Renting in Singapore: 5 Common Terms for Tenants



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Planning to rent a home in Singapore? Consider yourself lucky! The rental prices in Singapore fell in September for both non-landed private homes and HDB flats as compared to August.

Before embarking on your housing journey, here are the key terms that new tenants in Singapore need to be familiar with.

Common Home Rental Terms for Tenants in Singapore

1. Letter of Intent

Letter of Intent (LOI) shows the landlord that you are serious in your intentions to rent the place. Include in the LOI your duration of stay and requests eg. new bed, etc.

Though it is not mandatory, some property agents representing the landlord may ask you for it, especially if there are other several potential tenants who are interested in the unit.
This is usually valid for three days unless otherwise specified in the letter, which means that the landlord would have to advise you during that period whether he accepts it or not. If not, the LOI will expire.

2. HDB Approval

For renting of HDB flats in Singapore, landlords would have to obtain HDB’s approval to rent out the flat before you sign a Tenancy Agreement (TA). Only flat owners who are Singapore Citizens (SC) can rent out their whole flat.
You need to ensure that the rental flat has been approved before giving any security deposit.

3. Security Deposit

The security deposit is equivalent to one month’s rent for a 12-month lease or two months rent for a 24-month lease. This deposit after deduction shall be refunded without interest to you when the tenancy period expires or is terminated. You cannot utilise this to set off any rent payable.

4. Inventory List

Each party will need to keep a copy of the Inventory List. During your handover, the landlord or his agent will go through the list with you. You need to double-check that everything that’s written is accurate to spare you from unnecessary costs upon the expiry of your tenancy.
Some inventory lists may specify that you have received three sets of keys for the flat, but you actually received only two sets. If you haven’t asked the agent to amend that, you would need to duplicate another set of keys upon handover.

This may seem like just another piece of paper, yet this list serves as conclusive evidence of the condition of furniture and fixtures in the flat during the handover of the unit.

5. Tenancy Agreement

After you have discussed and agreed with the landlord on the terms of the rental, the landlord or his agent should document all the agreed terms of tenancy in the TA.
Tenancy agreement or rental agreement safeguards parties against the repercussions that come along with early termination of the tenancy by the other. TA becomes legally binding, especially in the event of a tenancy dispute.

Now that you’re familiar with the property rental terms in Singapore, time to search for your new home away from home! Here’s a step-by-step guide to renting an HDB in Singapore for foreigners.

Ohmyhome has several app features that may help you in your home searching.
Download Ohmyhome from Play Store or App Store now!

Sources: Business Times,, CEA, CEA

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