Long term rental leases have always been the norm in Singapore. But did you know that legal short term rentals (as short as 3 months) exist too? We explore the trade-offs for both so you can find out what works best for you.
There are many reasons why people choose to rent in Singapore. Some are business travellers who are working for a few months in the city and looking for a short term or month-by-month rental. Others are locals who got hitched and are thinking of renting a temporary housing solution while waiting for you Built To Order (BTO) flat. Then of course there are those who are relocating to Singapore and looking to rent as opposed to buying a property.
The good news is that you can definitely find an assortment of rental accommodation options available in urbanised and cosmopolitan Singapore. The overall rental process in Singapore, while carefully regulated, is not rocket science.
You would just need to be familiar with the general requirements, especially for short-term rentals, to take the necessary steps to secure your dream abode. The current law on the minimum rental period permissible in Singapore favours tenants to rent an accommodation for a stipulated minimum time frame.
Simply put, regardless if you decide to rent a place for three months or two years and above, there are plenty of options available in sunny Singapore.
Quick Caveat For Short Term Rentals In Singapore
Singapore is an international business hub that provides house hunters with an array of accommodation options, for even short term rentals. Examples of such housing options include fully-furnished serviced apartments, co-living spaces as well as hostels. An important thing to note would be that short term rental platforms such as Airbnb are actually illegal in Singapore. The Airbnb model that enables homes to be rented out for short term stays (even for one night) contradicts the law in Singapore stipulating the necessity for a minimum rental period (of three months, depending on licence).
Moreover, you need to be a Singaporean, Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) or hold a valid permit in Singapore (such as an employment permit, a dependent pass, long-term social visit pass or a student pass) to rent a property in Singapore. If you are transiting in Singapore for a couple of days as a business traveller, you would be considered as a ‘tourist’ instead of a Singapore resident and can only book a short-term stay at a hotel, serviced apartment or a hostel.
Now that we've ironed out the legalities, if you're eligible for both a short and long term rental, let's explore the benefits and the downsides of both options.
Short Term Rentals
Short term rentals, as the term indicates, provides tenants like yourself with a great deal of flexibility to move out of your accommodation when you need to, and not only after a longer period of time (like a year or two). All you would have to do is to inform your landlord in advance on the date you intend to move out, and you could have the flexibility of moving out within the month or even week.
For instance, you might be in Singapore for a couple of months on a work assignment, or you might need temporary accommodation with a short term lease to live in while renovations on your existing home are carried out. Alternatively, you and your spouse could be waiting for your upcoming BTO flat to be renovated and decide to rent temporary accommodation for a shorter time period.
Whatever the reason, renting an apartment or co-living space for the short term, such as a period of three months or so, would be relatively cheaper than staying in a hotel with sky-high rates. If you are a tourist or a corporate traveller in Singapore for a couple of days, you would be more financially well-off if you decide to stay in a serviced apartment like Hmlet Cantonment, instead of a hotel.
If you are unsure of whether a particular apartment or room would be suitable for your living needs, a short term rental arrangement would present less risks for you as a tenant. Should you encounter major quality issues in your accommodation, such as perennially leaking pipes or unfriendly neighbours, you can opt to move out once your short term lease is over.
From a tenant’s perspective, one downside of short term leases would be that in terms of monthly rental, it is slightly more expensive when compared to long term rentals. Therefore, if you are budget-strapped, the higher rental rates at your desired short-term accommodation options might be a put off.
Another disadvantage of short term leases is that your landlord might change the terms of your rental agreement more easily. Should you decide to extend your stay in your desired accommodation beyond the original time frame, you might have to abide by the new set of lease terms that could put you at a disadvantage. For instance, if you own a pet and if the updated set of lease terms include clauses that ban pets at your rental accommodation, you would either have to negotiate with your landlord or find a new accommodation.
Long Term Rentals
Some of the disadvantages of renting a place for the short term can be solved with opting for a long term lease option.
Given Singapore’s rental regulations as established above, you would have more accommodation options as your net is cast wider to include more locations and home types, e.g. fully-furnished or unfurnished apartments.
Another advantage of having a long term lease is that you can secure the same monthly payment for a longer period of time, such as for a year or more. Landlords usually increase rent from upon renewal, this is true even for tenants who choose to remain in the same place. Should you sign a multi-year rental lease, you can enjoy peace of mind that your rent wouldn't increase in the following year, even when GST increases! Furthermore, if you stay in your desired rental accommodation for a longer period of time, you can save yourself the hassle of moving in and out every few months.
Having said that, if you can’t commit to a longer term rental accommodation for fear of falling out of love with the location or missing out on a more suitable and cheaper apartment for rent, then think about the trade-offs you'll have to make for the sake of short term rentals. If you're comfortable with that, then consider a short term lease.
Short Or Long Term?
There are certainly two sides of the coin when it comes to short and long term rentals, with each having their own set of pros and cons. Ultimately it all boils down to what you are most comfortable with and rental budget.
Whether you are looking to rent a room, an entire apartment or a co-living space for a few months or even a year or more, Hmlet has them all. Head on over here to find a cosy home to call yours today!
Bonus perk of staying at Hmlet: Regardless of your length of stay, all our Members can look forward to Hmlet Member perks (exclusive discounts at lifestyle establishments) and peace of mind with a dedicated Member Experience Team looking after your every need.