Renting in Hong Kong: Ultimate Guide to Apartment Rentals in Hong Kong
Finding a place to rent in Hong Kong can be a daunting task, especially when you are new to this place. This guide has got you covered with all you need to know, from where to begin your apartment search, to average rents and things to be aware of before signing a tenancy agreement. This guide will help you save your time and money at your journey of renting an apartment in Hong Kong!
Your Guide to Renting in Hong Kong
Click the buttons below to jump to the sections you want to learn more about:
Renting in Hong Kong: Where to find an apartment for rent in Hong Kong?
You can find your dream apartment through local or international real estate agencies, or find it yourself via online property listing platforms.
1. Local real estate agencies
For local real estate agencies, there are some highly localized agencies and only serve in a specific local areas such as Yuen Long. Another type of local real estate agencies are branched ones (such as Midland and Centaline) that have many branches spanning different territories.
Be reminded that no matter which one you go after, you are required to pay an agency fee equivalent to a month of rent.
2. International real estate agencies
You can also use international real estate agencies (such as Engel Völkers and Savills) to look for the place that you want to rent in Hong Kong. These agencies are usually designed for executives who are looking for top-tier options such as spacious duplexes and triplexes. If you are looking for a more affordable apartment, you can consider Century21.
3. Online property listing platforms
Online property listing platforms come in for those who are looking to find properties without the help of real estate agents. Below are the most popular online property listing platforms in Hong Kong:
A popular multi-agency property website featuring thousands of flats to rent and buy, as well as serviced apartments, co-living spaces and new developments. You can easily search, filter to your preferred district, price range, apartment size, and number of bedrooms and browse through the website and enquire via an in-site chat. It also comes with APP for on-the-go convenience.
Another popular multi-agency property website with extensive flats for rent. It also includes search filters for Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) and village houses, suitable for renters looking for affordable apartments to rent. Like many other online property listings, you can easily search, filter to your preferred requirements. Many agents leave their phone number directly on the website so you can call them directly for enquiries.
28Hse features more unique local listings and real estate apartments. Like the other websites, you can easily search, filter to your preferred requirements and browse through.
Hong Kong Homes
At Hong Kong Homes, you can search, filter and browse through thousands of flats. Also, it also offers services like lease negotiation and review of legal documentation, which can be really helpful for new flat-seekers.
Squarefoot is another well-known multi-agency property website for renters featuring a relatively new VR Virtual Tour function, allowing flat-seekers to tour a home online before setting up a viewing in person to save time. Also, property and lifestyle guides are available to get a better understanding of the design trends and the current advice on popular districts.
What to consider in apartment hunting
Below are the key factors to consider when you are looking for apartments to rent in Hong Kong.
You can use an online property listing platform to get a sense for the market to see if you can afford to live in the neighborhood.
You can also consider other ways to cut back on expenses or rents such as finding roommates to help cover the costs. If the rent is unusually lower than the market price, then you may want to reconsider before signing the lease.
Utility Costs 💧🔌
In addition to the monthly rent, make sure you understand who pays for what utilities such as water, gas, air conditioning, etc. This should be clearly laid out in the lease.
Make sure you double-check with your landlord before signing the lease.
You can spend some time walking around the neighborhood to get a better understanding of the community e.g. demographics, hygiene, supermarkets or wet market for groceries and the selection of restaurants etc.
You can also do more digging about the area’s crime rate and safety record.
Pet Policy 🐶
If you have a pet, you need to find out if you are allowed to keep a pet in the apartment. It is not surprising that some apartments in Hong Kong do not allow for it.
Some landlords may also have a no pet policy, so you should ask the landlord about it before signing the lease.
It’s also important to consider whether the area’s amenities fit your lifestyle. For example, whether there is a gym, swimming pool, and park etc.
You may need to make some compromises to the amenities if you are on a budget, while ensuring it fits your lifestyle and daily needs.
Average rent of residential apartments in Hong Kong
The average monthly rent in Hong Kong depends on the district, the type of property you go for, the size of the apartment, the age of the building, whether clubhouse facilities are included, and the nearby amenities. You can get the sense of the market by making use of the online property listing websites. You can also take the below example as reference.
For a 40m² square feet (~431 square feet) apartment, the average rent of residential apartments at the following districts is as follows:
- Hong Kong Island: HK$17,360
- Kowloon: HK$15,520
- New Territories: HK$12,680
Source: Rating and Valuation Department March 2022 Report
It is a standard that the tenant is required to pay a deposit equivalent to two month’s rent and one month advance payment before getting the keys and starting the tenancy contract.
What to notice when signing tenancy agreement
Signing a tenancy agreement officially marks the beginning of renting an apartment in Hong Kong. Here are the things to notice before signing the tenancy agreement.
Legally binding document
Before signing the lease, it is important to understand that it is a binding legal document which has important implications on the committed rights and obligations of both parties. So you should only sign it if you are committed to adhere to it.
Special terms on the tenants’ responsibilities for the expenses to be borne for the possible repairs in the premises can be added to the tenancy agreement. It is important that the tenant completely understands the liabilities and responsibilities attached before signing the lease.
Split of responsibilities
For the costs of repairs and maintenance, landlords should be responsible for it. For example, if a handyman is required to unblock the drainage or dripping air conditioners, the costs should be covered by the landlord. These responsibilities should be clearly laid out in the lease agreement.
It is important to identify who is responsible for other fees such as management fees, government rates and other fees and this is usually the landlord. This should be clearly identified in the contract.
Before confirming your tenancy lease, you may negotiate for up to 2-week rent-free period with your landlord, enabling you to move your stuff and set up things before formally moving in.
How long does a rental lease usually run in Hong Kong?
- A rental lease in Hong Kong usually runs for two years. After the first year, as long as both parties allow for 2 to 3 months' written notice, the tenancy agreement can usually be terminated after the first year.
Is dealing with a real estate agent a must for renting apartments in Hong Kong?
- No, it’s not necessary. You can use online home listing websites when looking for a flat to rent.
Do I need to pay commission to the real estate agent? How much is the usual commission?
- Yes, you are required to pay an agency fee equivalent to a month of rent, of which half is paid by you and the other half by the landlord.
Can I rent an apartment for less than a year in Hong Kong?
- Yes, short leases are available but not all common.
Do I need to inform the landlord if I want to live with my pets in the apartment?
- Yes, this usually needs to be discussed before signing the lease.
How can I make sure someone claiming to be the “landlord” of the apartment is the real owner of the property?
- You can ask for his/ her full name and then make use of the public “Land Search” service provided by the Land Registry to verify his/ her identity.
Is it more economical to buy or rent an apartment in Hong Kong?
- If you plan to stay in Hong Kong long term, it may be worth buying rather than renting given that the property price rises year on year. You can opt for a mortgage plan with low interest rate to get on the property ladder.