I hear lots of horror stories about rental disasters in Singapore. The good news is that all can be avoided with a bit of prior thought and diligence.
Read on for my Top 5: Common Rental Mistakes in Singapore (and how to avoid them)
1. Not using an agent
Some people think that the property rental process is easy and choose not to use an agent to represent them, however, they failed to see the value add that an agent can bring and end up negotiating a bad deal. A good agent will always serve in your best interest, give you proper advice, help you negotiate the terms of the lease to ensure your needs are met, complete the paperwork, check land ownership, do a thorough property check and be your liaison when dealing with the landlord.
2. Not budgeting properly
Besides considering the monthly rent, security deposit and stamp duty, you also need to budget for on-going things like utilities, groceries, transport cost, cable and internet fees, school fees (if you have children), etc. It’s a good practice to first work out a list of living costs before you decide how much rent you can afford.
3. Not negotiating the terms of the lease
Some tenants, who sign a lease without the help and advice from an agent, most often may not be familiar with the standard market practices and end up in situations that are not favourable to them, for example not negotiating the diplomatic clause to cover for all possible outcomes.
4. Not taking photos of the condition of the property during handover
It’s a common mistake among tenants for not properly documenting the condition of the property when they first moved in. Having a good record of the condition of the property, including photos and written reports of any existing damage like stained titles or scratched flooring, will be extremely useful at the end of the lease if there are any disputes later over who caused the damage.
5. Not informing the landlord of defects as and when they occur
A small defect can get worse over time, leading to a much bigger problem in the future if it was not reported and fixed earlier. Landlords rely on their tenants to fix, or inform them about the defects. It could save both parties more money in the long run to fix them while the issue is relatively minor.