Renting a condo in Hong Kong is going to be cheaper in the coming months. Savills.com revealed that rent in Kowloon and New Territories fell in the first quarter of 2016. Even Hong Kong Island went through lower rental demand. The increase of available units in Sha Tin, Homantin and Yuen Long means tenants have a lot of options. It can be assumed that rental property owners will be lowering their lease prices because they want to get tenants to choose them over other units.

If you have yet to become a homeowner, you are probably one of the millions of residents who have to rent a place in Hong Kong. That is not a problem because there are several units to choose from in the region.

Tips For Renting Your First Condo In Hong Kong

4 factors to consider when finding a condo for rent in Hong Kong

Location

You want to live as close to your work as possible. However, the closer you are to the central business district, the more expensive it will be to rent a place. You want to be smart when you make your choice. If you cannot live in the same neighbourhood as your workplace, you want to position yourself near the MTR. The great thing about Hong Kong is most residential buildings are more or less 10 minutes away from an MTR station. Apart from your commute concerns, you also have to think about your proximity to amenities and the possible services that you will need. If you will be renting a condo that is far from the city centre, you want to ensure that a hospital or supermarket is nearby.

Size

The next consideration is the size of the unit. Hong Kong is a densely populated region. That means dwelling places will be quite small. In fact, it is very typical for a family to live in less than 50 sqm. Not only is it expensive, it will also be small. If you live alone, this is not really a problem. But if you have to live with your family and kids, it can be a challenge. In most cases, the more densely populated the place is, you should expect the units to be smaller.

 

Build

Obviously, you need to look at the physical qualities of the unit. How is it constructed? A condo or flat in Hong Kong is in a building. Since this is a densely populated region, developers will focus on having several units in a small plot of land. This is why you need to look at the building too. Is it an old building? Most of the residential buildings are either classified as an “old building” or a “new building.”

The old buildings are those over 30 years. Make sure the building is still in good condition. Not only that, you need to look at the position of the condo in the building. Usually, those in the higher levels have prime spots, thus making them more expensive. The view is also a consideration: S/V refers to a sea view, G/V refers to a garden view, and M/V refers to a mountain view.

 

Price

Renting a condo would mean that you will be living in an apartment or high-rise building with several other units. If there are lots of vacancies in the building, you can easily negotiate with the landlord to lower the price – lest you will move to another unit. However, you need to take into consideration the average rental rates in that area. If the building is large,  in a prime location, and the unit is in a prime level, expect it to be costly. If you prefer renting a condo in a better neighbourhood that is not too cramped, you may want to spend more than HK$5,000 a month on it.

How to find a rental condo in Hong Kong

Now that you know the 4 important considerations when renting a condo in Hong Kong, it is time to determine how you will find the right rental for you. Estate Agents Authority mentioned that it is common for landlords and tenants to transact through a real estate agent. While it is possible to search for a property yourself, finding an agent is the easiest way to get what you want. They know the area well and will be able to expedite the search. Just make sure you look for legitimate agencies in Hong Kong.

 

If you ask an agent to help you find a rental place, make sure you stick with them until the leasing contract is drafted. If you find a flat and decide to talk to the landlord or landlady directly, you might be charged by the agent with a commission even if the “service” is not complete. Most of the time, the fee of the agent is 50% of the monthly rental. They will also get 50% from the owner of the rental property. The only way you will not be charged by the real estate agent is when you finalise the deal with the owner 3 months after visiting the unit with the agent.

If you want to pursue renting a condo on your own, make sure you are aware of the legal requirements to finalise the deal. Most of the time, the owner would want to deal with tenants directly. They also want to skip paying an agent – especially if you are looking for a budget flat or unit. In case you have to view the leasing contract yourself, here are the important details to check:

  • How long will the contract last?

The usual period is 2 years. There should be a termination clause wherein you will not be charged with a penalty as long as both the tenant and owner agree to terminate the contract.

  • How much is the rental price?

The cost should be clear in the contract. It should also contain the fees that are involved in using shared or communal facilities. Some owners will shoulder these costs for a higher monthly lease while others will ask you to pay it. Make sure the inclusions of the rental price are clearly stated.

  • How much deposit is required?

Most of the time, 1 month’s worth of rent as the holding deposit is needed, and 2 to 3 months’ worth of rent is the security deposit. The security deposit is refunded after the leasing contract expires – as long as there is no breach of the contract.

  • How can the contract be renewed?

This should be discussed a month before the contract is to expire. You will have to negotiate with the owner on whether they will raise the rental rate or not.

 

Renting a condo in Hong Kong should be done legally to ensure that you do not encounter problems with your lease. In case you have questions, you can consult a lawyer to look over the leasing contract for advice.

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Abigail Wong is the Writer of The New Savvy.

She is a Singapore Management University 2nd year undergraduate specialising in Strategic Management. From Tampa, Florida, she possesses an International Baccalaureate diploma from C. Leon King High School, and previously held the position of Treasurer of the King High School Division of the French National Honour Society and the Science National Honour Society. Abigail is currently acting as President of the French Cultural Club for SMU International Connections, and as a Resident Advisor and Fire Warden for the SMU Residences at Prinsep.

Abigail is a Former Florida Science Olympiad Champion in chemical forensics and protein modelling, and former Health Occupation Student’s Association District Champion in clinical nursing.

In her free time, Abigail enjoys interacting and caring for animals. She has previously volunteered for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay as an Adoption Assistant.

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