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.


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)
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)
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: Best method to find "flat minder" while on vacation?

Have you considered this type of device?

As it can be seen it is tap attachable so in a typical Singapore condo back yard scenario you can hook it instead of washing machine, gather you plants around the floor water outlet, attached a basic sprinkler and voilĂ .
I used similar solution when I had ca 20 plants and had to leave for like 3 weeks for Europe.
Such tap timer can be bought for ca $200 or less.

Oooh....they ain't so expensive after all.

I was just thinking about this but didn't really do some research. All I did was keep thinking of ways to build one.

Re: Looking for a Pulley system to haul stuff to the 4th floor


Dayum...I didn't realize photobucket would present a nice interface to interpret EXIF data. I just clicked on the pic and it showed me a map.

By they way, from your pics, it looks like, they're just trying to lower things into a dumpster so it's not like they're avoiding damaging the load.

Speaking of moving things, I had a fridge delivered to me. On the third floor. No lift. By two guys. No trolleys. No ropes or straps. At 6 am. During winter.

Door bell woke me up, I opened the door and the two dudes were still carrying the thing.

Sometimes, you just need two strong guys willing to walk up a flight of stairs (or several).

Upon relocation - what were the surprise costs?

Sorry, another post but I am getting some great information from you guys that, should we relocate, I will do my best to share from my experience (blog/this site etc).

We've got a spread sheet of all the costs to come out here based on the proposed salary and she's still slightly nervous....erring massively on side of caution (nothing wrong with that). We're assuming (for sake of sums) I won't work although that is the plan...
I've trawled various sites including mumsnet (shoot me now) and read about A/C leccy costs etc but I'm wondering for anyone moving a family of 4 (2 x young kids) to SG into a ~$6000 house out of the center, what are the surprise hidden costs above the ones that you have researched? Everything seems to involve a 'admin' fee so we accept we'll need a decent chunk to cover deposits, nursery registration etc.
I appreciate it's a bit of a crap question because it depends on how you want to live i.e if you want to party out every night like you are in's going to cost a massive amount. We're not looking to be downing Moet in the trendy bars every weekend....
Anyhoo...for those who have done it, what was the surprise hit? I don't want to be gauche with numbers but it's a very skewed spreadsheet when you have to factor in $30k for your twins nursery costs, $70k for rent. Suddenly the headline rate isn't quite so outrageous.

Re: SIA cabin crew

Hi everyone :)
May I know if anyone here went for the interview but have a BMI of more than 22?
I am not sure if I should attend the interview this Sunday to try out while trying to lose more weight!
To those of you who were KIV, may I know what are the reasons you are asked to come back for review?
Thank you!

Re: Flashback!

I enjoyed watching that; I was taken aback by the scale of things, the resources. Perhaps I shouldn't have been given there was a war on.

How amazing for you to find such a ' blast from the past'.

Re: PR Application Rejected. Seeking advice.

Strong Eagle:
I can see that you really consider Singapore your home and that you would like to have the certainty of making it permanent. Maybe you will succeed in the future with your additional education and a research job, in spite of the 'kiss of death' letter.

And, as a practical matter, the Singapore authorities have proven to be arbitrary and capricious when it comes to PR. If you've read the hundreds of posts in this forum, many of the decisions make no sense and often seem downright counter intuitive and unfair. It's almost as though there are deep divisions within the government itself as to which is the best way to jump, and that translates into conflicting rules and regulations that the immigration minions are suppose to follow. Either that, or the rules that they have allow too much individual leeway, or can be interpreted too many ways.

Since you are going to follow a research career, you should carefully consider options where people will actually appreciate who you are and what you do, and will grant you security in exchange. For example, do you know that many US universities will pay you to come do your PhD with them? With the right qualifications, and it sounds like you have them, they will literally fly you in, wine and dine you, and show you their facilities in the hopes you will say yes. They want your talent.

Singapore is a very small nation and it has a very difficult course to chart in order to remain viable. I don't know if they are currently making the right decisions for long term viability or not, but I do know that if their policies require that some people be sacrificed in order to implement a policy, they will do it without hesitation.

