Hello buddy, hope you have found your home!
Just putting this out there to help out fellow 1st-timers.
It is not mandatory for to sign an LOI. However, the Letter of Intent serves a series of purposes.
Firstly, it shows the landlord that you are serious in wanting to rent the unit. Secondly, it aims to secure the place, meaning that from the moment the Letter of Intent is signed, the landlord will cease to look for prospective tenants and exclusively focus on settling a deal with you.
You will also handover a good faith deposit (Also known as a booking deposit). This is a mandatory measure and serves as a financial token to credibly back your intentions.
The good faith deposit generally amounts to one month’s rent for a 12-month lease, and double for a 24-month lease. after the Tenancy agreement is signed the good faith deposit will become part of the security deposit or serve as an advance rental fee.
Importantly, before you write the Letter of Intent and transfer the good faith deposit, make absolutely sure the landlord you are dealing with is in fact the real owner of the unit.
A foolproof way to this is by e-validating someone’s ownership like you did - https://mytax.iras.gov.sg/ESVWEB/defaul ... LListIntro
(the cost is S$2.50).
Subsequently, request for the landlord or the representative agent to show identification, and cross reference it to the information you acquired through the e-validation.