Looking for an apartment to rent 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.
Added to that, this year’s Mercer survey found that Hong Kong has been yet again ranked as the world’s most expensive country overall for expats to live. Sigh.
You can be certain that trying to find an apartment to rent in Hong Kong will be a stressful affair.
In Hong Kong, it’s really hard to find something that will meet all your expectations within your budget, but we do have some tips to help you minimize the pain. We’re sure you’re keen to move into your new apartment, so I’m going to tell you:
- Why you will need to visit a lot of properties
- To be careful of outdated listings
- To work with a real estate agent you can trust
- Why it’s so important to figure out if you prefer an older or newer building
- Place a huge amount of importance on understanding your potential landlord
- To read your tenancy schedule closely
- To factor in large upfront costs
1. Visit a lot of properties
You can expect to have to visit a lot of properties before you can make an informed decision about which apartment 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. You can find hidden gems in Hong Kong, especially if you are ok with a walk-up, or with an older building.
2. Be wary of outdated listings
In Hong Kong, a lot of outdated apartments are shown online.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.
However, Spacious HK is a good website to use when searching for properties. This website tends to have more up-to-date listings than most real estate websites. Besides, you can “follow” particular buildings which will help give you a better idea of current rents. 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
In Hong Kong, there are a lot of 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. Select a new or older building
Generally, you will need to make a clear choice between a newer building (having facilities) or an older building (having more space).
Newer buildings tend to have better facilities. Think, swimming pool or fitness area. In contrast, apartments in older buildings tend to have limited facilities.
On the other hand, older buildings to be more spacious and have better internal layouts.
5. Try to understand the potential landlord
Let’s face it. In Hong Kong, some landlords are notoriously difficult to interact with. If you find yourself in a situation where your landlord is unresponsive to issues with repairs, you might find yourself in a tricky situation.
Before you lease an apartment, try to obtain the best possible understanding of the landlord.
For example, before you sign a tenancy agreement, you could provide a list of changes that you would like done. If they are reasonable requests and the landlord isn’t willing to make the changes, this should serve as a warning sign to you.
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 try and identify a landlord that is flexible and responsive before you actually commit to the property!
6. Read your tenancy schedule closely
Check your tenancy schedule carefully. It’s important to understand the impact of what happens if you or your landlord needs to sever the contract early.
Be prepared to negotiate.
Maybe you can try to request a break clause in the lease solely in your favor (the tenant) after the first year. You could also consider trying to negotiate a clause that allows you to break the contract (without penalties) if your job gets made redundant. These finer details will give you a lot more flexibility later on.
7. Factor in large upfront costs
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.
We are committed to helping people with advice on everyday living in Hong Kong. Our tips are intended to save you money, improve the quality of your life, and also encourage a more sustainable way of living. We cover the following topics:
- Buying insurance products in Hong Kong
- Tips for selling a second-hand car
- Best places to buy second-hand items in Hong Kong
- How to save money on insurance products in Hong Kong
- Tips for buying a second-hand car
- Getting rid of furniture