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5 Hidden Costs You MUST Know Before Renting in Singapore

As more and more countries including Singapore relax border restrictions and open up to overseas visitors, foreign workers can now travel back to the country of their employers to work.

With this influx of foreigners, housing rental is expected to pick up and rental rates increase due to demand.

In today’s article, we take a look at the costs (including hidden costs) you need to know about renting in Singapore.

Rental and deposit

Besides the monthly rental, landlords typically ask for a deposit of 1 month for each year of rental.

This sum of money is held by the landlord throughout the period of the rental agreement.

The landlord may use this money to cover the cost of repairing any damage caused by the renter, unpaid rent or utility bills.

If there is no damage to the property, the deposit will be returned to the renter at the end of the lease period.

So if you see a unit of your liking and want to rent it, be sure to inspect the unit and ensure that there are no damages before signing the tenancy agreement (TA).

Agent commission

According to the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), property agents cannot collect commission from more than one party in the same transaction.

In rental cases, normally the landlord pays the agent when the unit is rented out.

As such, the agent cannot collect commission from you. If you have an agent working to find a unit to rent, you will have to pay your agent the commission.

CEA does not regulate the amount of commission payable as some deals may be more urgent or complex.

The market practice is 0.5 months for a one-year rental and 1 month for a 2-year rental. It is up to the renter to negotiate with the agent if you want a better rate.

Condo-related expenses

This does not apply if you are renting an HDB flat but if you are looking for a condo rental, be prepared for related expenses.

Most, if not all condos require access passes and if you have several family members, the landlord may not be able to provide passes for all of them.

For convenience, you may have to purchase the additional passes from the condo’s management office, and the pass usually costs between $10 to $50 plus a security deposit of between $50 to $100.

Maintenance and repairs

When renting a condo, the landlord will pay the condo maintenance fees, but that does not mean there is nothing for you to pay.

There is the maintenance of air-conditioners to be done every six months to keep them working well. In Singapore's hot and humid climate, an aircon that does not work well will leave you uncomfortable and having sleepless nights.

If you rent an older property, there are bound to be things that need to be repaired or fixed, such as plumbing, choked pipes and kitchen sink etc. If the unit is furnished, some of the appliances may well need servicing or repair, due to wear and tear.

End of tenancy handover

If your lease is for 1 year and you do not intend to renew, you need to return the unit to the landlord in a good and clean condition.

If you are not able to do the cleaning yourself, you will need to hire a cleaning service and depending on the size of your unit, the cost would be between $250 to $500. If the house comes furnished with curtains, there is a dry cleaning cost as well.

Should you buy or rent?

Buying or renting is really dependent on your situation and requirement.

Buying a property gives you a home and an investment but it comes with a hefty financial outlay in terms of the down payment and monthly instalments.

Buying a house can also be an investment opportunity and you stand to gain tremendously if the value appreciates, but it can also be a deficit if the market crashes.

Renting means you do not own a home and in a sense, you have more flexibility in terms of financial matters and mobility. You are not tied down by a single location and are free to move to another area or condo if you want a change of scenery.

Renting does not require a huge financial commitment and you can spend your money on things that are important to you such as travel, education etc.


Are you looking for the latest property listings for rent? Head to to browse your preference of properties in 3D.

Have a question? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook post.


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