Determine your requirements
There are 3 ways to find a suitable property:
Another way is to appoint a real estate agent to help you to find your ideal house. Make sure the agent is from a Licensed Estate Agency. Be specific when you discuss your requirements with your agent. This will allow him/her to advise and service you in a professional manner.
Your agent will arrange for you to view available properties that match your criteria. Bring along a small notebook to scribble down both positive and negative points about the property. This will help you make an informed comparison among the properties you have visited. Do be punctual for your viewing appointments.
Besides the property itself, pay attention to surrounding areas. If you can, have a quick walk around. Take note of the ambience, cleanliness and noise levels. You can always change the property interior but there is no way you can change the surroundings!
Create a shortlist of suitable properties and arrange second viewings. Take your time during second viewings and scrutinize the property. Don’t hesitate to open windows, sliding doors, taps, etc to ascertain whether they are in good working order. A property in bad working order is an indication that the landlord is unwilling to carry out appropriate repairs. If the place is furnished find out which furniture comes with the property as some or all of the furniture may belong to the current tenant. Are the appliances (fans, oven, and washing machine) good quality? Check the brand names.
You can highlight any missing or non-working fixtures to your agent’s or Landlord’s attention, but do refrain from making any negative/offensive comments. After all, you may eventually decide to rent the property; so it is wise to exercise tact with the Landlord.
Make an offer
The Tenancy Agreement
Once you have decided to rent the property, you will usually pay first month’s rental (earnest deposit) to the Landlord to confirm the deal. Subsequently you will sign a legal document known as a tenancy agreement. Ensure that the tenancy agreement is signed directly between yourself (the Tenant) and the Landlord/Owner and to pay the balance deposit. Normal deposits payment is as follows:
- Security Deposit – 2 months’ security deposits
- Advance rental – 1 months’ rental (1st month rental)
- Utility deposit – half month up to 1 month rental depending the usage of the utilities
The tenancy agreement will set out the obligations between both parties for a fixed term agreed upon. This includes requiring the Landlord/Owner to make sure all utilities are properly installed and in working condition, whilst you (the tenant) will be responsible for ensuring that the property is maintained in good order.
Ensure that the inventory list (items within the property that would be entitled for the Tenant’s use) within the tenancy agreement is satisfactorily met and inspected (you may like to take pictures for evidence) before signing the agreement.
Keep a copy of the tenancy agreement for your own records.
Payment of Monthly Rental
For avoidance of possible misunderstandings or mishandling, please make sure that the monthly rental is handed directly to the Landlord. It is best that you make payment via cheques payable to the Landlord’s name. Ensure that you receive a receipt from the Landlord showing the full amount of rental paid for the accommodation.
Leaving the property at the end of the tenancy.
If you do not want to renew an expiring tenancy, check your tenancy agreement to determine how much notice you need to serve the landlord, and comply accordingly. Ensure you leave all items in the inventory list, in the same condition as when you started the tenancy. Otherwise, the landlord may use your security deposit to rectify any damage.