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Renting an Apartment in Hong Kong: What you should know

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  1. #11

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    All my leases when I was renting were stamped.

    http://www.ird.gov.hk/eng/pdf/irsd119.pdf


  2. #12

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    As far as I can see, there is no recourse to the tenant if you fail to pay stamp duty and an unscrupulous landlord decides to keep your deposit at the end of the tenancy. Could be an expensive mistake.

    dear giant likes this.

  3. #13

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    Sai Kung
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    no way i would go without having it stamped.

    our landlord recently died. our previous leases were in his name. our latest (signed last month, 2 weeks before he died) was in his "wife's" name.... we just found out that his "wife" is actually #2 or #3 wife. his kids are fighting her for his money/property. they came knocking at our door telling us not to pay her, but to pay some lawyer instead until they can sort out the $.... we looked at our lease. it is signed by wife, property is owned by wife and lease stamped by gov't and therefore we pay her.

    it can get very tricky in such a situation.... would NOT go without stamping. it costs only a couple of hundred dollars and worth every penny.

    ps> i'm on lease #14 or 15 and every single one has been stamped.

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  4. #14

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    Aug 2011
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    #4 Your lease should be in English as Chinese. My agent said that is standard
    #5 I meant majority you need to change. This is from my agent as well
    #10 Your lease must be stamped or you have no recourse in case your landlord changes their mind.
    #12 More soundproof


  5. #15

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    @satay sue: I didn't say don't trust your agent, I just stated do not trust them 100%, as really how many people do you trust 100% in life?

    If you read my last point carefully, I clearly state that it is personal preferance as I would not rent in a 40+ year old building. My agent, friends, even my doctor told me that buildings over 40+ years old are slated to be demolished by the HK government, but I don't know how true that is.

    I am also glad that you don't deal with the moldy sewage like smell, but at Fraser Suites we suffered from it so my husband and I wanted to make sure that we don't suffer from it in our rental apartment. I am not the only one complaining about this problem as many on geoexpat forums have experienced.

    As for cooking smells, I have seen over 40+ apartments, and where there were alot of chinese people, there were alot of cooking smells. (I am not trying to be racist, I am Chinese) I am not saying that if you cook you get bugs, but if you cook and you don't clean of course there will be bugs. Also if your neighbors cook alot and if they are not clean they will have bugs and bugs will migrate.

    Of course my points are mostly generalizations, but I really feel that most are valid, as I cannot possibly cover every single instance of what a renter will go through. I felt that calling my last point rubbish is uncalled for, especially when I didn't say EVERY SINGLE older building is a fire hazard, I said many, which is the truth.

    I feel that you should read posts more carefully before you start criticizing them.

    @jaykay
    #4 Your lease should be in English as Chinese. My agent said that is standard
    #5 I meant majority you need to change. This is from my agent as well
    #10 Your lease must be stamped or you have no recourse in case your landlord changes their mind.
    #12 More soundproof


  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by hungryegghead:
    They will also have this moldly sewage like smell coming from the drains. Additionally your water will most likely taste funny as the building’s pipes will have deteriorated. Lastly, Chinese people cook alot so you will be smelling alot of food that will attract cockraches and other bugs. But of course the pros of renting in an old building is that it will be about 50% cheaper than a new building and bigger too.
    That's what you DID say.
    You also did say "feel free to pitch in". So I did, and I happened to disagree with what you said on the points I mentioned. I will retract the word "rubbish" and replace with "may be true occasionally" - all my friends live in apartments at least 20 years old and none have the problems you stated. As I said, mine is 40 years old.
    With the agents: "Can't trust them...just don't do it". My agent offered the landlord less than I told her to - which meant she got a lower fee. Yes, very untrustworthy!
    and as for "... as really how many people do you trust 100% in life? That's no argument for what you said
    Last edited by Satay Sue; 16-09-2011 at 07:43 AM.

  7. #17

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    Don't worry, after you've been here a while you'll understand real estate agents a little better. Or head down to Elements and have a chat with a few of them outside. Everything they say is true, because they tell you so!

    dear giant likes this.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaykay:
    Don't worry, after you've been here a while you'll understand real estate agents a little better. Or head down to Elements and have a chat with a few of them outside. Everything they say is true, because they tell you so!
    Oh the first guy I had was a moron. But what I was saying is that I don't think they are all bad. I do find it amusing when someone makes some statements, invites you to comment then objects when they find you disagree with something they've said!

