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Renting for an HBD Flat to live in is not as simple as it seems, and it’s not just about finding a spacious or beautiful unit. There are actually more important things to consider. Remember, Singapore has a stricter process when it comes to renting. Everything has to be formally done, unlike its neighboring countries.  Otherwise, you can get into a lot of trouble. But what are the things you need to know before renting a flat?

Look for an Agent

Some people opt to do the property search on their own, and that’s fine. However, it can be a tedious process. There are so many options to choose from and you might be overwhelmed. Thus, it is recommended to look for an agent. Not only that you can find the best property according to your needs and budget, but you get to bypass all the other legwork. Make sure that you provide your property standards so they can narrow the options even further. Think about the following:

How much should you spend on your rent?

This has got to be less than 40% of your total income.

Do you want it fully furnished?

We suggest that yes, get a fully furnished unit so you don’t have to buy a new appliance. Renting a fully furnished flat will help you save some money.

Can you bear long travel time?

If no, then get something nearer the ‘civilization’.

Prepare Necessary Documents

With your agent’s guidance, ask for the necessary documents that you have to prepare. If you are a resident or an expat, different documents will be required from you.  

Provide a Letter of Intent to the Landlord

This is a formal letter stating your intent to lease the property. It is also the platform where you can put your specific requests. You may add a diplomatic clause and even a request for a piece of new furniture. Have this signed by the landlord to

Secure and Review Tenancy Agreement

This will be prepared by the landlord and will require both your signature. Upon signing the agreement, you need to complete the security deposit, the 1 month deposit and 1 month advance rental. Note that when you review your agreement, the following items should be covered:

Utility Bills

As a standard, utilities are the tenant’s responsibility. However, there are landlords who provide fixed bills that are packaged together with the rental cost.

Maintenance

If the repair or maintenance cost is less than $150, the tenant can shoulder it. However, if the repair needs to be massive and is considered major, this shall be discussed with the landlord.

Rental Cost

There are times that the landlord will specify separate rental costs for the premises, furniture, and maintenance. You just need to check the total rental amount if it all adds correctly.

Stamp Duty

Your agreement should be stamped by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore. If this is not secured, then your contract will not be valid.

Term of Lease

Generally, renting or lease period is a minimum of 1 year. This can be with or without an option to renew.

Moving In

When the renting or lease contract has been settled, you may now move in. But first, the landlord will provide you a list of inventory. Make sure that you check it as well for possible damages.

One last tip, do not rush things. We know that it can get pretty exciting to move to a new home. But if you bypass any crucial step, you might end up not being happy and terminating your contract, which by the way is extremely costly.