Frequently Asked Questions about renting a home in Singapore
- Which way are rents going at the moment? Is it a renters' market or a landlords' market?
It's now (June 2013) pretty much a renters' market. Rentals have been under slight pressure lately, in part because of the recent worldwide economic downturn, but also because of countless new apartments coming online this year and next year.
- I need a good, clean, comfortable and centrally located service apartment, preferably one that's close to an MRT and good for kids.
Singapore boasts a number of very attractive service apartments, from budget to exquisite. Please fill out this inquiry form to let us know your wants and needs. I'll reply to you within one business day.
- We're looking for a good International Moving Company. Can you recommend one?
Yes. We've heard plenty of positive feedback about Allied Pickfords. Send them an email
- What are High Rise Buildings
There are many high rise buildings with apartments for rent in Singapore. They are often referred to as Condominium. See below tabs for the different types available.
High rise buildings with share of facilities are often marketed as homes with "full condo facilities". They feature either some or all of the usual available shared facilities:
- The property ads I see mention districts and some even have only numbers. What do they mean and where in Singapore are they?
Have a look at our .
- What does co-broke mean?
It means that two realty agents are marketing a particular property together, usually the landlord's agent and your agent. In essence, this means that if you're interested in that property, your agent will need to go through that property's landlord's agent, and both agents will share the commission for that unit.
Please note that in the case of a one year lease, commission (in this case, half a month's rent) will be payable by the landlord to his/her co-broke agent and by the tenant (half a month's rent) to his/her co-broke agent.
Note that these amounts are exclusive of GST (7%).
- What is Enbloc?
An Enbloc occurs when owners of separate units in an apartment, condominium or even an office building, unite to collectively sell out their properties to a developer for comprehensive redevelopment. In the case of developments less than 10 years old, 90% of owners majority is required, and 80%for developments 10 years old or older.
- I'm worried about the welfare of my pets, 2 cats and a dog. Any tips?
If you're looking for a company to transport your pet, try Pet Movers Singapore. You can also bring them on the plane as excess carriage, although not all airlines allow this. It is, however, a cheaper option. Meanwhile, quarantine is 30 days. Contact Pet Hotel Singapore for more information.
N.B. Be aware that some landlord will ask for a "pet deposit", just in case your pets cause any extra damages to the property.
- Can I go view properties without the use of an agent?
Well, in theory you can, but only those properties that are owned by the condo management. For those that are owned by others, you'll have to get in touch with those respective landlords or their representatives. This groundwork can be quite challenging at times, so it's best left to a dedicated agent, so in the meantime you can spend your time on the required relocation procedures and your work.
- I am American/Australian/German/ Dutch/Japanese/Indian/Chinese/British/French and I am keen to find a condo near to the school that my kids will be going to. Have you got any recommendations?
Have a look at our . Note the names of the surrounding areas so you know where you'll be aiming to stay.
- My one year lease is coming to an end this month. Do I need to pay my agent to extend the lease?
One of your agent's obligations is to be standby for occasions where he or she needs to liaise between you and the landlord. If you have a complaint or need to alert the landlord of a defect in or around the house, you call your agent and he/she will then inform the landlord to find a solution. Subsequently, your agent will revert to you to explain how your problem will be resolved. In cases where the landlord has no objection to communicating directly with the tenant, you can try to go without an agent. The new lease however, does need redrafting, stamping etc. which is another one of your agent's duties.
- What kind of properties can I expect to find in Singapore?
High rise Apartments & condominiums.
I think it's safe to say that most expats in Singapore opt for a private apartment as their abode, such as a condo or maisonette. The reasons for this are their generally favorable location, their luxurious character, their numerous typically upmarket amenities/facilities and their accessibility to other foreigners.
Arguably the largest of the condo units are the penthouses. They may comprise more than one floor and tend to boast, among other features, a rooftop garden, a private pool, a spa and - obviously - breath-taking views. However, note that the extensive roof surface area and large windows make for high electricity costs, because your air-con will be working overtime.
Landed or detached houses.
Bungalows and colonial "black and white" mansions tend to be a fair amount costlier to rent than most regular condos, because they offer calm surroundings, come with their own patch of land/garden and there's no sharing any of the building structures with neighbors.
Another type of landed property are semi-detached houses and terraced houses, such as the 19th century Peranakan shophouses that have been refurbished but still retain their old world cultural charm.
A recent addition to the landed house variety are cluster homes, which share some facilities such as a garden or a pool with other landed houses. Unfortunately, most of these cluster homes tend to be so new that the odds of finding an unoccupied one are rather long.
HDB or Housing Development Board Flats.
