Booking Procedure and Requirements

Date created 11.05.2016 09:25:14

Booking and Confirmation

Once you've decided on a listing and got a booking confirmation, a licensed housing estate agent will get in touch with you. In Singapore, all housing agent are professionals who are government by a statutory board and will assist you in securing the rent, answering your questions and be present during the check-in and check-out process. Engaging the housing agent will also ensure that the lease is conducted in accordance to the local law with the proper paperwork, check that the property ownership or authority to lease it is valid, and most important of all, represents you in case of any dispute with the landlord. The agency fee is typically fixed at half-month of the rent and it's a cost you should always factor in to get the best experiences out of the whole rental process, especially as a foreigner.

The recommended process will be as follows:

  1. Email rental @ a copy of your passport(s) and student pass(es) of all occupant
  2. Pay a good faith deposit of one-month which will become part of the security deposit to be held by landlord
  3. Sign a tenancy agreement - you will receive a draft copy and an opportunity to review it
  4. Once you're satisfied with the agreement, both parties - you (tenant) and the landlord, will sign it.
  5. Prepare funds to pay the following on arrival:
    - First month rental
    - Agency fee (typically half-month of rent)
    - Government tax (stamp duty) 
  6. During check-in, a joint-inspection of the apartment or room will be performed with the agent
  7. Sign an inventory list and take-over the keys and access cards (if any)

If there are more than one occupant in the list, you will need to identify one person as the "main tenant" to sign the tenancy agreement while the other names will be listed inside the contract as occupants.


During the tenancy

These are some points to expect during the stay

  • Monthly Rental Payment - Most landlord will prefer a direct bank transfer of the monthly rent without demand and on-time every month, usually on the same commencement date of the month. If you are paying by cash, there are cash deposit machines which you can use and have a receipt issued.
  • Utility SuppliesThe rental payment does NOT include the utility bills for water, gas, and electricity. These has to be applied separately under the tenant. Your agent will assist you to apply for a utility account after the tenancy agreement is signed. The monthly cost of utility depends on your usage, but an estimate will be about $80 per person per month. * The air-conditoning cost about 60% of the above bill in terms of electricity, so if you use less air-con, it may cost less.
  • Broadband WiFi - Unless you're renting a room which usually comes with WiFi subscription by the landlord, you will have to take up a WiFi plan from one of the service provider. Most plans require a long-term contract of at least 1 or 2 years for special monthly rates, but talk to your agent to recommend one which you may not need to be tie down to a contract and fit your needs.
  • Air-Conditioner Servicing - All tenants are expected to maintain the air-conditioning units in the room or premises by engaging a professional servicing company. The usual frequency is every quarterly (3-months) and cost will range about $30 to $50 per unit. It's uncommon to have any rooms without air-conditioners in sunny hot Singapore. If regular servicing is not done as scheduled, the tenant will be responsible for the full cost of any repair and this will not come cheap.


Expiration of lease

The main concern for most tenants during this stage is when and how the security deposit will be refunded without deductions. Do note that the security deposit cannot be use to offset the last month's rental payment. The landlord will hold it until a joint-inspection of the premises is done, ensuring there are no damages and in tenantable clean condition. The general rule of thumb is to return it in the same condition as you've received it. Following are the common checks:

  1. Air-con servicing report or receipt to be provided as proof of regular service done. If these are not provided, missing, or not being performed at all, the landlord will deduct an amount equal to the cost of it AND may even charge extra as a penalty for non-compliances to the agreed servicing schedule. This is because the air-con system may be spoilt due to non-servicing and caused future problems, even though it may still function normally during the joint-inspection. 
  2. Curtains to be sent for cleaning and a receipt to be provided as proof. This is usually done a week or two before the joint-inspection date. Again, if this is not done, the landlord will deduct the cost from the security deposit and may again charge extra for the effort and time needed.
  3. The furniture, keys, security cards and accessories like remote controls will be accounted for according to the inventory list signed during check-in. Other than normal wear and tear to the furniture or any abnormally noted during the check-in, you are expected to repair and fix any damages before the expiration of the lease. Many tenants fail to do this and this is the main reason for further delay in having the security deposit refunded - because extra time is needed to get them repaired or a repair quotation to be given before the landlord know how much deductions to be made. This includes replacing any bulbs and having the premises cleaned up thoroughly to at least the same cleanliness it was handled over to you.

There you go if you want a smooth joint-inspection and perhaps have your deposit refunded to you in a timely fashion! Most standard tenancy agreement allow for a 2-weeks period for the landlord to refund the deposit especially if there are issues to be addressed, however you may also try to request for a cash refund on the spot after the joint-inspection by assuring the landlord that the above will be performed diligently. Do consult your agent for advise if needed.



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