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Renting a place in Singapore

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David Gornold
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Renting a place in Singapore

Postby David Gornold » Mon, 16 Jun 2014 4:06 pm

Hi all,

I have just arrived in Singapore for a 2 year work stint and am trying to find a place to rent. My question is, can anyone enlighten me how the process should work and how I can find a reliable agent to help? Or do I even need an agent at all

David

AngMoG
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Postby AngMoG » Mon, 16 Jun 2014 4:57 pm

Please search the forum on the discussions about agents. There are plenty already.

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Postby taxico » Mon, 16 Jun 2014 6:49 pm

check out the property-related links at the top and bottom - check back in when you've got more Qs.
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David Gornold
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Postby David Gornold » Thu, 19 Jun 2014 8:34 am

Anyone has any reliable agent to recommend? I called some but they seem to differ in charges, I read that I needn't pay tenant fees but those I called actually quoted me a month.

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the lynx
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Postby the lynx » Thu, 19 Jun 2014 9:10 am

David Gornold wrote:Anyone has any reliable agent to recommend? I called some but they seem to differ in charges, I read that I needn't pay tenant fees but those I called actually quoted me a month.


When you answer an ad posted by an agent, you do not need to pay him agent fees because he working on behalf of landlord and he is the one who pays him.

When you hire an agent to scour for houses for you, you pay him his fees. So there will be situations where there will be two agents involved - yours and the landlord's and both of you will pay respective fees to respective agents.

So if he is working for you, the standard agent fee is one month's rent for twelve-months' lease, or two for 24 months (I never used an agent before so I hope someone can confirm this for me). So the more expensive your rental is, the more you have to pay him.

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Postby Hannieroo » Thu, 19 Jun 2014 10:27 am

Is the rule if the rent is over 3k the LL pays both? Or did I make that up?

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Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 19 Jun 2014 12:14 pm

Hannieroo wrote:Is the rule if the rent is over 3k the LL pays both? Or did I make that up?


There are no solid "rules", but that is a guideline that many agents follow. Of course, you're more than welcome to negotiate with them as you don't have to take that price.

As a tenant, many agents will go for much lower fixed amounts, or even inverse deals where you pay them more the lower your rent is.

But again, you don't need an agent at all if you're willing to look for the units on your own.

David Gornold
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Postby David Gornold » Fri, 11 Jul 2014 1:20 pm

Thank you all for the feedback, I managed to rent a unit after much trouble. A couple of agents quoted me tenant fees, though i was renting a unit at 5.5k.

Luckily managed to source a unit in the end through another agent, who was very helpful and didnt charge me a single cent. Just to share: He told me that the norm is that the landlord will pay for agents' commissions for rentals above 3.5k normally.

Certainly glad that I didnt just blindly pay the first 2 agents. Thank you for all the feedback here as well. If anyone needs a recommendation to my reliable agent, drop me a PM.

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Postby AngMoG » Fri, 11 Jul 2014 2:44 pm

David Gornold wrote:Thank you all for the feedback, I managed to rent a unit after much trouble. A couple of agents quoted me tenant fees, though i was renting a unit at 5.5k.

Luckily managed to source a unit in the end through another agent, who was very helpful and didnt charge me a single cent. Just to share: He told me that the norm is that the landlord will pay for agents' commissions for rentals above 3.5k normally.

Certainly glad that I didnt just blindly pay the first 2 agents. Thank you for all the feedback here as well. If anyone needs a recommendation to my reliable agent, drop me a PM.


Actually, the rule now is that the person engaging the agent (i.e. whom he represents) has to pay. There are no rules on the height of the fees, but from what I remember it used to be 1/2 month rent for a 12 month contract, or 1 month for a 24 month contract. As ads posted should be done by agents that are representing landlords, you shouldn't have to pay them.

An agent trying to get money from both sides is acting illegally and should be reported.

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Postby beppi » Sat, 12 Jul 2014 3:11 pm

Hannieroo wrote:Is the rule if the rent is over 3k the LL pays both? Or did I make that up?

This is not legally possible any more under the new rules:
Now, the fee is always paid by the party who engaged the agent in the first place - obviously that does not depend on the height of the rent!

David Gornold
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Postby David Gornold » Tue, 15 Jul 2014 1:24 pm

Seems like there are plenty of different "market practices"? In any case I'm glad that I did not have to pay any agent fees, that is the version of the "market practice" I'd choose to believe in!

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Mi Amigo
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Postby Mi Amigo » Tue, 15 Jul 2014 4:14 pm

David Gornold wrote:Seems like there are plenty of different "market practices"? In any case I'm glad that I did not have to pay any agent fees, that is the version of the "market practice" I'd choose to believe in!

David, you're quite right that there are many 'practices' and frankly in a lot of cases they are of the 'sharp' and 'devious' variety. There is a lot of misinformation put out by unscrupulous agents, which results in confusion (especially for those new to Singapore) and gives them an opportunity to bamboozle people into thinking that they have to pay an agent if they want to rent a place. As has been discussed at length on this forum, that is not the case.

beppi wrote:
Hannieroo wrote:Is the rule if the rent is over 3k the LL pays both? Or did I make that up?

This is not legally possible any more under the new rules:
Now, the fee is always paid by the party who engaged the agent in the first place - obviously that does not depend on the height of the rent!

A key point is that there doesn't have to be a 'both'. If you search the various websites and newspaper ads, then find a place by yourself, there is no reason why you need your 'own' agent, or why you should pay any agent's fees.

To be clear, there may be situations where it makes sense to engage your own agent to find a place for you. If this agent puts in a lot of work to find places and ferry you around to see them, etc., then it's only fair that they are reimbursed for their services. This is something that should be negotiated at the start of the engagement - rather than agreeing a fee based on the monthly rent, a more imaginative approach would be to build in an incentive for them to negotiate a lower rent on your behalf (this has also been discussed in other threads here).

In the past, agents have also been willing to act for prospective tenants at no charge, on the basis that they would share the commission received by the landlord's agent. Notwithstanding the 'rule' that a single agent can only act for one party, I have not seen anything to suggest that this approach isn't still a viable one, provided it's agreed up front. It might however restrict the choice of available units, to only those where the landlord's agent is willing to split their fee.

The main takeaways here are: (a) for a prospective tenant, having an agent act for you should be viewed as an optional service, not mandatory, despite what some agents would try to have you believe. AND - (b) any interaction with an agent needs to start with a discussion about whether or not they will be acting for you (and if so, what fees, if any, they will want to charge you), BEFORE they take any action on your behalf.
Be careful what you wish for


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