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Hong Kong Apartment Rental Tips

For expatriates who are new to the city the process of renting an apartment in Hong Kong can be at times a confusing experience, below are some information that can help the first time renter in Hong Kong.

Gross Square Feet. In Hong Kong, the real estate practice is a bit confusing when it comes to the defining the size of an apartment. Because Hong Kong is such a land scarce city, traditionally, developers have advertised property sizes by the total gross square feet so it can give the illusion of a larger sized apartment. The gross square feet of an apartment is actually the total covered area and can include allocated parts of common areas such as the lift and main lobby, club house, and management office etc., so for apartments in different buildings with different common areas, they are not actually comparable by using the gross floor area advertised.

It is more relevant to compare properties by the Saleable area, which includes the balcony, but does not include all the common areas, but the catch is the Saleable area is not openly advertised by Real Estate agents. In Hong Kong the ratio of Saleable area to Gross floor area can be around 70% to about 83% (efficiency), so to save time while looking around for properties for rent, don’t target a specific gross floor area but a range depending on your required size of apartment.

The higher up the apartment is, the higher the space efficiency. An interesting fact is that the higher the apartment in a building, the better it is in term of the space efficiency. This is because the gross floor area of the apartment is the covered area, which unfortunately includes all the areas taken up by the structural walls. The higher up the apartment is in the building, the load bearing structural walls become thinner as there is less building to support, and thus allows for more actual living space.

Curtains and fittings.When viewing an apartment for rent in Hong Kong, a common mistake is to not realize that the apartment has no curtains and discovering too late as the apartments are rented on an “as is” basis. In Hong Kong new apartments don’t include curtains and fittings in the sale, and for renovated apartments the curtains are left to last as they can be quite costly and also just gather dust in a vacant apartment. So if the apartment has no curtains and fittings make sure to get the agent to include the installation in the agreement, or, depending on the landlord, you may end up paying for them out of your own pocket.

What you need to rent an apartment in Hong Kong. The following is the standard costs and documentation needed in-order to rent an apartment. Related costs include 2 months rental deposit, 1 month rent in advance, half month rental for estate agents commission, and Stamp Duty. For documentation, generally, a HKID Card or passport is all you need, but sometimes the landlord may require a proof of employment such as an employment contract.

Utilities. Utilities such as water, power and electricity in Hong Kong is relatively easy to set-up, transfer, or discontinue. But for Cable television and internet such as NowTv and Broadband, the contract would require a minimum term of normally 18 months, the penalty for a premature end to a contract is the full payment of the remaining terms left in the contract.

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