I realized soon after writing a post about how much you can expect to pay for your initial HDB rental payments and the new HDB registration law, I should actually go into the rental procedure itself. Well, it looks like I finally got round to it! It’s not a complicated procedure, and I’m sure you’ll be able to wrap your arms around it in no time.
Let’s start with the things you’ll have to bring along:
- Photocopied passport
- Photocopied employment pass
- Good faith deposit of one month rental
1) Screening, screen like crazy!
Finding a place to rent (or buy, for that matter) usually involves sequential elimination – you have your shortlist (evoked set, in marketingspeak) and your criteria, and at each stage of the decision making process you eliminate the options not having an expected given attribute (yes, I know I’m showing off but I’m trying to prove that I learned something during my years in college).
I know I’ve already gone through this part, but I’d just like to reiterate how important it is to know what you want before you sign. You so do not want to go through buyer’s remorse and be stuck with a place you hate for a year (at least). That’ll be as fun as walking on red hot coals… with an elephant on your back. If you’re new here, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your family and agent.
2) Letter of Intent (LOI)
The LOI is a formal letter to the landlord that clearly states your intention to lease the room/flat and your requirements. The offer is accepted when the landlord signs the LOI. It also a common law prerequisite that some consideration be given before a contract becomes binding. This is where your one month’s advance rental comes in.
There are a few things that you should take note of here, such as the diplomatic clause, your security deposit, your term of lease and your requirements. If there are additional things that you might need, it should be discussed with your landlord and added at this juncture. While oral contracts are binding in Singapore, what’s the harm of making sure it’s written down? Once it’s signed, the landlord is bound to provide you with the things you require.
Please conduct an inventory check at this point to ensure that everything that’s supposed to be there, is well, there. Take photos! If at the end of the tenancy, there’s damage arising from anything other than wear and tear to any of the inventoried items, you’ll have to pay for them. Without the photos, it might get a bit tricky to decide on a fair price.
The LOI will also have a clause that states the ‘Expiry of the LOI’. If the landlord does not sign the LOI within this period, the LOI expires and he/she must return the good faith deposit to you.
The Tenancy Agreement is a contract between you and your landlord. Go through it carefully, ensuring that everything you’ve agreed upon is reflected. If you’re unsure of some of the terms or clauses, ask your agent for some help. I’ll expand on some of the more interesting details in the tenancy agreement in a future post.
Just a note. If you’re renting a room, your electricity and water bills will be borne by the landlord. However, if you’re renting the whole unit, you’ll be paying the bills yourself.
The contract is complete when the Tenancy Agreement has been signed by you and the landlord and the various payments have been made. As a tenant, remember that you’ll also have to bear the stamp duties. For the landlord, please remember that you have up to 7 days to register the details of your new housemate with the HDB.
See, it’s not really that hard, is it? It’s quite similar for private properties such as bungalows as well. Now that you know the renting procedure, why don’t you take a look at some your options at my listings page. Leave a comment if there’s anything else you’d like to know!