Expat’s Guide to Rental In Singapore

Expat’s Guide to Rental In Singapore

You will find in this guide general information about our rental process as well as some basic terms used in our Tenancy Agreements. It is important for you to understand what are included in that contract that you are about to sign on.

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

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 an for an option to renew for another 12 or 24 months subject to prevailing market rates 2 months before the expiry of lease. Generally, Landlords in Singapore are not keen in lease terms less than 12 months and tenants usually may have to pay a premium for shorter term lease.


Commencement Date

Generally Tenants start looking for a place approximately 1 to 1.5 months in advance before their intended commencement day because Landlords are not too keen to keep their apartment vacant for too long.


Diplomatic Clause

A diplomatic clause is to safe guard the Tenant in the event he/she is no longer employed, transferred to other countries. With the relevant documentations, 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 the 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 negligent 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 partial 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 payment to Landlord using cheques, cash or via internet transfer. Most Tenants opt for Internet Transfer – Standing Order as it eliminates the possibility of overlooking the payment of rental to the Landlord.


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.