10 Best Tips for Renting an Apartment in Hong Kong 

by | Oct 13, 2021 | 0 comments

Hong Kong is an amazing city with so much to see and do. It’s also one of the most expensive cities in the world, which is why you need to know how to find a good apartment without breaking the bank! I’ve been living here for over 10 years, so I am sharing my best 10 tips on how to rent an apartment in Hong Kong.

You’ll be able to save time and money by following these simple steps.  Don’t worry; it won’t take too long because this article will show you everything you need!

Visit a lot of apartments when renting an apartment in Hong Kong

If you're renting an apartment in Hong Kong, be sure to read the tenancy agreement schedule very carefully. Don’t just visit one or two apartments; try and see as many places as possible so that you have a good idea of what’s available in the market. 

When visiting an apartment in Hong Kong it’s important to try and get a good sense of how long each place takes to commute from. This will let you know if you’ll be able to live there and still get into work on time.

I would also recommend visiting the apartment at different times of day and night as light can vary a lot depending on the time of day.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate on the price of an apartment in Hong Kong

It’s fine to try and haggle on the price, but make sure the landlord knows why you’re doing this, for example, if you’ve had a really good look around at other places and have some good comparable data – then say that!

This could save you a lot of money – so just make sure to play your cards right.

Use a reliable online real estate platform when renting an apartment

mortgage Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, a lot of outdated apartments are shown online.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 as they were just used as bait for incoming inquiries by using low rent and fabulous properties.

However, we do like the SpaciousHK website which has more updated info than most real estate websites in the city. If you want to find out about availability or current rents please use their ‘following’ function so that it will keep track of your future searches for relevant information regarding housing market trends.

Find a real estate agent you can trust when renting an apartment 

The search for a new apartment can be frustrating, and finding the right one is crucial.

Nowadays there are many real estate agents in Hong Kong that will represent your interests – but not all of them understand what you’re looking for!

It’s important to find someone who has an understanding of YOUR criteria because you don’t want to waste time viewing places where they don’t match. So if something doesn’t feel quite right, or the agent continually doesn’t understand what you are looking for, move on to a different real estate agent.

We highly recommend Judy Chai an independent real estate agent. We’ve known Judy for more than ten years and we have never been disappointed with her assistance. Contact Judy via Whatsapp on +852 9687 8831.

Determine if you want an apartment building that has facilities 

The difference between newer buildings and older ones is that the newer building often come with many facilities, such as swimming pools or fitness areas.

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But in contrast to these luxuries are apartments in old structures which tend to have limited or no amenities  – so you’ll need to think about whether having facilities is an important factor before deciding on an apartment.

Always do a background check on your future landlord for an apartment in Hong Kong

Doing a background check on your future landlord when renting an apartment in Hong Kong is really important because there are plenty of bad landlords out there. If something doesn’t seem right, or they don’t want to give you a reference of someone who has rented from them before then it’s probably not worth pursuing.

For example, make sure they will let you paint the walls a different color as long as it’s nice and doesn’t damage or devalue the apartment in any way. If not then say no!  It might seem trivial but if you don’t ask now it could cause problems down the line.

Also, ask your real estate agent about the historical behavior of a potential landlord. 

Ask all questions before signing any forms or contracts for renting an apartment in Hong Kong

When renting an apartment in Hong Kong always remember to ask all questions before signing any forms or contracts. This is important because you might not realize this but almost all points are up for negotiation. 

Always get a copy of everything you sign and make sure to read through it all carefully so that there are no surprises at a later date!

Read your Hong Kong tenancy agreement closely

When renting an apartment in Hong Kong be prepared to compromise on location or size, or potentially even both.

It’s important to check your tenancy agreement closely because you don’t want any nasty surprises when it comes to the end of your lease.

This could be anything like an extra fee if they need to paint or decorate, and this is often listed as a clause in the contract so make sure you’re aware of what might happen after you move out.

The last thing you want is to move out and find that you owe your landlord money, so make sure everything’s clear before signing anything!

Most important things to check before signing a tenancy agreement in Hong Kong

  • 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 paying management fees and utilities
  • The 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

Factor in large upfront costs when renting an apartment in Hong Kong

When you sign a rental agreement, it is important not to forget about the large upfront costs.

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
  • the first month of rent in advance
  • 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.

FAQs about renting an apartment in Hong Kong

Do Hong Kong apartments accommodate pets?

Whether an apartment will accommodate pets depends on the Deed of Mutual Covenant of the building. You’ll also need to find a landlord that is willing to accept pets. Be careful about lying about pets; 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.

Can I rent an apartment in Hong Kong for less than a year?

It’s unlikely that many landlords will 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.

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.

How long is a standard rental lease in Hong Kong?

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.

How much is Hong Kong Island rent?

The closer you are to Central, the higher the rent you can expect to pay.

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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 live further away from Central. For example, apartments in Sai Kung, Lamma, and Lantau rent for less.

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 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. In terms of online real estate platforms in Hong Kong, we really like Spacious, Okay.com, and 28Hse.

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.

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.

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.

Pokfulam: 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.
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. For some people, it’s too far from Central.
Repulse Bay: is popular with expats who have kids; it’s not too far from Central and also next to Repulse Bay beach.
Mid-Levels: 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: hip areas for single people. Super close to Central and 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 you’ll find here.

Where can I buy furniture in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, there are many different stores selling furniture; check out our guide to furniture in Hong Kong for more details. Also, you can buy high-quality second-hand furniture at low prices; check out our guide on buying second-hand items in Hong Kong.

 

Finally

I know it sounds like a lot of work but Hong Kong has some really fantastic apartments for rent if you look around. I’ve managed to live in the same place for over ten years now because I’ve always taken my time to find the best apartment for me.

You’ll be able to save time and money by following these simple steps, so make sure you follow them all if you want a smooth process when renting an apartment in Hong Kong!

Have we missed your hidden gem on renting an apartment in Hong Kong? Reach out to us on Instagram or Facebook and let us know your best advice on renting an apartment in Hong Kong.

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.

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