Even though Hong Kong is ranked among the most expensive cities in the world to live in, more and more people are moving here. Be it due to the strong economy or good living conditions, they feel that Hong Kong is the right place for the next phase in their life. And, during their relocation to, one of the more difficult tasks they will have to deal with is to find an apartment for rent in Hong Kong. Even though there are a lot of apartments for rent here, and the renting procedure is pretty straightforward, there are a couple of things you should be aware of. That way you will not only make apartment hunting easier, but you will also avoid certain unpleasant surprises.
What to do in order to find an apartment for rent in Hong Kong
Finding an apartment for rent in Hong Kong is a tad different from finding one in western countries. While the procedure of looking is pretty similar, there are certain differences that you need to be aware of. In most part, Hong Kong is quite western both in lifestyle and in business culture. But, there are still some eastern cultural influences that do change the way in which the people of Hong Kong view apartments and apartment renting.
What are apartments like in Hong Kong
Depending on where you are coming from, apartments in Hong Kong can be a bit small. Although this is true for any large city, Hong Kong does stand out as an example of how small living spaces can actually be. Don’t get us wrong, there are large family apartments in Hong Kong. But, as an expat, you are most likely going to live in a small one.
Even if you get a roommate. There is a plethora of videos and articles describing how tiny some Hong Kong apartments get. If you plan on living here for a while, get ready to use foldable furniture and small home appliances. You can save space by storing items you don’t need. So it is a good idea to find a storage company nearby.
Finding a real estate agent
Finding a real estate agent is not absolutely necessary, but it is preferable. If you don’t have a Chinese real estate agent helping you, you limit yourself to apartments where the landlord speaks English. This, as you might guess, poses a bit of a problem as most landlords are Chinese and have inherited their apartments from their parents. So much so that it is tremendously difficult for a foreigner to buy property in Hong Kong. Therefore, there is definitely a higher chance that you’ll find an apartment if you have a representative that speaks both English and Cantonese. Not to mention that you will avoid weeks of checking out apartments online and trying to figure out if they are worth the visit. The standard realtor fee is one month’s rent. The landlord will pay half of it, while it is expected that you pay the other half.
Dealing with paperwork
The one thing that will stand out once you try to find an apartment for rent in Hong Kong is that you will need to have your paperwork in order from the get-go. A standard landlord won’t even consider doing business with you if you do not have the necessary documents. Especially if you are an expat. Among the documents you will need are:
- Your passport
- Letter of employment or a contract
- Your Hong Kong ID, if you possess one
When it comes to rental contracts, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind. Most of them have a two year duration, with the first year being a binding one. That means that during the second year, both the tenant and the landlord can end the lease with a two months notice. One piece of advice we would give you is to carefully read any contract before you sign it.
Some neighborhoods to check out
Now that you know a bit more about apartments for rent in Hong Kong, you should have a better chance of finding a decent one. Keep in mind that the average time it takes for a person to find an apartment for rent in Hong Kong is about four months. You may get lucky and find one within a week. Or you may run into some tough luck and spend a year before you find one. All in all, make sure that you start looking for an apartment at least six months before moving. That way you have enough time to find an apartment and organize your relocation. To learn how to do so, visit sites like relosmart.asia.
Now, let’s take a look at a couple of neighborhoods that you should find interesting during your apartment hunt.
The Mid Levels, Hong Kong Island
The Mid Levels are quite a popular location, especially for expats. Here you will have easy access to great nightlife. And also, surprisingly, to terrific international schools. Both of those are reasons why most expats choose to make this neighborhood their first home. Just know that the prices of rent can be a bit higher here.
In West Kowloon, you can find a decent amount of both luxurious and cheaper apartments. The whole area is quite populated with both locals and expats. This makes it excellent for anyone who wants to get to know Hong Kong a bit more. And for anyone who would like to find cheaper accommodation.
Clearwater Bay, The New Territories
Up to recently, it was unimaginable for an expat to live in Clearwater Bay. But, even in Hong Kong, the real estate market is changing. So, if you wish to live in a more natural setting, while still being relatively close to the city, this is the neighborhood to check out.
Hopefully, now you have a clear idea about how to find an apartment for rent in Hong Kong. Good luck!
Lisa Roberts is a long-time real estate expert. For the past two decades, Jack has worked for a large real estate company and he is an expert when it comes to investing in rental real estate. Currently, he lives in Brooklyn with his stay at home wife and two daughters. On the weekends, he prefers to spend time with his family, since on workdays he works long hours. Jack’s plan is to invest in rental real estate and retire early.