Renting a house in Singapore


When you move to Singapore, the first step to renting a home involves engaging a reliable realtor. In Singapore, realtors have access to a similar database of properties, so it is not advisable to liaise with more than one realtor at a time, to avoid duplication of efforts for all parties.

Renting Process

A good realtor will arrange for property viewings based on the requirements you specify. Once a property is chosen, the realtor will raise a Letter of Intent (LOI) to be submitted with a one-month holding deposit (this goes into the first month’s rent upon commencement of lease). The LOI will include the Occupier’s “wish list” – a list of items you would like the landlord to include as part of the rental agreement. This often includes additional furniture and fittings, and rectifications you would like the landlord to make.

Once the landlord has approved of the LOI, a tenancy agreement is then prepared. This is submitted with a security deposit equivalent to one or two months of rent, returned only on the expiration of the lease (the return of which is subject to the condition of the apartment on handing back the apartment).

The commission payable to a realtor for his/her efforts is as follows: for a two-year lease, one month’s rental equivalent is due. If the monthly rental is above $2,500, the landlord pays the realtor the commission (no commission from the tenant is due to the agent). For monthly rentals equal to or below $2,500, the tenant will have to pay his/her representing agent for the services provided. ‘Consumers are encouraged to find out about the different commission rates charged by different estate agencies and negotiate the rate and service to be provided before engaging them,’ says the Ministry of National Development.

The home search process typically takes at least 14 days, with negotiations and the finalisation of paperwork typically taking at least 7 days.

Some of the fees for renting an apartment are as follows:

  • Stamp duty
  • Registration charges
  • Realtor’s fees
  • Solicitor’s/Lawyer’s fees (if required)


While viewing apartments with your agent, be sure to ask to see a wide range of housing options. Be sure to do your research ahead of time by asking your fellow expats in Singapore how much their rent is, and remember, there are always options for every budget. The quality of the development can be judged based on variables such as the type of fixtures, facilities or neighbourhood.

If you find where to live, you can choose to invest and buy a property instead of renting.



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