By Jamie Nonis / EdgeProp | Published: November 27, 2017
Room rental and sharing your space with strangers may not be the most ideal. Navigating the room rental market can also be particularly stressful, as horror stories certainly abound. Here are four common questions to help you protect your interests and avoid potential pitfalls.
1. Is the Room Rental Legal?
It is normal to assume that dealings are aboveboard, especially in Singapore. But it’s best to be safe as there may be shady individuals who are not necessarily playing by the rules.
Apart from basic things like verifying the property agent’s credentials with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), check whether the person renting the room out to you is really the owner of the property. Or is he the tenant subletting the room? If it’s the latter, there may be complications and other implications you might not realise until further down the road.
Take note of the maximum number of tenants and occupants allowed in each flat when renting a bedroom. Additionally, do note that any short-term rental of a home or room for a period of less than six months is illegal in Singapore – regardless of whether it’s an HDB flat or private unit.
Only bedrooms originally constructed by the Housing & Development Board (HDB) can be rented out. All other parts of the flat (including partitioned rooms) cannot be used as bedrooms for tenants.
2. Is the Rental Price Negotiable?
Do your homework and check similar listings in the same neighbourhood or building to find out what the going rate for a comparable rental unit is. The prices listed on the internet are usually open to negotiation so while there may be an upward price bias, it’s good to have an understanding of the price trends before you head to the negotiating table, and even before you start your search.
3. What’s Included in the Rental Fee?
The following are some of the questions you may ask during negotiation:
- Are utilities included?
- How about wifi?
- Is the room already furnished or partially furnished?
- Is there an air-con?
- Does it come with an attached bath or non-attached bath?
4. Can I Cook and Entertain Guests?
It is common for some landlords to disallow cooking on the premises. Some do not allow tenants’ friends to visit. Sleepovers are also usually a no-no. And the rental price is often higher for couples sharing a room. So check what the landlord’s stand on these is before you sign the contract, as it may affect your lifestyle.
May this guide help you get started on your room rental journey in Singapore.