Interested in renting an apartment in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is a notoriously difficult place for renting an apartment. Generally, you can expect to find small apartments available for rent at extremely high prices.
In fact, Hong Kong has been ranked as having the world’s most expensive housing market for ten years straight.
In Hong Kong, it’s tough to rent an apartment that will meet all your expectations within your budget. You can be certain that trying to find an apartment to rent in Hong Kong will be a stressful affair, but we do have some tips to help you minimize the pain.
In this article, the topics we will cover include why:
- You will need to visit a lot of properties
- You need to be careful of outdated listings
- It’s so important to figure out if you prefer an older or newer building
- You should take the time to understand your potential new landlord
- You need to read your tenancy agreement closely
- You’ll need to factor in large upfront costs
1. Visit a lot of apartments when renting an apartment in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, you will probably need to visit many properties before making an informed decision about which apartment in Hong Kong is best to rent. There is almost no way around this.
When you’re looking for an apartment in Hong Kong, the main factors that are likely to be a source of contention are:
- the size of your apartment
- the views from your apartment
- poor (or lack of) interior design
Whatever the case, be prepared to view a high number of apartments. Don’t compromise too quickly.
If you take the time, you should find apartments that are real hidden gems in Hong Kong, especially if you are comfortable with a walk-up or an older building.
2. Use a reliable online real estate platform
In Hong Kong, a lot of outdated apartments are shown online. Be wary.
A lot of “great” listings may end up not actually being currently available. Sometimes, listings of fabulous apartments with low rent are used as a way of garnering incoming inquiries.
One online real estate platform in Hong Kong that we really like is Spacious HK. This website tends to have more up-to-date listings than most real estate websites in Hong Kong.
Besides, on Spacious HK you can “follow” particular buildings, which will help give you a better idea of current rents and availability. Via this method, you can also choose to be notified of new apartments for rent in a specific building.
3. Find a real estate agent you can trust when renting an apartment
In Hong Kong, there are many real estate agents available, but finding one that understands your needs and can actually find you a suitable apartment is crucial.
You might be surprised at just how little a real estate agent appears to understand your needs. But no matter, if a real estate agent doesn’t appear interested in understanding your needs, it’s time to move on.
Don’t waste your time viewing apartments that don’t match your criteria.
We’ve known Judy Chai (from Infiniti Pacific Properties) for more than ten years. Judy came to us highly recommended, and over the years, she has never disappointed. Contact Judy via Whatsapp on +852 9687 8831.
4. Determine if you want an apartment building that has facilities
You will generally need to make a clear choice between newer buildings that tend to have facilities or older buildings that generally don’t have facilities.
Newer buildings can come with many facilities such as swimming pools, fitness areas, and kids’ playgrounds. In contrast, apartments in older buildings tend to have limited facilities.
The monthly rents of apartments located in buildings with facilities will tend to be significantly higher, so you’ll need to really think about whether or not you’ll use these facilities.
On the other hand, older buildings to be more spacious and have better internal layouts. The monthly rent on older buildings also tends to be slightly slower.
5. Try to understand the potential landlord when renting an apartment in Hong Kong
Let’s face it. In Hong Kong, some landlords are notoriously difficult to interact with.
Before you lease an apartment, try to obtain the best possible understanding of the landlord. The best source of information on your new potential landlord is the real estate agent. Ask your agent lots of questions.
If you find yourself in a situation where your landlord is unresponsive to issues with repairs, you might find yourself in a tricky situation.
In addition to asking the real estate agent about the landlord, you can also test and see how flexible a landlord might be. For example, before you sign a tenancy agreement, you could provide a list of changes to the landlord you would like.
If they are reasonable requests and the landlord isn’t willing to make the changes, this should serve as a warning sign.
You could also check to see if you would be allowed to do minor alterations yourself (and not get penalized).
