Apartment Rentals in Hong Kong
Standard tenancy agreements in Hong Kong are for 2 years, which follows a 1 year fixed and 1 year optional contractual arrangement. Tenant needs to keep deposit amount with the landlord which is equivalent to 2 month’s rent. During the optional period, either the tenant or the landlord can terminate the tenancy on usually a month’s notice. Tenancy cannot be terminated by either during the 1st year fixed term. Deposit may be negotiated if you agree to pay 6 or 12 months up front (you will be very rich if you can afford to do this in Hong Kong! J). Stamp duty is shared by both landlord and the tenant and is quite insignificant compared to the rent.
If you opt to search your house via a registered agent (highly recommended in a new place), then both the landlord and the tenant pay 0.5 months brokerage to the agent. The brokerage is only payable when you sign up to the lease for an apartment that you have viewed through the agent. Agents do not charge for arranging inspections. Make sure that you don’t end viewing the same apartment from two different agents. Agent will also help you organize utility for your rented house – that is water connection, electricity and gas (All of these will be in the tenant’s name and the tenant needs to settle them).
One may also sign up a short term rental at serviced apartments for 1 – 6 months. This will help you spend some time in Hong Kong and identify locations most suitable for you before you take the big decision of signing up for a longer term. Usually serviced apartments are more expensive than standard apartment rentals, but they include services such as housekeeping and utilities. More importantly, you pay for the flexibility for signing a short term rental.