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5 Steps for Foreigners to Rent a Condo in Singapore 2024


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Navigating the rental market involves several crucial considerations, from understanding market trends to choosing the right location based on personal and familial needs. This article explores these aspects in-depth, offering valuable insights and practical advice to help you make an informed decision when renting a condominium in Singapore. Whether you’re planning a short-term stay or considering a longer-term investment in Singapore’s dynamic real estate market, this guide aims to equip you with the essential knowledge needed for a stress-free condo rental journey in Singapore.

Jump to each section:

Current condo rental market overview

As of 2024, the cost of buying a condo in Singapore ranges significantly depending on the area, with prices from $1,000 to $3,000 per square foot. For renters, a mid-range 2-bedroom condo on the city fringe might cost about $4,000 to $4,500 per month, while prime locations can see rents as high as $6,000 per month.

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With Homer AI, you can stay updated on all the recent rental transactions in your development, block, and cluster, plus key market trends that will help you price your rental property right.

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Overall, the data suggests a fairly robust rental market in terms of prices, with notable fluctuations in rental transactions that do not severely impact rental prices.

What this means for foreigners looking to rent in Singapore

With stable rent prices, you might consider securing a longer-term lease to lock in current rates, especially if you plan an extended stay in Singapore. However, you might need to move quickly. The stabilisation of rental transactions in early 2024 might indicate a saturated market, which could make finding a unique rental property more challenging.

Off-peak seasons for lower rent or less competition

We also looked at data from previous years to find out when the off-peak seasons are for you to enter the condo rental market. 

1. Post mid-year: July and August

Following the mid-year peak in leasing activity, there appears to be a dip in the volume of leases. This could be a favorable time for you to rent, as reduced competition might lead to better negotiation leverage on rental terms and possibly lower rent offers as landlords aim to fill vacancies more urgently.

2. End of the year: November and December

This period also shows a reduction in lease commencements. Many potential renters might be delaying moves due to the holiday season, leading to less competition. Additionally, landlords might be inclined to offer more attractive rental terms to secure tenants before the year ends, potentially lowering costs or offering better lease conditions.

When buying a property in Singapore, have you taken into account buyer stamp duty or Additional BSD?
  • Tenancy agreement: Understand the terms of the lease, including the duration, rent amount, what’s included in the rent, and conditions for termination.
  • Diplomatic clause: This allows foreigners to terminate the lease early without penalty, usually after 12 months, if they are no longer employed or have to leave Singapore.

2. Rights and obligations when renting a condo

  • Maintenance responsibilities: Know what you are responsible for and what falls under the landlord’s responsibilities.
  • Privacy rights: Tenants have rights to privacy, and landlords must give notice before visiting the property unless it’s an emergency.

3. Costs when renting a condo

When renting a condo in Singapore, you should consider the following costs:

  • Rental fee: This is the monthly payment made to the landlord. It varies widely based on location, size, and luxury level of the property.
  • Security deposit: Typically equivalent to one month’s rent for every year of the lease, refunded at the end of the tenancy, assuming no damages.
  • Agent’s fee: If an agent is used to find the rental, their fees are usually equivalent to one month’s rent for a two-year lease, though this can sometimes be borne by the landlord.
  • Utilities: Expenses such as electricity, water, and internet are usually not included in the rent.
  • Maintenance fees: For condos, these fees may be covered by the landlord, but it’s important to clarify who is responsible.

3 factors to consider when choosing the right location

1. Proximity to international schools

If you have children, you might want to look at Bukit Timah, which is home to several international schools, such as Singapore American School, Hollandse School, Swiss School in Singapore. 

2. Near shopping malls and amenities

Districts like Orchard Road and Marina Bay offer extensive retail and dining options. However, as these areas are popular, they can be very congested and noisy. The developments in these areas also tend to come at a premium. 

3. Access to public transport

Living near MRT stations, such as those in Tampines or Woodlands, can significantly ease daily commutes.

5 essential steps to rent a condo in Singapore for foreigners

1. Search for a condo for rent on property portals

There are many property portals that let you search for condos for rent manually, but if you don’t want to spend so much time on this, then you can get matched to a rental property that fits all your requirements here.

2. Check the legitimacy of the property agent and schedule viewings

Estate Agents are granted licences by Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) and the salespersons of the estate agents are registered. They can perform estate agency work only if they have a valid licence or registration.

Check the CEA’s Public Register of Estate Agents and Salespersons so you may:

  • Know whether a person is a registered salesperson
  • Whether a real estate agent or salesperson has been disciplined by the Council within the last three years; and
  • Know whether any awards have been conferred on a real estate agent or salesperson by the Council

After you have verified the property agent’s legitimacy, you may start sending an enquiry.

Upon enquiry, the property agent will ask you about your profile:

  • Name
  • Occupation
  • Type of Work Pass
  • How many are staying at the condo
  • How are you related to the other tenants
  • Move-in Date

Be honest about the number of occupants (if you are sharing the rental with a friend, spouse or family). Once you have shortlisted the condominium that suits your budget, move-in date and other preferences, schedule a viewing with the property agent.

3. Prepare your Tenancy Requirements

Here is the list of tenancy requirements that you must prepare:

  1. Photocopy/softcopy and original Singapore Pass card
  2. Photocopy/softcopy and original travel document
  3. The budget for one-month advance Rental Fee, Security Deposit, Stamp Duty and one-month deposit
  4. Local contact number and e-mail so that the real estate agent and the landlord may contact you

4. Letter of Intent (LOI) & Tenancy Agreement (TA)

LOI is addressed to the landlord. It is where you’ll state your intentions to enter a tenancy agreement. Sending this letter will serve as a lead up to signing up the official and legal binding Tenancy Agreement (TA).

Furthermore, sending this to the landlord means that they would have to stop advertising the condominium unit for rent to someone else, meaning you can stop other would-be tenants to look into the property.

Important items in the LOI:

  • Reservation Deposit – This is also known as a “good faith deposit.” This will ensure that your landlord stops looking for other tenants to rent the property. Later on, this deposit will become part of your advance rental fee for the first month or security deposit right after you signed the TA.

  • Security Deposit – The standard deposit for a one-year lease is one month’s rent. When the term ends, you can get a refund without interest but the landlord has a right to deduct costs incurred from you breaching any of the covenants in the TA. Do note that the security deposit cannot be used to offset the last month rent should you choose not to renew the lease.

  • Term of Lease – Usually, the rental period in Singapore is 1 or 2 years. Just make sure to state how long you plan to reside in the property. When the time comes for you to renew it, be sure to inform your landlord 2-3 months prior to your end date.

Signing of TA

This agreement will be drafted and prepared for you by your property agent. All contents in your TA will be based on your LOI. Ensure to check every detail mentioned in the TA.

Inventory list

The next step is for you to do an inspection along with the landlord/ property agent to make sure everything is good condition. Record everything in the Inventory List which the property agent will prepare. You need to sign the inventory list with the with the landlord/ property agent.

5. Issue the Payment and Handover

A friendly reminder is that never pay anything in advance because, in legitimate property agent transactions, you issue a check or create a fund transfer to the landlord’s bank account. Property agents are not allowed to accept cash payments. Learn more about CEA reminders for tenants.

After the handover, there is a one month warranty, this means that the landlord will bear all the costs for labour and materials required for repairs during this period. Thus, inspect all the details in the unit and report immediately to the property agent.

After 1 month, all repairs not exceeding $200 will be your responsibility. Anything more than $200 is subject to the landlord’s approval.

Speak to a property agent today to explore all your options and get tailored advice

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