Each landlord is different; it’s much better to identify a flexible and responsive landlord before you actually commit to the property. Of course, when the demand for renting apartments is low, you can expect landlords to be more flexible, and if the property market is hot in Hong Kong, don’t expect too much.
6. Read your Hong Kong tenancy agreement closely, and don’t assume anything
Check your tenancy agreement carefully. The most important things to check before signing a tenancy agreement in Hong Kong are;
- When you will be able to give notice that you want to move out
- The fixed-term” period of your lease (you will be responsible for the entire rent of the fixed term period)
- Who will be responsible for repairs
- Who will be responsible for management fees and also utilities
- Tenancy agreement break clause (a break clause is handy if you think you might lose your job and need to leave Hong Kong suddenly)
- Upfront payments due upon signing a tenancy agreement (likely includes a deposit and advanced rent)
- When the landlord might be able to enforce a rental increase
When it comes to tenancy agreements, the first step is to understand the implications of the information contained within the agreement. The next step is to be prepared to negotiate.
Maybe you can request a break clause in the lease solely in your favor (the tenant) after the first year. You could also consider negotiating a clause that allows you to break the contract (without penalties) if your job gets made redundant.
These finer details of a tenancy agreement in Hong Kong will give you a lot more flexibility later on.
7. Factor in large upfront costs when renting an apartment in Hong Kong
Don’t forget to factor in some large upfront costs when renting an apartment.
Upon signing a rental agreement, you can expect to hand over about 3.5 months’ worth of rent. This will consist of 0.5 month’s worth of rent for the real estate agent’s commission, a 2-month security deposit, and the first month of rent in advance.
You will also need to pay the government stamp duty (0.5% of the annual rent).
When you sign a tenancy agreement, the first 12 month period will be a “fixed-term,” meaning you will be liable to pay the rent for the entire fixed period.
If you’re not sure about which apartment you should rent in Hong Kong or are uncertain about which location will suit you best, consider a serviced apartment.
How much is it to rent an apartment in Hong Kong?
The minimum monthly rent in Hong Kong is generally considered to be approximately $15,000. On top of this, you’ll have additional fees such as utility fees.
Also, depending on your tenancy agreement, you might be surprised to find that you, as a tenant, may be responsible for some repairs such as a broken air-conditioner.
Be sure to read the tenancy agreement carefully before signing.
On the upper-end, monthly rents for an apartment in Hong Kong can be $100,000 or more. Generally, you’ll have to pay more for apartments located closer to Central or those in luxury areas such as The Peak.
You’ll also pay for more apartments that contain facilities such as swimming pools and kid’s facilities.
How do I find an apartment in Hong Kong?
Start by looking online and try to find a potentially suitable apartment. Contact the listing’s real estate agent and let them know you’d like to see additional similar apartments.
Where do expats live in Hong Kong?
As a general rule, expats in Hong Kong tend to live in; Pokfulam, Happy Valley, Stanley, Repulse Bay, and Mid-Levels. Recently, the Sai Ying Pun/ Sheung Wan area is becoming increasingly popular with expats.
The benefits of Pokfulam are that you can tend to find older, larger-sized apartments at reasonable pricing versus the rest of the Hong Kong Island. The local ESF school is also popular, and the local facilities (The Stanley Ho Sports Centre) are hugely popular.
Happy Valley has a strong, local community spirit. Also, there is a strong movement in Hong Kong about supporting both sustainability and local businesses.
In Stanley, apartments tend to be larger, and some people are even lucky enough to live in houses. Stanley tends to be popular with people with kids.
Repulse Bay has a big expat following. Plenty of expats divide their time between their apartment, The Pulse, and Repulse Bay beach.
Mid-Levels is also very popular with expats, particularly with expats that have just moved to Hong Kong. The proximity of the escalator is a big drawcard.
Sai Ying Pun and Sheung Wan have become hip areas for single people. They are conveniently located and are now full of fabulous restaurants, delis, grocery stores, and boutique fitness gyms.
