4 Things to Look Out for When Renting a Room in Singapore

By Jamie Nonis / EdgeProp | November 27, 2017 11:00 AM SGT
Renting a room and sharing your space with strangers may not be the most ideal. Navigating the room rental market can also be particularly stressful, as horror stories certainly abound. But if you are constrained by budget, here are five things to note and advice from property agents to help you protect your interests and avoid potential pitfalls.

1. Is the room being legally rented out?

It is normal to assume that dealings are aboveboard, especially in Singapore. But it’s best to be safe as there may be shady individuals who are not necessarily playing by the rules.
Apart from basic things like verifying the property agent’s credentials with the Council for Estate Agencies, check whether the person renting the room out to you is really the owner of the property. Or is he the tenant subletting the room? If it’s the latter, there may be complications and other implications you might not realise until further down the road.
“As a potential lessee, you have the right to ask for proof of ownership or ask to see the tenancy agreement if you are dealing with the second landlord,” says Zee Chia, Associate Director of Orange Tee & Tie. “For HDB, if a room has been sub-divided by a partition to create an extra room, that is not legal,” adds Zee.
Additionally, do note that any short-term rental of a home or room for a period of less than six months is illegal in Singapore – regardless of whether it’s an HDB or private unit.

2. Strengthen your negotiating power

Do your homework and check similar listings in the same neighbourhood or building to find out what the going rate for a comparable unit is. The prices listed on the internet are usually open to negotiation so while there may be an upward price bias, it’s good to have an understanding of the price trends before you head to the negotiating table, and even before you start your search.
Research past rental transactions here

3. Find out what’s included in the rental fee

“Are utilities included? How about wifi? Is the room already furnished or partially furnished? Is there an air-con? Does it come with an attached bath or non-attached bath? These are some of the most basic but important questions most tenants should ask,” offers Anthea Yeo, Senior Associate Director of PropNex Realty.

4. Can you cook and entertain guests?

It is common for some landlords to disallow cooking on the premises. Some do not allow tenants’ friends to visit. Sleepovers are also usually a no-no. And the rental price is often higher for couples sharing a room. So check what the landlord’s stand on these is before you sign the contract, as it may affect your lifestyle.
“Many problems between landlord-and-tenant or amongst tenants often arise from this issue. So for those who really like to cook and entertain friends, I would really suggest renting a whole unit instead,” advises Zee.