Apartments for rent in Hong Kong are generally in a good and tidy condition, apartments on offer are either fully furnished, partially furnished or unfurnished. Depending on the price and property, the décor and furnishings of will differ so it is important to take note of what items of furniture, appliances and fittings are missing but necessary for your daily living. Apartment developments vary in terms of the facilities and security it provides, so if there are any amenities you require don’t hesitate to enquire about them.
When viewing an apartment in Hong Kong, things to look out for is whether there is working Air Conditioning available in all rooms and living areas, Air Conditioning is a must in the Hong Kong Summers when temperatures often exceed 31 degrees centigrade with high humidity.
Also, what you should be aware of is that some older apartments in Hong Kong such as “Chinese walk -up” buildings, low-rise developments that do not have lifts, most likely do not have access to natural gas, so water heating and cooking are by electrical means and may be an inconvenience to some.
Location wise, you should also consider the property’s proximity to nearby Supermarkets or Wet Markets, walking distances from different properties to these amenities may differ significantly and don’t forget amplified with the weight of groceries. Although the proximity to public transportation is often not a major concern since Hong Kong has a well established public transportation system, you are never too far from a regular serviced Bus Stop, Mini-Bus Stop, MTR (Mass Transit Railway), or just catch one of the many taxis that dominate the roads of Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong not all landlords or apartment buildings allow pets, please ask us for advice and recommendations if you require a location or an apartment building that is pet friendly.
The monthly rental of properties can usually be negotiated unless already specified by the landlord. Majority of the negotiations will be regarding a fully “Inclusive” monthly price which has already included government rates and management costs. Alternatively, if on “Exclusive” rental terms, this price does not include these costs and should be factored in in-order to determine your total monthly rent.
In Hong Kong when renting an unfurnished apartment or partially furnished apartment, the requirement for additional furniture, appliances or fittings, can sometimes be negotiable.
Usually the deposit for renting a property is equivalent to two, and sometimes depending on the landlord, three months' worth of rental. And this deposit should be received by the representing real estate agent (if represented) and stake-held by them when the terms are agreed upon by both tenant and landlord. The deposit is then paid to the landlord once the tenancy agreement is signed by all parties and held by the Landlord without interest, upon expiration of the lease the deposit will be refunded to the tenant. Deductions of the deposit can occur to compensate for any unreasonable damage or reinstatement work necessary to the apartment other than normal 'wear and tear' from fair and normal usage.
Monthly rents are generally payable in advance, so be aware that the cash up front even before the lease term has started will most likely be the 3 months worth of rental, consisting of 1 month in advance and 2 months deposit which is refundable post expiration of tenancy agreement. Please note that a delay in the payment of more than 15 days will result in a forfeiture of contract and legally the landlord can prematurely terminate the domestic tenancy.
In Hong Kong a tenancy agreement is generally for a two year lease term, with one year fixed and a one year option. Upon the expiration of the one year fixed period there is often an escape clause that gives the right to the tenant the option to exercise a termination if given 2 or 3 months advanced notice to the landlord.
So in most cases the minimum occupation according to a tenancy agreement is 14 months, consisting of the 12 months fixed and the required 2 months notice to vacate. Once the lease term has expired, under the "Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance" which took effect in 2004, the landlord has the right to take back the premises, and is the sole decision of the landlord whether or not to renew the lease.
Stamp Duty is payable to the Hong Kong S.A.R. Government upon the signing of all tenancy agreements and is calculated from a percentage of the total annual rent agreed. For example, the Stamp Duty payable for a 2 year lease is 0.5% of the total annual rent agreed plus an additional $5, this duty payable is usually shared equally by the tenant and landlord. Tenancy agreements should be stamped within 30 days of signing in order to be recognised by the Hong Kong court of law. If a Tenancy Agreement is not stamped it may not be recognized and accepted in the event of civil proceedings.
Real Estate Agency Fees
A commission fee of half of one month’s rental is payable by the tenant. In Hong Kong, Real Estate Agents often act for both parties in the transaction and thus take a fee from both parties; full disclosure from the agent is required regarding all representations and commissions to be received. Package deals can be arranged to corporations and are available by request, please contact us for further information.
A landlord may utilize the services of a Solicitor or Lawyer for the Tenancy Agreement, and provide the tenant the draft for approval. It is to the tenant’s discretion to seek legal assistance to review the agreement and each party is responsible for their own legal fees unless agreed otherwise.
Property Management Fees
Payable by all occupants in the apartment building or estate, the fees cover the communal services such as security, general cleaning services, maintenance of the common areas and other amenities which may include swimming pool or club house. The total management costs of the building or estate, is allocated proportional to the amount and size of units, the management fees of different apartments may vary according to the building age and quality of the facilities provided. Accordingly, more often than not, the more facilities a building offers, the higher the management fees required. Rents, which are mostly quoted as “inclusive” unless stated otherwise, means that management fees are factored into the quoted rental price.
Government rates is a form of property tax levied by the Hong Kong S.A.R. for an occupation of a property. These rates are assessed by the Government and it is derived from 5.5% of the "rateable value" or annual market rental value of the property, payable per quarter. The monthly asking rental price is mostly quoted as “inclusive” unless stated otherwise, which means that Government rates are also factored into total price. Alternatively If the price is quoted as "exclusive", this rate is paid by the tenant and should factored into your average monthly budget.
Information on Renting provided by Home Net, Licensed Hong Kong Property Agency.