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Singapore Relocation Guide

WIDE SELECTION OF ACCOMMODATION

Condominiums are a popular choice with both locals and non-locals. The vast range of facilities, from swimming pool and gym to round-the-clock security and scenic surroundings, provide for a comfortable lifestyle, especially for families.

Serviced apartments are a convenient alternative. Apart from the usual condominium facilities, value-added services such as a cleaning service, laundry and room service are usually included.  Some serviced apartments include:

If your preference is for landed property, you will find that there is a fair variety in Singapore. Landed property includes bungalows, semi-detached houses, terrace houses, cluster houses and townhouses.

A unique type of Singapore housing are the black and white bungalows, which were houses built during Singapore’s colonial past and are now owned by the government. These houses are very airy, roomy and sometimes come double-storied with servants’ quarters. These bungalows have no facilities but are popular with expatriates for their size and quaint feel – the catch is that they are few and far between.

RENTING A PROPERTY

There are no restrictions on non-citizens renting a residential unit. Most who are new to Singapore engage a housing agent to source for a property that meets their needs. Or if you prefer, you may like to browse the local newspapers’ classifieds section which advertises a list of private apartments, condominiums and houses for rent in Singapore. However, engaging a housing agent better ensures that your interests are protected, especially with regards to the lease.

The cost of renting a place depends on:

  • Location. Popular residential areas in Singapore are Districts 9, 10 and 11, which are close to the Central Business District. Areas close to MRT stations and the new waterfront along the Singapore River are quickly gaining in popularity too.
  • Size and condition of the place.
  • Amenities. Condominiums with full facilities may command a higher price. Rent also depends on whether the place is furnished, partially furnished or unfurnished.

STEPS TO RENTING A PLACE:

  • Sign a lease with the owner, the terms of which are agreed between the two parties. Most landlords and housing agents ask to see your Employment Pass before agreeing to the lease.
  • Sign an inventory listing of all the items provided by the owner, including their condition.
  • Usually, a deposit or “security bond” equivalent to one month’s rent is required for leases that are over a year.
  • Rental usually excludes utility bills but includes maintenance fees.
  • A minimum paperwork fee equivalent to half a month’s rent is usually payable to the housing agent for leases that are a year and below.

APPROXIMATE RENTAL COSTS:

$28,000 – $45,000 for a Good Class Bungalow (4-bedroom, at least 1,400sqm)

$14,000 upwards for a Bungalow or a Penthouse

$4,500 upwards for a Terrace house

$8,000 upwards for a High-end serviced apartment

$2,500 upwards for a Condominium or Private Apartment

$800 upwards for a Room in a Condominium or Private Apartment

Private residential apartments, condominiums and houses are intended for long-term stays. Current regulations do not allow these residential units to be rented on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Usually, the lease commitment has to be for a minimum period of six months.


Action taken against 44 illegal short-term rentals: MND

Dated: August 17, 2016
Source: The Straits Times

Homeowners caught flouting the rules on short-term stays can be jailed for up to a year, or fined up to $200,000.

Despite its on-going review of short-term stays, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has taken enforcement action against 44 unauthorised short-term subletting cases in private homes during the first six months of 2016, reported The Business Times.

This is an increase from the 23 cases in 2015 and 36 in the year before, revealed the Ministry of National Development (MND) in its written response to a query from Member of Parliament Lim Wee Kiak.

“Once the URA confirms a case of unauthorised short-term subletting, it sends an enforcement notice to the offender requiring the unauthorised use to cease. In the vast majority of cases, offenders have complied with the URA’s notices and there has been no need to undertake further action against them,” the agency said.

Meanwhile, a conclusion is yet to be reached on the much-debated topic of the home-sharing economy. In fact, current URA guidelines requiring private homes to be rented out for at least six months still apply. Those flouting the rules can be jailed for up to one year, or fined up to $200,000.

The MND noted that the short-term rental issue warrants a balanced and careful review without a rush to conclude.

“In particular, we must carefully consider the implications of doing so, given the potential impact and disamenity of such rentals on neighbouring residents.”

In January 2015, the URA conducted a public consultation exercise, which concluded in April of the same year. After more than a year, the URA said it needs more time to consider the said issue.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB), on the other hand, has indicated that it has no plans to review the rules on short-term stays for HDB flats.

While the URA has not made a decision on the issue, there are still many local listings of private homes for short-term stay on HomeAway and Airbnb. Some accommodation service providers – which furnish flats they rented from landlords and sublet them with limited services – reportedly rent out such units for less than six months.

Such rentals have irked hoteliers as they are not subject to similar business taxes and safety regulations. And since they incur higher costs, commercially run hotels are unable to compete on price with private room rentals.

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