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: RE: Re: South China Sea ruling .....


If Africa is anything to go by , almost all the infrastructure projects are done using Chinese labour and materials with very little benefit to local workers and industry.

So are many large Japanese Grants and loans: tendered to Japanese companies using only Japanese machinery and equipment.

In one project in Asia, the soft carpets and window curtains for the Pajero exceed and Hiace Grand were specified as must be of Japanese origin.... ;)

Of course, it was all Pajeros and Toyotas for staff travel.

Re: RE: Re: South China Sea ruling .....


He'll last.. and die of old age.

In Philippines only those poor and weak bite the dust fast.

As for his shooting from the hips, I won't be surprised if he is getting a better deal.

Gift of 35 year old refurbished UH1s or brand new Mil 17s at discounted price.

35 year old CG cutters gifted with most weapons removed but charged for refurbishing vs newer corvettes ...

Hard to say what he's trying to play but he's not a communist, for sure.

Re: RE: Re: Information on Singapore Immigration (Entry, Exit, Visa)


A lot of luck is needed to jump the 6 months ban, for now.

Re: RE: Vaccinate or not to Vaccinate - that is the question


Any thoughts or comments on this topic - Whether to vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

Despite the doomsday theories, vaccinate.

That's me having worked very closely with the Rotary Polio Program.

And in Singapore, working with disabled, the foresight of vaccination is so obvious even though some diseases maybe non existent as of now.

Re: Furnished or rent furniture?

Generally buying your own furniture is cheaper in long run (we're talking about 2 years minimum)

But if youre that kind of person who move houses quite often and unwilling to deal with hassle of moving furniture s then i suggest to spend more for furnished houses

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Re: School Advice

Have you looked at one world international school! It has a small school community vibe with small class sizes

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Vaccinate or not to Vaccinate - that is the question

Hi All,

We are a couple living in Singapore and have recently had a baby (10 weeks ago). Prior to having the baby we'd started coming across a lot of information about vaccination - good and bad, but mostly bad. Today was the first real jab for our 10 week old baby. We were very concerned and apprehensive as we approached the appointment having done some research prior to the visit.

We discussed with the paediatrician our concerns about the safety of the vaccines and she convinced us we should vaccinate (she didn't force it - after giving her 'pitch' as to why we should vaccinate, she left the final decision to us). Against our better judgement, being scared of what we've read about vaccines and being scared about what we're told could happen if we don't get them, we ultimately decided to go along with the vaccination this time around (what really got us was when the doctor started talking about our lifestyle and the places we travel to; we caved in at that point and went with the jab). When we walked out of the office my wife broke down in tears because we're so worried about making the right decision for our child, not wanting any harm to come to him (either way).

Any thoughts or comments on this topic - Whether to vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

Concerned Parents

Re: Sundry humour


Re: Eagles Fly in - One of these Nights Edition


25th -

Re: Sundry humour

Awesome !!!

Re: Eagles Fly in - One of these Nights Edition

I've been lurkin'... At the moment 18th is looking good for me!

Re: Eagles Fly in - One of these Nights Edition

So we gonna make up for lost time then! ;-)

Re: video game rental and console rental in singapore

Hi Guys, saw this post on renting of Consoles and Games.
I am having a housewarming party with some guests coming over.
Was thinking of renting a Wii U or XBOX 360 over the weekends.

Any good recommendations? Tried googling, can't find anything.

You can try this website.
Has PS4 , WII and XBOX consoles and games to rent. Quite Cheap and fast delivery.
The service is friendly too. Rented a few times myself.

Re: When should I apply PR, apply as a family or for myself only?


I really wouldn't worry about the salary , we have seen folk rejected with 250k/300k salary, as their history didnt look like they were likely long term residents.

Yes, I aware of it, I have been reading the forum for some time already. Do you think there is a least required salary?

For example X years of experience in that field should make minimum Y SGD.

Its the soft skills that seem important , as well as ethnicity , any chance you can become Malaysian Chinese in the next 2 years? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Just kidding. :-

hahaha, good idea =D>

Whenever you apply just make the application look like you are trying to make a life in Singapore and not just here to make your money and leave.

I have been sending money back to VN for the last three years to help my parents. I'm typical Vietnamese or Asians who support their parents to the last penny :D.

I guess it hurts my profile.

Re: School Advice

Go for AISS. I think it has some of the best opportunities for sport. The largest schools have the most sport. It is caring and will give you support and you will meet lots of other parents and it will make the transition to an AUS school easier when you return. It is easy to get 'penmanship' tutoring in SG - it is important in local schools so it is easy to find tutors. All mine went through local school system for their schooling but that is not possible now and not advisable if you are only in SG for a shortish time.