How to Rent a Apartment in Shanghai – The Process Basics

Shanghai Living

Step 1 Fill-out the housing survey form & plan a visit to Shanghai
Step 2 Create a budget of housing costs and terms
Step 3 Choosing a location to live
Step 4 Looking at the property
Step 5 Preparing for the contract

Step 1: Fill-out the housing survey form & plan a visit to Shanghai
Where is your office located? Where does your spouse work? How far is your office from your children’s school? What is your budget? These are some of the things you will need to consider before we can begin the process of putting you in a new home in Shanghai.

We use a housing survey to determine the needs of our clients and their families. The surveys will help us to know more about you, the client, as well as your individual needs, but also helps you to understand the full scope of the services we can offer you and your family.

Please be VERY specific about exactly what you are looking for in a house or apartment. Tell us about your lifestyle, particular interests, the needs of each family member, personal and company entertainment needs and other personal concerns. The information you submit will be held strictly in confidence, and will be used only to help us find accommodations that best suit your needs and the needs of your family.

If you are fortunate enough to have your company send you on a ‘look-see’ trip in advance of your moving to Shanghai, make sure to put aside some time to see a few houses or apartments and get an idea of what’s available. While you can’t expect to find your new home on this visit, you will at least become more knowledgeable about what neighborhoods and homes are like and what preferences you my have. You will be able to get in touch with us in the months prior to your departure so we can short-list potentially suitable homes for you to view upon arrival.

Step 2: Create a budget of housing costs and terms
One of the most pertinent questions you should know before you start your housing search is the amount your company allots for your housing expenses. Your budget will affect the type of accommodation you’ll be looking for, as well as its location. Housing of acceptable standards in Shanghai range from nice apartments for about as US$600/month to houses for US$ 5,000 a month and more. Needless to say, there are a wide variety of choices in between. Nice homes in good neighborhoods are available for US$ 1,500 to $2,500/month. For higher rents, a residence should have entertainment facilities other substantial features to justify the additional cost.

Step 3: Choosing a location to live
Shanghai is divided into many residential districts, with the prime locations usually having the district numbers of 9, 10, and 11. It will be helpful, when you’re house-hunting, to remember the district number of where you want to live, as the price of the home is based not just on it’s appearance, but on it’s location. You’ll certainly need the information when dealing with estate agents, and when negotiating.

Step 4: Looking at the property
Remember to bring pen and paper for detailed notes, as well as a flashlight for seeing enclosed areas. A tape measure will be helpful as well. Don’t be shy to ask specific questions and don’t stop until you’re fully satisfied with the answers.

Step 5: Preparing for the contract
Here are some useful tips for you to know before you sign the contract

  • Understand terms of the lease – Unless the landlord releases you from your lease, you are obligated to pay for the entire lease period.
  • Repair work – Exactly who will be responsible for maintenance must be clearly stated in the contract.
  • Security Deposit – The specific amount as well as the conditions for its return should be clearly stated in the contract.
  • Utilities – Who will be paying for utilities such as electrical and water bills? This again has to be clearly negotiated.
  • Inspect – Make sure to inspect your new apartment before you sign your lease, and complete a move-in check list, which you and the management both sign.
  • Always ask – Don’t be shy to seek clarification of any clauses in the contract that you may not understand. Again, asking questions will you get the best deal.

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