Renting Guide

Renting Guide
Singapore Home Finding Guidelines
We cater to your requirements, are committed to act in your best interests and keep documentation in good order throughout the term of the tenancy.

  1. Prescribed Estate Agency Agreement
  2. Property Viewing Tips
  3. Short Listing
  4. Making the Offer – Letter of Intent (LOI)
  5. Negotiating the terms – Tenancy Agreement (TA)
  6. Closing the Deal
  7. Moving In
  8. Handover of Premise & Home Inspection
  9. Agent Commission


Prescribed Estate Agency Agreement

    Effective 1 January 2011, the law requires each party to be represented by different agents for all leases. Currently the law requires the Tenant to sign the Prescribed Estate Agency Agreement. Its purpose to ensure there is no conflict of interest by your written agreement, as market practice is for agents to share commission from the Landlord and for the Tenant to pay their own agent commission.

    see Prescribed Estate Agency Agreement

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Property Viewing Tips

    Most agents in Singapore have access to a similar pool of properties. Therefore, if you have different agents serving you, you might be shown the same properties or units.

    Communicate with your agent about your preferences, so your agent can better shortlist properties for your viewings.

    Please be casual and wear shoes that are easy to remove, as it is customary to remove footwear prior to entering most residences.

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Short Listing

    This is one of the major problems expatriates initially face when moving to Singapore.

    Location : The neighbourhood (expat-friendly), commute time, public transport and school for the young ones.

    Amenities : Consider if the amenities and facilities in the proximity fit your basic needs and your daily convenience.

    Size and layout : Can it fit all of your belongings? Is it of a size and layout that you are comfortable with?

    Construction : Note the on-going construction in the surrounding area at the time of viewing and consider if that may be a potential source of noise disturbance.

    New Developments : If you are considering moving into a new Development that has not been lived in before, please be aware there may be more inherent defects that will be discovered during the initial stage or your lease. There is a 1-year warranty period from the Developer to make good these defects. You may experience a longer lag time in having these repairs effected. Due to rectification or renovation works, you may experience on-going construction/renovation noise from neighbouring units.

    Aged Developments : If you are considering moving into an older development, please note there may be potential of the development being collectively sold to a new developer (i.e. en-block sale), which may shorten your lease term.

    Short Listing : You are encouraged to shortlist a minimum of 3 properties. This is to ensure that in the event your first choice does not materialize, there will be other options to fall back on, instead of having to restart the home search process.

    Short Listed : It is advisable to view the shortlisted properties once more. This is to allow you a second opportunity to inspect the conditions of the unit more thoroughly.

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Making the Offer – Letter of Intent (LOI)

    To reserve a selected property, it is time-critical that you have sufficient funds for holding deposit when making the offer. Your agent will prepare an LOI and forward to you for your vetting, approval and signature.

    In the event the Tenant decides not to proceed with the lease after both parties sign the LOI, the Landlord shall be entitled to forfeit the holding deposit as the Landlord has withheld showing the property and accepting other competing offers.

    If lease negotiation fails however, subject to the terms of the LOI, the holding deposit may be refunded.

    The LOI is legally binding between the Landlord and Tenant. Therefore it is important to include the essential clauses both parties have agreed on.

    Below are some main components in a LOI:

    Rental : Monthly rental payable.

    Holding Deposit : 1-month’s rental equivalent (Please note that the 1-month holding deposit is separate from the two-months security deposit. This 1-month holding deposit will be used to cover the first month rental once the TA is duly signed and completed).

    Security Deposit : 2-month’s rental equivalent will be payable to the Landlord upon signing of TA (This amount will be refunded upon expiry of lease).

    Lease Term : Duration of lease

    Commencement of Lease : Date of lease commencement.

    Handover of Premises : Date of takeover of the apartment, usually same as lease commencement date.

    Air-Con Servicing : It is market practice that the tenant engages an aircon specialist to carry out regular aircon servicing on a quarterly or bi-monthly basis.

    Minor Repairs : The Tenant will be responsible for minor repair works. It is common to cap the minor repair amount at between S$150 to S$250. This means that the Landlord will bear the excess for repairs above the agreed amount. However it is not uncommon for some Landlords to ask for higher amount, especially for bigger properties or properties with expensive furnishings.

