7 Things To Demystify About Singapore Condo Rentals

Looking for a condo for rent in Singapore doesn't have to be hard. Read our 7 tips!

Who doesn’t want a fresh start? The possibilities are endless. But, of course, there’s still some adulting to be done before you embark on a new chapter. Singapore’s real estate laws are relatively less confusing than some countries. Even so, renting in Singapore for the first time can still feel like diving into the deep end. It can be frustrating if you don’t know the ins and outs of finding a condo for rent in Singapore. Here are the 7 things that often discombobulate first-timers in Singapore condo rentals, especially in light of astronomical rental demand and leasing demand.


**A couple of quick caveats before we dive in: you need to be eligible for long-term rentals in Singapore. That means you need to be a Singapore Citizen or a Singapore Permanent Resident. Or, you need to be a long term resident with a valid pass, such as the Employment Pass, S Pass, Work Permit, Student Pass, Dependent Pass or Long Term Social Visit Pass. 

And as you move into your Singapore condo rental, do note that there can only be a maximum of 6 occupants in a condo unit. That includes all the other tenants and/or the landlord. Only family members can be exempted from this rule.


1. Rates for Singapore Condo Rentals are quite transparent

You can still gauge the current rental rates in Singapore on an online real estate portal. But if you want a better grasp of the actual rental rates, you need to do a little extra homework. You can check condo rental rates with this Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) e-service. It keeps a record of all the transactions for Singapore condo rentals and segments them according to either postal districts or project names. With a couple of clicks, you can get the actual rates that are being transacted at the condo of your choice. Now, you have extra leverage when you’re negotiating the rental price!

2. Negotiate for a lower rent with longer lease

 You could get a better deal if you sign a longer lease since landlords can save on the hassle of finding a new tenant over and over again. This is true even for flexible leases for Singapore serviced apartments. Understandably, the FOMO will set in because there might be a risk of losing out on a similar apartment for rent that’s cheaper. Well, if it’s any consolation, rent in Singapore is more likely to go up than not.


3. The Letter of Intent (LOI) is not a binding agreement

If you found a new place, be it if it’s just a room or a whole unit for rent in Singapore, you can draft an LOI to essential chope—call dibs—on the place. The letter indicates when you want to move in, the monthly rental that you’re inclined to pay, and often includes contingencies for any extra furnishings and fixtures you need as well. Some property agents do have a copy ready for you to fill and sign too.

But as much as you need to sign the document, it doesn’t legally bind you to rent the unit, it’s best to be truthful to your wants and needs for the unit. You can sweeten the deal by offering a Good Faith Deposit along with the letter. It usually amounts to a month’s worth of rent. Once it’s all done and dusted, it can go on to be used as your first month’s rental, or as the security deposit.

With the Good Faith Deposit, the landlord should not be offering the unit to anyone else. And you should check if the deposit is refundable in the LOI before you sign. Otherwise, the landlord might be entitled to keep your deposit. The landlord can keep the deposit if you decide against renting the property too.

4. You might not need to pay agent fees for Singapore Condo Rentals

Most of the time, you won’t need to pay the agent any commission for when you’re the one that’s looking at property listing sites like PropertyGuru, 99.co, or EdgeProp. However, if you’ve hired a Tenant’s Agent to help you find a property and set up viewings, you do have to fork out a commission as part of their compensation. A Tenant’s Agent could also provide advice and negotiate agreements in the tenant’s favour too.

When it comes to the commission that the Tenant’s Agent may charge, the prevailing rate is usually half-month’s rent or one-month’s rent based on the tenant agreement. If you didn’t manage to sign a binding lease with the Tenant’s Agent you hired, you aren’t required to pay any commission, no matter the services rendered. That said, it doesn’t mean you can play around and have your Tenant’s Agent do so much work without genuine intentions to find a place through the agent.


5. Landlords usually bear the condo maintenance fees

In most Singapore condo rentals, the lease often does not mention the maintenance fees in the tenancy agreement. Most property agents won’t include the cost throughout the lease period too. So you’re free from the extra cost even as you enjoy the wide range of facilities. With high rents caused by the lack of residential properties, this is surely welcome news.

6. Stamp out your stamp duty

Once it’s all signed, sealed, and delivered, the agent would probably prompt you to pay the stamp duty. Technically, stamp duties should be paid beforehand. But there is no penalty if the stamp duty is paid within 14 days of the tenancy agreement being signed in Singapore. If the tenancy agreement was signed overseas, the grace period is up to 30 days.

The stamp duty is calculated as 0.4% of the total rent of the lease if it’s less than four years. Here’s an example: if you found a room for rent in Singapore at $2,000 for 12 months, the payable stamp duty for your Singapore condo rental would be $2,000 x 12 x 0.4% = $96. If the lease is over 4 years, the stamp duty would be 0.4% of four times the AAR for the period of the lease.

You could pay for it on the IRAS e-Stamping portal, or do it in person at any of the Service Bureaus. There are a myriad of ways that you can pay it too, from FAST transfers to Cashier’s Order.

If you don’t pay it, it could void your tenancy agreement, and you might not be able to get your security deposit back. Plus, if you neglect to pay your stamp duty, the act could amount to tax evasion. And the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) will soon be on your heels.


7. The Inventory List should include all furnishings and fixtures by the landlord

Most condominium units do come with swanky furnishings and fixtures for the fully-furnished living spaces and the fully-equipped kitchens. But that means you need to make sure that everything is included in the Inventory List. It’s best to include the accessories and accent furniture too—yes that also means the wi-fi router. That way you have concrete proof of what’s yours and what’s not. Inventory lists are usually handed out after you sign the tenancy agreement. Then the real estate agent will go through it before you move into the unit. Afterwards, both you and the agent would need to sign on the Inventory List to confirm that the items there are valid.

The Inventory List can also be used as a reference for any damaged furniture that needs replacing. Faulty furnishing or appliances shouldn’t be on the Inventory List, unless it’s been replaced. In the event when the landlord of the property agent doesn’t provide an Inventory List, or if you only had a virtual tour of the unit, draft one up and document every item in the apartment unit.


MetroResidences—A Breezy Alternative to Singapore Condo Rentals

Finding a house for rent in Singapore is no small chore. So instead of trawling through listing after listing on online property rentals, why not choose one of the MetroResidences Singapore serviced apartments? We have units in some of the most recognisable residential developments in Singapore: Burlington Square, Duo Residences, Sturdee Residences, V on Shenton, Sky Habitat, and J Gateway. And with us, everything is a breeze with the power of contactless and virtual bookings. You can find, book, and confirm your booking for a serviced apartment, all on our website.

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