Saturday 28 August 2010

Points to note when finding rental accommodation in Singapore

We were fortunate enough (while we were both in Singapore in April) to find a Real Estate Agent.  Over here, it is very important that you find one RE Agent before you even start looking for property.  Once you have found your Agent, this is the agent that you should only liaise with, as this person will eventually know what you are looking for.

Here is a little of what you need to know:

Letter of Intent
A Letter of Intent is a formal letter presented by a tenant to a landlord (via the landlord's agent), proposing an offer to rent a residential property.  If the landlord signs the letter, it is taken as an official sign of acceptance.

The letter should dictate the tenant's intention to rent the property and his or her conditions.  These conditions would most likely have been agreed on between the landlord and the tenant prior to the preparation of the Letter of Intent.

A term of lease, as depicted in a Letter of Intent, can range from 12 months to 24 months, with an option for renewal upon expiration.  However, this is subject to any changes made to the rental price by the landlord, based on prevailing market rates, and the tenant may be required to give two to three months' notice in advance to the landlord if he or she wishes to renew it.  The standard term of lease in Singapore lasts for 12 months and most landlords will not accept a shorter lease period.

The first deposit made by the tenant, also known as a good faith deposit or a booking deposit, usually amounts to one month's rent.  When a landlord accepts the deposit, and has signed a tenant's Letter of Intent, he or she has essentially promised not to offer the property to lease to other prospective tenants until a Tenancy Agreement has been signed.  After the Tenancy Agreement has been signed, the deposit can be kept either as payment for the first month's rent or as a security deposit.

A security deposit is a deposit made by a tenant after a Tenancy Agreement has been signed.  It is kept by the landlord and is only returned to the tenant when his or her term of lease expires.  While in the safekeeping of the landlord, the security deposit is not subject to any interest rate and should be refunded to the tenant interest-free.

However, the landlord reserves the right to deduct any expenses incurred should a tenant breach his or her contract or cause damages to the inventory. For a standard term of lease, the tenant is required to make a security deposit amounting to one month's rent.  For a 24-month term of lease, the security deposit is equivalent to two months' rent.

The monthly rental price of the property should also be stated in the Letter of Intent.  Other conditions or terms which should be stated explicitly in the letter include the level of furnishing, intention to sublet and occasionally, the ownership of pets, if any.  It is important to agree on these details with the landlord beforehand, and obtain his or her written approval of the additional requirements in order to avoid the possibility of a misunderstanding taking place later.

A Letter of Intent should also carry a clause specifying an expiration date.  If a landlord does not sign the Letter of Intent within a certain period, the letter will expire and the landlord will then be required to return the booking deposit immediately.

Tenancy Agreement
A Tenancy Agreement is usually prepared by the landlord, or his or her property agent.  It dictates the landlord's obligation to lease the property to a tenant, and both the tenant and the landlord are required to sign the agreement.  The Tenancy Agreement is, in essence, a far more detailed version of the Letter of Intent.  (The landlord and the tenant does not need to sign the TA at the same time).

The tenant is also required to provide the landlord with a copy of his or her passport and identification card or employment pass, if he or she is a foreigner.  It is necessary for the landlord to verify that the tenant is allowed to stay in Singapore as the landlord will be deemed to have committed an offence if he or she rents out residential property to illegal immigrants.

Upon signing the Tenancy Agreement, the tenant must pay the sum of the first month's rent and the security deposit, less the booking deposit made with the signing of the Letter of Intent.

Some things tenants should look out for in a Tenancy Agreement are:
  • Tenant's identification details
  • Landlord's identification details

Friday 27 August 2010

The move into our new home

We have finally found a permanent place to stay.  It's called The Sail @ Marina Bay, located in the Marina Bay area, 5 mins walk from Raffles Place MRT.

The condo has excellent facilities, three swimming pools, jacuzzi, tennis courts, saunas and a gymnasium.

We took over the tenancy last Saturday and on that night, our Singaporean friends took us to IKEA, where we brought, bed linens, towels, dishes.

The Marina Bay area is where a lot of events seem to happen, for example the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and next month the F1 Race Circuit is around where we stay!

  The Kitchen

 The Second Bedroom

 The Master Bedroom

 The Lounge

 View from the Gym

Friday 20 August 2010

The trials of finding accommodation

Our time has been taken up looking for a place to call home.  We cannot believe how expensive rental properties are over here.

We have been looking at partially-furnished two-bedroom condos which are going for SGD4,500 and fully-furnished for SGD4,800.

For a partially-furnished unit you get a fridge, washer / dryer (in one), and maybe a microwave.  For a fully-furnished unit you get white ware, plus couch, tv, bed, microwave, dining room table and chairs.

Friday 13 August 2010

Sentosa Island

I decided to play tourist for a day.  I walked along the Sentosa Express route.

I started at Beach Station and ended up at Waterfront Station.  Here are some pictures taken along the way.

A new hotel

On Monday 9 August, we left Studio M, for another hotel, located on Sentosa Island called Siloso Beach Resort. The beaches are man-made and the picturesque view is spoilt with large container ships in the background.

The reason that we had to change hotels was mainly due to cost and promotions.  During the month of August of each year, Singapore has "National Day Promotions".

National Day in Singapore is a huge affair for the Singaporeans, they spend up to a month or two rehearsing.  The Singaporeans are very patriotic and proud of their Country. We watched the National Day Parade (NDP) live on TV.  It's amazing what they put into their National Day!!

Hello from Singapore!

We arrived on Saturday evening to 30 degrees. Our taxi trip to our hotel cost us approx SGD$8 for an 18 minute trip.

We stayed at Studio M Hotel, located at Robertson Quay, the hotel is only about two months old. This is Singapore's first fully loft-inspired hotel.

During our stay around that area, we got ourselves very much acquanited wiht the restaurant and bars, this is where a lot of Expats hang out, they even have a restaurant called the Boomerang Bar, where I hear is very popular when Aussie Rules is being played.
We have arrived at a good time, as the Singapore Youth Olympic Games start Saturday 14 August, Mid-Autumn Festival in mid-September and the F1 in Singapore which is held on 24, 25 and 26 September are just a tip of the iceberg!

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Public Holidays

One of the first things we did since we arrived was to check out how many public holidays we get per year.

There are 11 gazetted public holidays (as per Ministry of Manpower website), these are:
  • New Year's Day
  • Chinese New Year (two days)
  • Hari Raya Puasa
  • Hari Raya Haji
  • Good Friday
  • Labour Day
  • Vesak Day
  • National Day
  • Deepavali
  • Christmas Day

Monday 2 August 2010

Six more days

It's only six more days until we fly to Singapore.

I have come to a conclusion that the hardest thing about leaving for a new life is the fact that there are so many endless amount of dinners and social engagements that you are invited to.

Everyone you know seems to want to catch up with you all at once. For us, the weekend started on a Friday night, with social engagements on Saturday and Sunday night and again on Monday and Wednesday night. To be honest, this week is going to go "really fast" to the point that it seems scary!!!

Things are going according to plan though, Hubby sold his car last week and I am in the process of selling my car this week, so that is one less thing to have to worry about.

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