SINGAPORE — Renting housing units in Singapore is common, especially with Singapore being one of the most attractive countries for expats to live and work in. Very often, these rental units are leased by expats who are often unsure of how long they will be staying in the country or permanent residents.
Choosing to rent rather than purchase a housing unit in Singapore makes a lot of sense especially with the various regulations in place. HDBs are the most common form of housing in Singapore. However, foreigners are not entitled to purchase HDB flats or landed property, although they can still purchase private properties such as condominiums.
Before signing the contract to rent a housing unit, both the landlord and the tenant should get an understanding of the things that they are responsible for. There are some things that have to be provided by the landlord, especially if it was clearly stated in the advertorial for the rental of their unit.
As the owner of the house, the landlord generally provides bigger purchase items and other furnishings. Things that should be provided by the landlord mostly include white goods (large electrical goods used domestically). This includes items such as:
- Washing machine
- Basic kitchen equipment
For private properties such as condominiums, things such as the maintenance fee or conservancy charges should also be settled by the landlord. This often includes the fee for parking in the condominium.
Landlords are also responsible for any major repairs, servicing and maintenance on the condition that the damage or malfunction not be caused by the tenant’s negligence.
Tenants should look at what the landlord provides as well as the general condition of the appliances and furnishing of the house. Things tenants should be responsible for include monthly bills for the following items:
- Utilities (water, gas and electricity supply)
- Internet or telephone line
- Consumables (such as toilet paper)
- HDB parking charges (season parking)
These items are mostly things which are consumed by the tenant themselves on a monthly basis and is dependent on their volume of consumption.
Tenants should also be responsible for the general maintenance of the condition of the home. Minor repairs and servicing should be settled by the tenants. However, do note that there is often a limit per annum on the amount tenants pay for minor repairs (usually around $150).
Some things are negotiable between the landlord and the tenant. This could include smaller electrical appliances such as a coffee machine, vacuum cleaner, air purifier and more. These items are often not considered a necessity for every household but a personal preference. This also varies depending on the type of housing leased.
Factors such as whether you can own a pet or have your own designs or paintings done on the wall also need to be negotiated between both parties. Make sure you iron out the details with your landlord before signing the Tenancy Agreement.
Landlords could also focus on getting tenants which are looking for longer term stay to avoid the trouble of having to search for new tenants and to agree upon contractual terms over and over again. Likewise, tenants would also prefer an easy-going and agreeable landlord that is understanding of their requests for a more enjoyable stay.
A good two-way relationship is essential for an amicable, long-term relationship. Choosing the right property agent is also crucial in helping both parties communicate their needs with one another and work out an agreement.