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Property Rental for Foreigners: Frequently Asked Questions by Tenants


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If you have just relocated to Singapore, and you have several questions regarding home rental, you’ve come to the right place!

Renting a property in Singapore for more than six years gave us much-needed property rental knowledge. Based on our experience, these are the most common questions we’ve come across.

5 Frequently Asked Questions by Tenants

1. Is there a standard Tenancy Agreement (TA)?

Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) provides a tenancy agreement template for the lease of HDB flats and private residential properties. But the use of it is not mandated.
Hence, you need to fundamentally understand the home rental terms in Singapore for a smooth housing journey.

Some property agents may not include all provisions in the template provided. For instance, we needed to ask the agent representing the landlord in the previous condo we have rented to include a Diplomatic Clause in our TA.

2. I am a foreigner, what if I need to relocate and terminate my lease before its expiry?

The diplomatic clause allows you to terminate your lease before its expiry upon the occurrence of specified events. Double-check that your TA has stipulated this.

In a standard TA, it states that if at any time after the expiration of usually 12 months from the date of the commencement of the tenancy, if you were to be transferred out of the Republic of Singapore permanently by your employer, or if for any cause whatsoever you would be ordered to leave the Republic of Singapore. It will be lawful for you to terminate your tenancy by giving due notice or paying in lieu of such notice.
Such notice will be served on the Landlord together with documentary evidence of such transfer, cessation of employment or any other evidence.

3. Can I sign a Tenancy Period for only 3 months? What is the maximum tenancy period?

For HDB flats, renting out on a short-term basis is not allowed. The minimum renting out period is 6 months while the maximum renting out period is 3 years per application. However, if one or more of the tenants is a non-Malaysian NC, the maximum renting out period is only 1.5 years.
The tenancy period for private properties shall not be for less than three (3) consecutive months. Airbnb-style leases in HDB flats remain illegal in Singapore.

4. What is a problem-free period and how long is it?

The landlord shall not hold you responsible for any defects of any item, furniture and/or fittings in the property that you have identified and brought to the landlord’s attention. The landlord shall be responsible for rectifying any defects so identified.

The problem-free period is usually one month, in some cases, it could be as long as two months, depending on the landlord. The period must be specified in the TA.

5. Should the Tenancy Stamp Duty be paid for by the tenant?

After landlords and tenants have signed the TA, both parties have to agree on when to hand over the property. Within 14 days of signing the tenancy agreement, stamp duty on the rental must be paid to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

Generally, tenants are responsible for making the stamp duty payment, unless otherwise agreed by the landlord. You can check the amount payable via IRAS’ website. The party paying the stamp duty should also check that the duty is fully paid by requesting the stamp duty certificate.

6. Should the tenants pay for the minor repairs required in the property?

Upon the expiry of the Problem-Free Period, you shall be responsible for all minor repairs and replacement of parts and other expendable items including but not limited to all electrical appliances and light bulbs so long as the cost per item per incident does not exceed the amount you have agreed on.

For HDB flats, it’s usually capped at $150 and at $200 for private apartment or condos.

Such expenditure in excess of the indicated amount will be borne by the landlord provided that the damage is not due to your negligence or wilful default. For any repair or replacement that exceeds the amount indicated, you need to obtain the prior written consent of the landlord to proceed with any such minor repairs.

The landlord will reimburse you within seven (7) days for any costs in excess of the indicated amount. If an item is faulty and beyond repair, the landlord will bear the full cost of replacing the item provided the fault is not due to the Tenant’s negligence or willful default.

Start your housing journey with this 7-step guide in renting an HDB or 6-step guide in renting a condo in Singapore for foreigners.

If you’re looking to rent a room, here are the answers to the frequently asked questions when renting a room in Singapore.

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You can also call us at 6886 9009 to secure an appointment with any of our Super Agents or message us in the chatbox at the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen. You can also WhatsApp us at 9727 5270!

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