    Diplomatic Clause (DC) : This clause allows the Tenant to terminate the lease, in the event you are repatriated to another country, prior to the agreed upon expiry date in the lease. For a 2 years lease, it is common for a Landlord in Singapore to require the Tenant to fulfill a minimum of 12 months’ tenancy before giving an additional 2 months’ notice to vacate. This serves to guarantee the landlord a minimum of 14 months occupancy. Lease terms in Singapore are usually for a 2-year period. (You may also enter into a 1-year lease, which Landlords may be more reluctant to accept.)

    Warranty Period : It is the norm that Landlord shall be responsible for all repairs occurring within one month from the commencement date of tenancy or upon takeover of the apartment whichever is later. (i.e. the total cost of the repair will be borne by the Landlord). This is on condition such repairs are not due to the fault/negligence of the Tenant.

    Pets : Please inform your agent if you are having pets.

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Negotiating the terms in the Tenancy Agreement (TA)

    Once both parties sign the LOI, your agent will commence to negotiate the terms of the TA.

    Due to foreigner employment work laws, you should have your Employment Pass (and Dependent Passes, if applicable) or the In Principle Approval Letter ready and be able to provide copies of it to the Landlord as required during the leasing process.

    Below are some main components in a TA:

    Payment of Rental : This specifies the day of each month rental is due and payable.

    Late Payment : Subject to the terms of your Tenancy Agreement, late payment of rental after 7 to 14 days may incur an interest charge. To ensure rental payments are made in a timely manner, you can instruct your bank to facilitate an electronic transmission (GIRO)/ Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) of monthly rental into the landlord’s bank account. It is a one-time instruction and it ensures your monthly rental is paid on time.

    Security Deposit : Upon expiry of lease, the deposit will be refunded without interest within 14 to 30 days. 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 TA.

    Aircon Servicing : It is market practice that the tenant engages an aircon specialist to carry out regular aircon servicing. This is usually done on a quarterly or bi-monthly basis.

    Diplomatic Clause : This clause allows the Tenant to terminate the lease, in the event you are repatriated to another country, prior to the agreed upon expiry date in the lease. For a 2 years lease, it is common for a Landlord in Singapore to require the Tenant to fulfill a minimum of 12 months’ tenancy before giving an additional 2 months’ notice to vacate.

    Agent commission refund on a pro-rata basis : Landlords may want to include in the TA that the Tenant compensates the Landlord the prorated agent commission in the event that the diplomatic clause is exercised. This is becoming a standard market practice in Singapore.

    Minor Repairs : The Tenant will be responsible for minor repair works. It is common to cap the minor repair amount at between S$150 to S$250. This means that the Landlord will bear the excess for repairs above the agreed amount. However it is not uncommon for some Landlords to ask for higher amount, especially for bigger properties or properties with expensive furnishings.

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Closing the Deal

    When the Tenancy terms have been agreed between the Landlord and Tenant, your agent will prepare final copies for both parties to sign.

    Your agent will assist in the execution of the property stamp duty as required by the Singapore government. Such amount shall be borne by the Tenant. (Stamp fee is approximately 9.6% of the monthly rental.)

    see Stamp Duty Calculator

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Moving In

    You should advise your agent when you wish to take over the keys to the property. It is strongly recommended that you move into the property after TA is duly signed and completed.

    Your agent will assist you to set up the accounts for your Utilities (electricity, water and gas), Internet, Mobile, Telephone (land-line) and Cable TV service.

    see Utility Application

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Handover of Premise

    During the handover, your agent will assist you in reviewing the inventory list and note any existing defects. It is important at this point in time to verify the inventory of furniture and fittings sighted in the Inventory List and its condition, as you will be required to return them in similar condition (fair wear tear excepted) upon vacating the property at the end of the lease.

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Agent Commission

  1. For rentals S$4,000 and above for a 24-month lease, per the current market practice, there is no charge for services.
  2. For rentals S$4,000 and below, per the current market practice, agents will not share commission and as such, 1-month rental equivalent is payable by Tenant.
  3. For rentals S$4,000 and below for a 24-month lease or rentals S$8,000 and below for a 12-month lease, market norms vary and typically, 1-month rental equivalent is payable by Tenant.

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*Please note that information provided is as it is basis, whilst every effort has been made to provide up-to-date information. The author is not responsible for inaccuracies or whatsoever as a result from using this information.


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