Renting a home in Singapore

Like all countries, there is a process to renting properties in Singapore.

In 2016, the rental market had cooled as part of a natural adjustment to a large number of developments having been built to cater for forecast demand that didn’t quite grow as quickly as expect. It was definitely a renter’s market at the time, and I had heard stories from friends and colleagues of how they had negotiated generous rent reductions for extended leases.

Singapore properties come in a few different varieties – HDBs (High Density Apartments which have no facilites), Condos or Condominiums (which come with pools, gyms, lifts and a range of different amenities) and Landed Properties. In any transaction, there appear to be agents representing the landlord, and the tenant.

At any showing, there may be more than one agent present showing the property. This is quite normal. The one thing that stuck out to me was that rents were significantly higher here than in Melbourne.

As a rule of thumb, rents are driven higher when the development is closer to the city, newer, and closer to an MRT station. In Singapore weather, it is highly undesirable to be anything more than at 10-minute walk from an MRT. In addition, older properties tend to be larger, have larger bedrooms and more indoor space. Newer properties tend to be smaller, have a large balcony, and smaller bedrooms.

Rents can be negotiated within reason.

  • Once a tenant sees a property that they like, they need to submit a signed Letter of Intent (LoI) to the landlord’s agent.
    • Expats will need a copy of their passport and work permit to extend an LoI.
    • Sometimes, they will also need a letter from their employer confirming their salary, position and assignment.
  • Once both parties have agreed and signed the LoI, deposits need to be made by the tenant. These deposits are refundable should both parties not be able to agree on a tenancy agreement within the stipulated time.
  • The landlord then provides a Tenancy Agreement (TA).
  • Both parties review the TA to ensure that the terms are both fair and agreeable to both parties.
  • Once both parties have agreed and signed the TA, handover is conducted, and a move-in can be arranged.

Rental properties offer a range of different homes to choose from, and there is something to suit every lifestyle and budget.

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