You might be surprised to find out just how delicious French, vegan, and Thai food are available in Sai Ying Pun and Sheung Wan.
Which is the best cheap service apartment in Hong Kong?
For the best cheap service apartment in Hong Kong, we like Apple Dorm. They have two locations; Sai Ying Pun and Sham Shui Po.
The rooms are pretty basic and small, but they have free WIFI, and their fee includes electricity and water charges. Monthly rates start from as little as $3,000.
They offer different layouts, including a normal bedroom, loft bedroom, and loft bedroom with sofa.
How much is Hong Kong Island rent?
Firstly, it’s important to say that in Hong Kong, location is everything. The closer you are to Central, the higher the rent you can expect to pay.
Generally, for a one-bedroom apartment in Hong Kong Island, which is relatively close to Central, you can expect to pay approximately $15,000 in monthly rent.
For 2-bedrooms, you can expect to pay $20,000 and above. When it comes to family size apartments (3- bedroom, and greater than 1,300 square foot net), don’t be surprised to see monthly rent in the range of $35,000 – $70,000.
You can reduce your monthly rent greatly if you are prepared to sacrifice location. Apartments in Sai Kung rent for less.
And if you are open to communicating by ferry, you will find much better rental deals in islands such as Lamma and Lantau.
What is the Hong Kong rental process?
Generally, it would be best if you start by looking at a large number of apartments to get a feel of what’s available. You don’t want to find yourself locked into an apartment you’re not happy with.
Once you’ve found a suitable apartment, try to find out more about the landlord from the real estate agent. Is your potential new landlord good about fixing repairs? Do they have a track record of increasing rent prices?
A standard residential leasing term is 24 months; 12 + 12 months lease. The first 12 months is known as the “fixed-term,” and the following 12 months is considered an “option.”
Generally, only once the fixed-term has expired can you notify the landlord in writing of your desire to leave.
Once you decide on an apartment and are ready to sign the tenancy agreement, you will need to hand over a considerable amount of cash.
The upfront fees associated with renting an apartment in Hong Kong include; the real estate agent’s fee (half a month’s rent), stamp duty (0.5% of the annual rent). You’ll also need to pay an upfront deposit to the landlord of approximately 2-3 months’ worth of rent and pay one month’s worth of rent in advance.
How much will a cheap studio flat in Hong Kong cost?
If you want to stay close to Central on Hong Kong Island, it will be tough to find a studio flat for less than $15,000.
Can I rent an apartment in Hong Kong for less than a year?
It’s unlikely that many landlords would be keen on a tenancy agreement with a duration of less than a year. If you need short-term accommodation, then a serviced apartment could be a much better option.
Where can I buy furniture in Hong Kong?
In Hong Kong, there are many different stores selling furniture. Importantly, Hong Kong is a wonderful city to buy high-quality second-hand furniture at low prices. Check out our guide to furniture in Hong Kong for more details.
Do Hong Kong apartments accommodate pets?
Whether or not an apartment can accommodate pets depends on the Deed of Mutual Covenant of the building. Also, you’ll need to find a landlord that is willing to accept pets.
If you are planning on having a pet, be sure to check with the landlord. Most tenancy agreements will include a clause about not creating a nuisance either to the landlord or the other people living in the same building.
But to be honest, it can be hard to find a landlord willing to accept pets.
We are committed to helping people with advice on everyday living in Hong Kong. Our tips are intended to save you money, improve your life quality, and encourage a more sustainable way of living.
If you’re new to Hong Kong, check out A Guide for Newbies in Hong Kong. In this article, the topics we cover include buying a car in Hong Kong, buying second-hand goods, and the ultimate guide to furniture.
- Best places to buy second-hand items in Hong Kong
- Mortgages: A review of our own experience in Hong Kong
- How to save money on insurance products in Hong Kong
- Tips for buying a second-hand car