Generally speaking, all requirements should be clearly written in the lease contract as required by law to protect both tenant and landlord in case of dispute. We strongly advise never to rely on verbal agreements made with the landlord as these will be difficult to defend in the event of a dispute. The team at Abbama Real Estate provides this information as a recommendation only.
I Replacing or buying new furniture: If the property is unfurnished or you would like to change existing furniture you will need to consult your agent to negotiate with the landlord. The market practice is for the landlord to provide an amount that will be considered a furniture allowance and with this you can go with an agent to buy the items you need with the landlord’s prior permission. Please be aware that all detailed arrangements of how to purchase furniture and budget allowance should be included in the leasing agreement prior to signing. Ownership will belong to the landlord and in cases of damage caused by carelessness or neglect the tenant will be liable to compensate the landlord under the terms of the agreement. Make sure you retain tax invoices of your purchases, which will be requested by landlord.
II Lease term: If the agent negotiates a very good deal for you we recommend asking the agent to sign a lease for an extended period of time with a break clause (early termination without penalty clause). For example, if you plan to live in the property for 1-2 years then the lease shall be for two years in which case the first year is fixed and the second year is optional. During the optional period, you are allowed to move out without any penalty by giving the landlord written notice two months prior to your move. This is a good way to prevent a potential rent increase when the landlord renews the lease with you.
III Damage and compensation: You are not allowed to drill holes in walls or fix mirrors unless you have the landlord’s express written confirmation and permission. Also, do not redecorate or change the wall color without the landlord’s prior permission. Otherwise, you may be asked for the fee to reverse the work and any problems caused as a result.
IV Rental: Rental terms usually include property management fee, taxes, etc. Maintenance or repair fees for electrical appliances shall be paid by the landlord as long as the damage is not caused by tenant’s improper use. Small maintenance expenses, for example changing a light bulb, shall be at the tenant’s expense. Garden maintenance fees shall be negotiated separately with the landlord.
V Club membership: Onsite club membership is not integrated into renting and needs to be negotiated with the landlord. Generally, a family membership of any clubhouse admits only two adults and two children under 14 to enter. If you have more family members interested in joining it will cost extra and this additional cost may be negotiated with the landlord before the lease is signed. However, some newer compounds will include the clubhouse fee in rent. Except for some serviced apartments or hotels, rental doesn’t include utility fees which should be paid separately. Be aware that some facilities in certain clubs, such as tennis or the swimming pool, are provided to members requesting extra usage fee.
VI Pest control: Pest control is requested by a number of expats even though it is not standard practice in China. The service fee will need to be negotiated before the leasing contract is signed.
VII Pets: Many compounds don’t allow tenants to adopt or bring pets, especially dogs, cats, etc. Please confirm with your agent or landlord before any adoption.
VIII Backup plan: Once you find a satisfactory home, a quick decision will help you secure your home. We recommend you have several backup options since competition from other customers may influence the landlord’s decision and it will help the agent get a good deal for you.