Here you are in the big city with flashing lights. Having landed your first job, thinking of moving out of your parents’ house or you just came to have a share of the big pie in the city (to earn a living) — accommodation is mandatory.

The biggest percentage of people would most probably be on a small budget yet the rental is not friendly at all. Kuala lumpur is one of the fast growing cities in the world, no doubt property is really expensive and so is the rental. In this case, Munnee’s buddy played the “friend card” to get him to contribute to his house expenses.

After weeks of searching high and low, which desperate being would pass up an opportunity like the one in this scenario…NONE. Desperate people make bizarre decisions which later come back and haunt them. I don’t think Munnee is delighted by his new home. Neither would you. So serving as an example, I will refer to Munnee’s experience to guide you to your first apartment.

Initially you will have options to choose from, compare and decide what works in your favour:

1. Share an apartment with a friend.

Advantages:

  • Share utility bills hence reduced monthly bills.
  • Share the rent.
  • Social acceptance.

Disadvantages:

  • Little or no privacy.
  • Danger of distorting your relationship with your friend.
  • High chances that the apartment will be messy and dirty all the time.
  • Expect late payments because friends tend to take you for granted.
  • Be prepared to relive college life in such a way that your flat-mate maybe the kind that throws parties, stays home all day.

2. Rent an apartment all alone.

Advantages:

  • Lease directly with landlord therefore you are solely responsible
  • Maintain apartment hygiene like desired.
  • Regulate the usage of the utilities.
  • More privacy.
  • Less noise

Disadvantages:

  • You have to pay rent all by yourself, which is expensive.
  • High utility bills all to be paid by one person.
  • Running after your landlord requesting your deposit is quite a task. It is much easier if you are a group of tenants asking for deposit hence more pressure.

Whether you will be sharing an apartment or not, there are certain things you have to put into consideration before you rent an apartment. You would really like to pay extra attention to these because they determine what kind of apartment, landlord and area you will finally settle in. So here are our best tips to get you prepared before you sign that lease:

Set your budget.

No one knows your bank account and pockets better than you. So you got to set a budget that is within your reach. You might have to compromise at times but remember the number one rule “keep your rent less than 30% of your monthly income”. You do not want to end up taking loans to finance your monthly rent or bills.

Where to search, and where you shouldn’t

Broker is absolutely the last option you would like to consider if you want to avoid paying commission. But most area in Malaysia don’t require tenants to pay real estate agent commission. Otherwise you can start off by looking at newspaper classifieds, apartment hunter publications, college campus bulletin boards, or the dear Internet. You sure can not miss to find what you are looking for in these forums.

What are you searching for?

It is very important for you to get a pen and list down all your requirements. Would you prefer an apartment that is close to your workplace or school, one that allows pets, one that has free parking, one with good security? How about an apartment with other services like laundry, church/mosques, restaurants, hospitals or clinics…nearby?

Documentation and finance.

For the landlord’s safety and protection, you will need to fill up some sort of application for future reference. Some landlord would also like to see your monthly payment records. If you can prove that you are going to be a good tenant who is most likely going to take care of the property, the landlord might consider a lower rent.

Potential renter’s resume.
It sounds ridiculous yeah I know, that is the direction Malaysia is heading right now. You will have to even provide a little more so as to convince your landlord to be that you are a trustworthy tenant. To stand out from the rest of the other applicants, you would have to include your previous landlord’s contacts, personal references, your monthly income or a copy of your credit report. These will help you stand out from the rest of the other applicants.

What is included in the compound rental structure?
It is important to know exactly what is included in the amount you will be paying monthly. Be straight up and ask if that amount covers your electricity, water, gas or the internet utility bills. You wouldn’t want to receive bills with ridiculous numbers at the end of the month. Its better to know what extra utilities you will have to pay at the end of the month.

Before you sign that lease, be sure to take a closer look at the contract and rules if there is any. It is a very common mistake for people to sign against contracts they have not read through. This normally gets you in trouble later on in future if you breach the contract out of ignorance.
Check the begining and expiry date, rental price and terms of your deposit, circumstances under which the landlord can terminate your contract, penalties for moving out early? Who is incharge of repairs, Is subletting allowed? Any policy as regards visitors? These are a few of those factors to look for in a contract.

Loopholes in the contract.
Be careful before signing contracts. Take time and survey the apartment before putting your signature on paper. Beware of those agreement with auto-renew clause because you could decide to move some time in future but if your contract is still running then your landlord can take legal action. If you enjoy your privacy and freedom, it is best to stay away from contracts that grants the landlord access to your apartment anytime unannounced.

So you like the area, facilities, apartment is also strategically located, and the price is good. Do not rush, please take time and do a detailed survey of the apartment. Check the water and gas pipes, electricity and appliances, walls and windows, and the noise levels.

Remember to further negotiate a little more if you like the apartment.

Take time to learn more about your landlord. That will give you an upper hand so that you can bargain a little more with an idea of what kind of person you are dealing with.

Once you have gone through all these stages, you are now ready to sign your contract and move into your first apartment. You would have to abide by the rules and regulations as provided by the landlord. You would avoid acts that will forfeit your deposit. The key to have a smooth process is to be very polite and not put ultimatums across, landlords do not like this.

Over to you, what tips would you give to those looking at renting their first apartment?


    3 replies to "Renting Your First Apartment? Here Is a Simple Guide to Land the Perfect One"

    • zfs

      The current rental market outlook is tilt towards renter’s market due to perception of oversupply. In my opinion, convincing the landlord you are a good tenant is less of a worry than negotiating a min rental (well, even though you have set a budget, no harm going as low as you can).

      • KCLau

        In fact, there is a lot of supply nowadays. However, the good properties on good location are still much sought after.

    • Teo

      Dear KCLau,

      I am curious about your views on the E-tenancy agreements and online contracting. We as a part of Roomz team are developing a system of fast and efficient online contracting methods so any input would be much appreciated.

      Cheers!

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