Think about a future elsewhere, then come visit.

Thank you all for taking your time and effort to reply me. Appreciate your gesture.
The rejection, especially in the "death sentence" way, was a great blow to me. I came from a poor family in a poor country, having not enough to eat and would have not been able to continue my education. It was a miracle for me to get a scholarship to study secondary school in Singapore, and subsequently JC and university. Throughout all the years, I was living solely on the allowance since my parents could not support me. At time like that, my Singaporean friends and teachers were the ones who lent me help, emotionally and financially. I get used to the life in Singapore. My friends are all Singaporeans and they consider me as part of them. Having worked many low end jobs, I have seen both the glamour and the ugliness of Singapore. Regardless, I love this land because it is where I was given hope, because I am indebted to every taxpayers who contribute to my scholarship and because it is "where I know I must be". No matter what other countries I travelled to, I always feel at home when I am in Singapore. Thus, I apply to be a PR because I want to be a citizen subsequently. I understand all my feeling, how I integrate into the society and my experience cannot be translated into the application.
I understand that you all have different views on the chances that I have for future application, considering the letter and the policies. I do not have enough knowledge in this matter to make a judgment, neither can I change things out of my control. I can only improve myself to make me look more favourable and hopefully a change in policy one day can grant me the PR status. I am going to take PhD next year and follow a research career. The journey ahead is tough, but I have fought my way throughout my life. So I guess the struggle will have to go on, until the day I can call Singapore "home".
Thanks for reading my post.

Singapore Government Finances

Strong Eagle:
I split my reply out from the "Thumb Rule for PR Application" thread.

Good luck with that.....

Didnt they say "its not good for the citizens to know how many PR's there actually are" or something like that.

I will look for the quote and add :D

Heck, Citizens don't even know how much exactly is in SG Inc's reserves, just a number saying 260 billion ++ (apparently in the interest of the nation in case foreign powers can bring down SG Inc .. ), .....

What gives they will let martincymru have information he seeks ?? :P

There is a ton of data available about the state of Singapore's finances. The starting place is: and the actual budget report: ... diture.pdf

Debt analysis is a bit trickier but there is lots of information. Singapore has a huge debt in terms of percentage of GDP: ... d-nations/

But, if you look at the budget it's mostly a pay as you go budget, unlike the USA for example where operating costs are financed via the deficit.

Singapore maintains such a large debt in order to make a market in government securities that sets a benchmark interest rate for other securities, and to provide a vehicle for CPF and other types of investments. ... ublic-debt

Singapore's foreign reserves are found at the MAS website: ... erves.aspx

Singapore Population and PR Counts

Strong Eagle:
I answered Barnsley's question in the "Thumb Rule for PR Application Thread" and decided to split it out.

Good luck with that.....

or something like that.

I will look for the quote and add :D

It's a bit dated but a useful graphic:

Population allegedly at 5.47 million in 2014 if you dig through the website.

An interesting table at Wikipedia:

Straight from the horse's mouth: ... f-2014.pdf

So... I reckon the government is transparent about these things.

The graphic on page 5 of the report is quite interesting in that it shows the breakdown of pass holders... quite close to what I had heard a few years ago... about 160,000 EP's, somewhat less for S-Pass.

Re: ISS International School

UWC is huge. I'm looking for a small-sized school.

Re: Looking for a Pulley system to haul stuff to the 4th floor

Hehehe! Its a Lumia 1020 its got a lovely camera but takes a few secs to initialize.

Re: Newly incorporated company

Strong Eagle:
S$5.50, order and pay online. Get immediate PDF.

Re: Newly incorporated company

Buy a Company Profile from ACRA.

Re: Singapore Citizenship Application Outcome

I got the letter by snail mail.

My trusted friend, iEnquiry which I checked everyday for the past 21 months still shows Pending ](*,)

Re: Free photoshoot by photographer-in-training (female photographer)


It's Aztech, that came with the Singtel Fibre.

I am Not so bothered to see Model Mayhem anyway .. ;) ;)

Newly incorporated company

How to get contact details of newly incorporated company?

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