Frequently Asked Questions
House Hunting Process in Beijing
Rent a Property in Beijing
Developer-owned property usually provides better management services with more efficiency than privately-owned property, thus asking for higher rental as well. Some private landlords are very difficult to deal with, and tend to change their mind easily. Private landlords may also have no knowledge of their house defects, and are usually slower in solving problems. If private landlords hired unqualified contractors to do original renovation, then there might be endless problems during the tenancy term. Some private landlords try to find excuses to only return part or none of the deposit to the tenant’s company. While as other private landlords request tenants to wash the curtains or clean the carpets before moving out. However, you may also be luck to meet private landlords who are more flexible in negotiation and more ready to settle problems for their tenant.
Management Offices of the developer-owned property provides assistance to their tenants for the resident registration in the local police station in accordance with Chinese Law. On the other hand, if you choose to stay in a privately owned property, then it is required to take care of registration in the local police station in person.
In most privately -owned properties, the utility facilities use prepaying system. Your landlord will hand you utility cards for you to pay before you use water, electricity and gas.
When negotiating the lease, pay attention to the following terms:
- Length of the Lease Property
- leases are normally for one year. For villa leases, landlords prefer 2 year leases especially if the lease includes custom renovations and furniture purchases. Some landlords accept a break clause for the tenant after the first year, with prior 2-month notice.
- Pay the rental and other fees
- The rent is paid in RMB by bank transfer to the landlord’s account, usually on a monthly basis. For corporate property leases, your company arranges payment for rental and deposit. For private leases, you need to make sure you will have enough amount of RMB in your bank account in Beijing, so that you can make payment in time according to your agreement with landlord. Landlords rarely accept foreign currency payments, even if paid off-shore. Typically a complete lease agreement should reflect the furniture and appliances provided, management fee, satellite TV fee, telephone and internet fee, heating fee, utility fee, fitness club fee, parking fee, housekeeping cost and tax etc. It’s important that both landlord and tenant understand that who is responsible for paying which fee.
- Security Deposit
- A security deposit of normally two months rental is payable to the landlord and should be returned without interest at the end of the lease upon completion of all terms and conditions. Typically you pay one months’ rent upon signing the Lease Agreement. Full deposit need to be paid before move-in date.
- Break Clause
- If you signed a lease with no break clause, you will lose your security deposit upon early termination. Not all the landlord can agree to add a break clause to the lease agreement, but there’s no harm to negotiate for one. If your landlord has agreed to a break option in your lease agreement, you need to strictly follow the conditions of that break clause. For example, it might require 2-months prior notice; or it might only happen after 6-month tenancy; or it might only apply to the situation that you are relocated out of Beijing by your employer.
If the selected property belongs to developer, standard furniture is usually provided with limited flexibility to change; even if tenant only needs an unfurnished house/apartment, there would be almost no difference in rental price.
If the selected property belongs to a private owner and the furniture is already in place, then the landlord usually allows limited flexibility to change. If, for example, the tenant has different tastes from the existing furniture and wants to change lots of the existing furniture, then the rental negotiated will definitely reflect that additional cost to landlord. If the tenant only needs an unfurnished house, then the landlord may have to remove the existing furniture and find storage facilities. Therefore the landlord may not lower the rental price just because it’s an unfurnished apartment or house.
If the selected property is currently empty and belongs to a private owner, the landlord may provides a furniture allowance (equal to 1-2 months rental) to furnish the house, or furnish the house according to your needs. The amount of furniture allowance is usually related to rental amount and length of the lease term. If you ship your own furniture to Beijing, the landlord may consider lowering the rental for leasing a currently unfurnished house.
Not all the landlords will agree to let tenants to select furniture styles. Most landlords would try to make the furnishing process as simple as possible, especially those staying out of Beijing.
It really depends on how negotiation goes. If everything goes smoothly, the contract could be signed within one week by both parties. If it is a personal lease, you are to sign the contract by yourself with landlord directly. Landlords usually request a downpayment for deposit, which normally equals to at least one-month rental. Some landlords may even want cash payment upon signing the contract. Then landlord will start getting the apartment ready for you to move in, which may take about one week, cleaning, reconnecting water, electricity, gas, internet, TV cable, etc.
If it is a corporate lease, it usually takes 1-2 weeks to settle the contract negotiation and signing, and another 1-2 weeks to settle payment by your employer. Usually the realistic move-in date would be around one month later. Landlords would usually prepare the property only after receiving the deposit payment from your employer. If negotiation on your first option is not a success, then negotiations must begin on a second or third option, which will take much longer time.
It is common that Serviced Apartment provide these items together with housekeeping services. However, individual landlords rarely agree to include them in the lease, as they will not be used by a second tenant. If a landlord agrees to include these items, they will be provided at a certain cost and factored into a higher rent.
Most of the problems can be settled by property management office. If you choose Greenpath to assist you with homefinding, you can call us for help during your lease. We are experienced problem solvers.
If you choose Greenpath to assist you with homefinding, we will set it up for you at your house or apartment, and explain how and where you pay the bills on your move-in day.
If Greenpath assisted you to find the property, we will be there for you at the end of your lease to document a proper hand-over of the property back to the landlord. This includes an inventorycheck and reading of all utilities. On the hand-over day, the property should be clean and all your belongings should be removed from the premises. All keys, entry cards, utility cards, remote controls and instruction manuals should be compiled for an smooth hand-over. If you have damaged anything (fair wear and tear excepted) during the lease, please inform us 14 days in advance so we can help you schedule repairs, or find ways to minimize compensation. A proper hand-back of property to landlord is the key to quick refund of security deposit.
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