Public Others Government Business Arts Community
Entertainment Lifestyle Services People Travel Internet Stuff



     Accommodation - Renting A Room?

Rooms For Rent                           CURRENCY CONVERTER

Renting a room in Singapore? Read this first!


     Rooms in private apartments, landed houses and public housing flats (HDB) are available for rent in Singapore.

     However, foreigners wishing to rent such rooms are to take note of the following:

     1. Owners of property need to see your employment pass, work permit or student pass before they will rent out their rooms. The laws in Singapore are very strict with regard to harbouring of illegal immigrants. Owners of flats, apartments or landed houses face mandatory jail and caning for not instituting proper checks on immigration status of foreigners renting rooms from them. In the case of public Housing Board (HDB) flats, such flats are confiscated. See article.

     2. Some owners may not allow cooking to be carried out. But, generally, the rooms are rented out with the following:

          a. access to bathroom/toilet

          b. access to common areas in the premises, such as living room, kitchen and dining areas

          c. access to utilities, such as water and electricity (included in rent)

          d. access to the television set in the living room

          e. access to laundry facilities, such as washing machine (self-wash)

          f.  access into the premises up to midnight (Some owners do not like their tenants to come home late - clarify this point before you commit)

          g. rooms are lockable - but owner usually keeps a spare set of keys

      3. A deposit of one month's rent is payable upfront, together with the first month's rent

      4. One month's notice is usually required from owner and tenant to terminate the arrangement

      5. Usually, there is no written agreement

      6. If the advertiser is a real estate agent, and shows you the place, you will have to pay him/her a commission equivalent to one month's rent. To reduce cost, respond to ads from owners only

     7. Try to make sure the person you meet is authorised to rent out the room to you. There have been cases in which dubious characters have got away with accepting cash deposits from would-be tenants and it was later found out that these characters were not the owners of the premises. Such characters would usually rent the premises from the real owner and pay by using a post-dated cheque. Within the next two days before the cheque is cleared, they place ads in the papers to rent out the premises, then collect cash deposits from unsuspecting would-be tenants and disappear. 

        So politely check out the owner's status by asking him/her for a current utilities (PUB) account statement or property tax bill and his/her identity card (NRIC). Match the name on the statement with the name on the identity card. Every Singaporean carries an identity card. The utilities and Property tax statements will usually show the owner's name  

      8. If you rent a room in an HDB flat, bear in mind that such flats are located in the heartlands. You may not see any expatriate for miles. You will only get to meet Singaporeans and perhaps some workers from neighbouring countries, such as Malaysia and China. Also, the neighbourhood food centres offer mainly local fare. Western food may be available at some coffeeshops or food centres

     9. Welcome to Singapore. Please enjoy your stay here.

Amendments to the Immigration Act

"..anyone who assists the landlord in the renting of his premises to an immigration offender in return for any reward, is presumed to have assisted, encouraged or induced the landlord to provide shelter to the immigration offender.

Such a middleman will need to also conduct the 3 due diligence checks when they help the landlords to rent out their premises to foreign tenants.

Those convicted will be liable to mandatory imprisonment of 6 months to two years as well as a fine not exceeding $6,000.



Landlord fined for peeping at tenant while she was bathing

  A teenaged student who was having a shower had a shock when she realised that her landlord was watching her by using a mirror he held over the bathroom door. The man, LAU Bak Lim, 37, had stood on a chair outside the bathroom and slipped the mirror through the gap between the top of the door and the ceiling. LAU, who pleaded guilty to a charge of intending to insult the modesty of his tenant, was fined S$2000 by a magistrate court on Friday 27 Oct 2000.

Couple cheated prospective tenants of deposits  

A couple raked in almost S$40,000 by collecting deposits for rooms they never intended to rent out. They cheated 47 people over three months by running newspaper advertisements for rooms in their rented flat, showing them to prospective tenants and demanding a deposit for holding the rooms. PHAN Quee Yew, 49, and his 39-year-old live-in girlfriend, who has also been charged, then skipped town with the deposits, which ranged from S$300 to S$2700. A district court this week sentenced PHAN to three years in jail after he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of cheating. (Straits Times 24 Nov 2000)

Landlady jailed for harbouring illegal immigrants

  A retired widow was jailed on 27 Nov 2000 for harbouring illegal immigrants. Paridah Sanip, 63, a former civil servant, was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to renting rooms in her home to two Indonesian women who had overstayed their social visit passes. (Straits Times 28 Nov 2000)

Conman jailed for cheating

  A man conned three people into giving him a total of S41,600 by pretending he would rent out his flat to them. Zakaria Juki, 39, never intended to rent anyone the flat. It wasn't even his to rent out. The cheat used it to collect rent deposits from would-be tenants. On 2 Jan 2001, he was jailed for two years after he admitted cheating his victims and committing a criminal breach of trust. (Straits Times 3 Jan 2001)