  9. #19

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    Indeed, although my comment wasn't directed at you. It was in response to "my agent said......"


  10. #20

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    sheung wan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satay Sue:
    That's what you DID say.
    You also did say "feel free to pitch in". So I did, and I happened to disagree with what you said on the points I mentioned. I will retract the word "rubbish" and replace with "may be true occasionally" - all my friends live in apartments at least 20 years old and none have the problems you stated. As I said, mine is 40 years old.
    With the agents: "Can't trust them...just don't do it". My agent offered the landlord less than I told her to - which meant she got a lower fee. Yes, very untrustworthy!
    and as for "... as really how many people do you trust 100% in life? That's no argument for what you said
    I still stand by what I said about feeling free to pitch in as I did not believe someone would call my points rubbish. But thank you for retracting what you said. The reason I posted what I did is because I benefited a lot from the geoexpat forums and I wanted to give back by helping out in what I could.

    Orgininally I posted this on my blog so I did not want to put to many points on it so I lumped all of my personal preferences in #12 together. I did not mean to say that buildings over 40 years old will have cooking smells and what not.

    I will say that since your location states the midlevels: Most older buildings in the midlevels were built of better quality then the rest Hong Kong, as it is prestigious living area, so the standards were higher. However if you look at Hong Kong as a whole, most of the older buildings are really bad and fire traps especially the ones that are not quite high rises, and without elevators. I know that some expats are interested in living in a traditional HK apartment but just wanted to let them know about some points to consider, as alot of Hong Kongers don't want to live in an building older than 15 years if they had the choice and money. Also if you decide to buy a building over 15 years old in HK and need a mortgage, you will know that banks have alot of restrictions concerning mortgages with buildings over a certain age. Near to impossible to get a mortgage on a 40+ year old building with HSBC or Standard Charter.

    The water will definitely taste funny in most older homes as pipes get corroded or they were not built properly in the first place. On the HK Government website, it states that "The water that comes out of your taps is amongst the safest in the world, as long as the plumbing in your property is properly maintained. Unlined galvanised steel pipes are prone to rusting and have been banned in new buildings since 1995." But prior to 1995, many building's plumbling was built with unlined galvanised steel pipes, and even since the law many buildings have not switched to the galvanised steel pipes due to cost.

    With regards to real estate agents not trusting them 100% is the right way to go. As Hong Kong is does not do exclusive listings, an agent can prepare their own sheet for you to look along with how much each apartment costs, but how do you know that it is actually the price of the apartment? I had another agent and I made her print out all the availablity in certain buildings I was interested in Chinese and in front of me from her work computer. From that list, I could tell that there was a price difference from what other agent had shown me. Not huge usually around the $2000-$4000HKD.

    My agent showed me a two bedroom, and he claimed it was $40,000 even, but that he would try to get it for me for $38,000 and maybe even $37,000. The other agent that printed it out an 2nd list in Chinese for me, first prepared a list in English of the apartments that showed that same apartment to be $37,000, but the ACTUAL price printed out on the 2nd list in Chinese was $36,000 for the SAME apartment. So if a person did not know that, they would say my agent is great he helped me negotitate a great deal, when in reality it was not in your best interest. So armed with the knowledge that it was $36,000 I was extremely upset with the 1st agent as because agent 1 showed me the apartment I have no choice but to go through him. But wierdly enough he called me just as I found out the true price of the apartment and told me he made a mistake and that it was $36,000. I told him that I am going to bid $33,000 for it. And I got it for $34,000. I am not saying that it is typical for all agents, but I am sure that alot of agents mark up their apartments slightly to give the renters the feeling that they are helping the agent out. I didn't put that in the guideline as I am not sure how many people on geoexpat can read Chinese. And even though I was angry at my real estate agent, I did not publish a rant on him on geoexpat nor will I as when I told my HK friends and they told me it is normal in HK society.
    dear giant likes this.

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