Renting in Singapore

The baby's room

In some ways, I miss renting apartments in Switzerland and yet, I don’t. For one thing, the Swiss only allow you four days in a year to move – every quarterly – so moving during other times requires more work on your part. Then of course there is the clean-up. My parents didn’t quite understand the importance of a clean apartment during hand-overs and upon arriving in Singapore (and getting our own place), I now see why.

In Switzerland, a tenant must clean the place to the condition that it was given to him/her prior to the start of the tenancy agreement. And it’s the same everywhere – sparkling clean. In places like Zurich, some people have been known to be charged for the clean-up because the apartment just wasn’t “clean enough” during hand-overs. This means the place has to be live in – you, as the prospective tenant, don’t have to do more cleaning upon moving in. Think this: no cobwebs, no bits of stuff on the floor, no layers of dust on shelves, no sticky feeling on the floor when you walk on it barefoot, and so forth. Really anal, if you ask me – as if one is on hgh growth hormone and bouncing off the walls or something. :X

Unfortunately for us here in Singapore, while the owner was kind enough to clear the place of his stuff, he wasn’t doing things like the Swiss. Upon moving in, we had to mop the floor, dust the place and well, just make sure it’s liveable WITH a baby. It would have been great if he had taken the initiative to mop the floor before handing over the keys instead of just leaving dust marks around. Then there are the plates – I had to keep them, and well, some of the kitchen utensils and appliances had to be washed before use because they were dusty or just, urm, not so clean – thankgawd nothing gross or icky.

But I must say – the Singaporean rental market does move fast. The unit we moved into was just put up for rent on the day of the viewing and already, before we made the offer, someone else did. We were lucky that the owner’s parents (who were in charge during the viewing) picked us instead of the other person. I guess the fact that we had a baby helped and of course, with God’s blessings too – the owner’s parents are quite superb really; very friendly and kept asking us if we wanted anything else to come with an already furnished place. Lovely people.

It works very differently from the Swiss system. There, you can do everything at a more relaxed pace – deposit is done via the bank and a slip is given to the rental agency. Rent is paid every month via a slip that the agency will give you in advance (a long trail of slips where you just key in the invoice no, and what-not online) so you can pay this at home using your computer. Here, it’s cold hard cash that rules – something I feel should change as it involves large amounts of money moving from one hand to another. Two months deposit, first month rental plus agent fees equals to a few thousands and I, for one, don’t relish the idea of carrying all that money around. Am hoping to get a bank account soon (PCOS) so we won’t have to pay cash every month. =.=

The unit is a high floor unit, which means a good flow of breeze on a cool day and when it rains, it’s just perfect. But it doesn’t mean we can do without fans. I still have about two fans left to purchase – one table and stand fan for the hall (we are using one stand fan for both the room and hall, and carting it to & fro every day is getting tiring). The air-conditioning has not been in use so far, except yesterday when it got a little too warm for Eva. I left the air-conditioning on at 28 C and at the lowest speed so that it wouldn’t be too cool for her.

Location-wise, we are next to a market, food court and plenty of small shops selling all sorts of things plus two fast food joins – not that I plan to drown myself in McDonalds or KFC (although I wouldn’t kill for a meal of hot & spicy chicken!). They don’t have KFC in Switzerland.

Otherwise, you could say that we’re comfortably settled in and slowly unpacking – or at least I am… 🙂

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  1. when i was renting in singapore, my landlady handed over her keys to a pristine flat, with serviced aircons and all. i actually thought it’s compulsory for owners to clean up pior to handover, guess i was just lucky!

  2. I hear ya! Over here, not only do we have to clean, we also have to *PAINT* the apartment before moving out.

    Back home, my mum rented out our family house, gave the tenants a spick and span house, only to get it back with black floors (bathroom floor was white), sofa covered in i-dont-know-what. It used to be cream coloured, but is now grey.

    My mum being my mum, was too nice to say anything about it >___<

  3. Tash,

    ya, here pun sama! have to paint the walls in white before leaving. mind you, not that they are that strict about it (the people before us just painted over the wallpaper!).

    when you rent however… it comes with nothing! no lights, no floors…

  4. Eva’s room is huge! Happy settling! 🙂
    When my family moved to SG during my younger years, my mum was always doing the extra cleaning (she being a clean freak as well) before moving into our every rented HDB. I can understand your standard of cleanliness especially with Eva, i would too.

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