These are essentially public flats that are mostly confined to New Townships developed in specific districts. Recently more and more expats have taken to HDB units, not only because the rules governing HDB rental to foreigners have been relaxed, but also because HDB living is quite affordable. Furthermore, HDBs tend to be located near public transport hubs, supermarkets and shopping malls. Lastly, the other reason I hear more often these days is that only by living in an HDB do you experience the true Singapore experience.
My work involves a lot of air travel. I'd like to live close to the airport. Where is Singapore's main airport situated?
Singapore's commercial airport is called Changi, a 5 Star Airport, located in the East. Paya Lebar is its secondary airport, usually dedicated to regional travel. Have a look at our to get an idea of where the airport is in relation to its surrounding residential neighborhoods.
- How much rent can I expect to pay?
The following will give you some idea as to how much bang you can expect from your rental buck. Although obviously this depends on a number of factors, such as location, type of property and size of your propertpy etc. this will give you some idea. Below estimates are for a family of four: two adults and two kids*.
1. If your budget is S$ 3.500-4.500,- per month, then expect quite a nice apartment of about 1000-1250 sq. feet, regular condo facilities included. Examples are The Bayshore, Mandarin Gardens and Pebble Bay
2. If on the other hand you have S$5.000-10.000,- allocated for rent, then you'll be able to choose from any number of spacious and luxurious apartments, including a wide variety of quality and immaculately-maintained facilities (swimming pool, tennis court, gym etc.). Ardmore Park and Four Seasons Park fall into this category. Having said that, in some cases even a landed home is within reach.
3. If you have S$ 15.000-S$30.000,- to spend, you can rent a rather large upmarket bungalow in one of Singapore's , such as Holland Road, Bukit Timah, River Valley, Tanglin Road or even around Orchard Road.
- I'd like to live close to a green belt or a nature park so I can take my kids for a walk in the evenings or on the weekend. Does Singapore have any nice parks?
There are about a dozen nature large parks in Singapore. To see where they are, click on our .
- My one year lease is coming to an end this month. Do I need to pay my agent to extend the lease?
One of your agent's obligations is to be standby for ocassions where he or she has to liase between you and the landlord. If you need to alert the landlord of a defect, or a dispute arises between you and the landlord, you call your agent. It's your agent who'll then mediate and do his best to resolve the problem. In cases where the landlord has no objection to communicating directly with the tenant, you can try to go without an agent, but obviously resolving a dispute without an objective middleman is a lot harder. In my view, therefore, having an agent, is a good insurance policy, especially since new leases needs redrafting, stamping etc. anyway, which are agents' duties too.
- Help, I'm relocating to Singapore with my family in just 3 months and I have no idea where to start!
First of all, take a deep breath and don't worry. Singapore is a very friendly country, and most of the official procedures you'll be required to complete can be done online in the comfort of your home. I'll make sure that when you arrive, you'll hit the ground running.
- I'd like to live reasonably close to a hospital in case my kids hurt themselves. Is there a map with all of Singapore's hospitals?
First of all, it's always good to be aware of the emergency number in case you need an ambulance. The emergency ambulance number is 995. Click our to find your nearest hospital.
- What recourse do I have if a dispute arises between me and my landlord?
Now, if you feel you have an iron-clad case, contact your agent, seek his advice. In most, if not all cases he or she will be able to give you an unbiased view. He/she may even be the catalyst you need to find common ground between opposing parties. If this approach did not resolve the matter, then you can try arbitration services, such as CASE, the Consumer Association of Singapore (http://www.case.org.sg/) or SMC, the Singapore Mediation Center (http://www.mediation.com.sg/). If you're still deadlocked, as a a last resort, you can consider the Small Claims Tribunal (http://app.subcourts.gov.sg/sct/page.aspx?pageid=8617). Keep in mind, however, that this last course of action can be a time-consuming process.
N.B. Actual fees for resolving property disputes are not fixed but we can offer some estimates. CASE levies a minimum of $15 per session, whilst the Singapore Mediation Centre, which tends to deal with larger disputed sums, charges an administrative fee of $250 and a minimum of $900 per party per day of mediation.
- I'm a die-hard golf player, don't know if I can go without my regular 18 holes. Does Singapore have any good golf courses.
Take your .
- What are the differences between a landed property and a condo?
The short answer is that it's easier to live in an apartment than a condo, because apartments are low maintenence. This way you can focus on just living your life. Landed properties on the other hand tend to be be more high maintenence, are more expensive to own generally, especially those in better locations. For a more comprehensive anwer to this question, see this page.
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Bayshore Park sea view