Congratulations! You have just secured a posting to Singapore! I’m sure immediately after celebrating for a while a big question mark may hover over you. How do you go about renting a place in Singapore?

Fret not! This guide will help you understand better the process of renting a place in Singapore, the expenses as well as legal documentation required to secure your dream home.

Understanding Singapore

Singapore is a small island nation divided into 28 different distinct districts. Expatriates coming to Singapore who prefer lifestyle living will move to districts nearer to town or Central Business District (CBD). There are also those that choose to rent places nearer to the heartland area to experience a different lifestyle here in Singapore.


Where do I start looking from?

The good news is that Singapore is not a very big island. The whole of Singapore measures an estimated 50km (31mi) from. east to west and 27km (17mi) from north to south.

Commuting in Singapore is a breeze with our first-class public transportation network of buses, MRT (subway), and taxis. Before you start cherry-picking locations to start your home search, I strongly suggest you complete the next step to help save you time and be more efficient in your approach. Remember, your objective is to look for ONE suitable house that meets your important needs, not see a hundred houses for the sake of viewing.

Things you should consider for your new home

While I know it’s exciting to want to rent a place in Singapore in a location that came highly recommended by a friend or even after reading some exciting online articles, I suggest a more structured approach. Your home must be tailored to your daily needs. Speak to me if you need to understand more in detail.

  • There are a few things for you to seriously consider:
  • Where is your office?
  • Where is your children’s school? (For those who are coming with your children)
  • How much space and bedrooms do you need?
  • What is your budget range?
  • What will be your means of transportation?

With this clear list of specifications, it becomes easier to zoom into the potential ideal location.

A gentle word of advice

I have heard many times from expatriates moving to Singapore for the first time that a 20 minute walk is a piece of cake back home and have selected places that are relatively far from transportation means.

Singapore is a little different. Not that the paths and roads are very difficult nor treacherous, it is the humidity of our Singapore weather that makes challenging.

Imagine walking for 10 minutes with your formal attire and perspiring throughout your entire walk. Not a way to begin your beautiful day isn’t it?

Your search begins…

To begin your search to rent a place in Singapore, you need to know where to start looking. In Singapore, there are a few major property portals that provide the majority of the listings. Most of the time you will see duplicated listings across the different portals; namely PropertyGuru,, SRX, and EdgeProp.

You may opt to do-it-yourself seething those the 1,000s of listings or appoint an experienced real estate salesperson (agent) who specialises in relocating expatriates to Singapore.

Engaging an agent to help you will help you cut short the hassle and footwork needed to draw up a list of possible options for your new home. Being a local, this agent can advise you about the neighbourhood that you are viewing and also point out the pros and cons of the houses you viewed.

The agent can also help negotiate terms and prices plus point out unfavourable clauses to you. Saving you from unnecessary headaches in the future. Speak to me if you wish to understand more about engaging the right agent to assist you.

Things to know about renting a place in Singapore

I will share with you what are the documental procedures together with the common practices that you may want to look out for.

Letter of Intent

The Letter of Intent or LOI is a proposal from the Tenant to the Landlord containing the proposed rental and a summary of verbally agreed terms. A good faith deposit or booking deposit is usually accompanied together with the Letter of Intent when presented to the Landlord for consideration. Upon signing the acceptance in the Letter of Intent and the good faith deposit, the Landlord officially accepts your proposal.

Duration of Lease

The duration of a lease is usually between 12 to 24 months to be agreed between both the Landlord and the Tenant. The Tenant may request for an option to renew for another 12 or 24 months subject to prevailing market rates 2 months before the expiry of the lease. Generally, Landlords in Singapore are not keen on lease terms less than 12 months and tenants usually may have to pay a premium for shorter-term lease.

Diplomatic Clause

A diplomatic clause is to safeguard the Tenant in the event he/she is no longer employed, transferred to other countries. With the relevant documentation, the Tenant can terminate the lease after 12 months by giving 2 months’ notice or rental in lieu. Thereafter, the security deposit will be refunded to you. However, most Landlord will include the diplomatic clause if the lease is more than a year.

Good Faith Deposit (Booking Deposit)

Good Faith Deposit or Booking Deposit is usually equivalent to one month’s rent. This deposit is accompanied together with a Letter of Intent stating the proposed rental price, general terms and conditions that the Tenant requires for the Tenancy. Upon receiving the Letter of Intent and the booking deposit, the landlord will decide whether to accept the terms in the Letter of Intent together with the booking deposit. Once the Landlord signs the Letter of Intent and accepts the deposit, the landlord undertakes not to lease the apartment to another party. The booking deposit will become part of the first-month rental or security deposit upon signing the Tenancy Agreement.

Security Deposit 

The security deposit is usually payable with the signing of the Tenancy Agreement. The amount of security deposit required by the Landlord from the Tenant is normally stated in the Letter of Intent (LOI). In general practice, it is usually one month’s rent for every 12 months of lease. At the end of the lease, the security deposit is to be refunded back to the tenant without interest within a stipulated number of days stated in the Tenancy Agreement. However, the Landlord reserves the right to deduct from the security deposit any cost of repair, damages, and expenses arising from the Tenant for breaching any of the clauses stated in the Tenancy Agreement or repairs arising from negligence or misuse by the tenant during the Tenancy.


Partial Furnished – In a partially furnished apartment, the Landlord basically provides the white goods such as refrigerator, washer, and dryer.

Fully Furnished – In a fully furnished apartment, most if not all the required basic furniture are provided. The Tenant basically just needs to move in with their luggage bags.

There are instances whereby the apartment is partially furnished and the Tenant will require furnishing. The Tenant has the option to request the Landlord to provide, subject to adjustments in the rental or he/she can choose to lease furniture based on their own taste and requirements.

Payment Mode

In Singapore, the Tenant can make monthly rental payments to Landlord using cheques, cash, or via internet transfer. Most Tenants opt for Internet Transfer or Standing Order as it eliminates the possibility of overlooking the payment of rental to the Landlord.

30-day warranty period

You will need to ensure that you have a 30 day warranty period in your Tenancy Agreement.

It is impossible to spot all the defects or appliances failure in the short span of 30 to 45 minutes during the takeover of the property.

Air Conditioner Servicing

Air Conditioner is an important fixture in the apartment as Singapore has a hot and humid climate.

Servicing this important appliance is required on a regular basis, usually once every 3 months by qualified air conditioner contractors. Their job is to clean the fan coil blowers to ensure that the air conditioner works in optimum conditions.

A service contract is usually drawn between the Tenant and the contractor to service every quarter and a copy is forwarded to the Landlord for reference.

The most important part of your relocation to Singapore

Once you have found a place to rent in Singapore, your beautiful journey into a new chapter begins. This is also the best part of being relocated to Singapore. Enjoy your stay here and savour the wide variety of food and our diversified culture. This will be one posting that you will never regret!

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