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Renting Property

Hong Kong - Renting Property

Rent in Hong Kong is decided by location and square footage. Space is at a premium. For a furnished apartment which is the average size for Hong Kong (45 m2 / 480 square foot) in an expensive area such as Central it is $22,476HKD. For the same size apartment in a cheaper area such as Sham Shui Po it is $15,038HKD. Utilities such as gas, electric and heating would cost an individual $689HKD in the same apartment.

It is worth noting that rent comes in two forms, inclusive and exclusive. Inclusive is when a standard management fee which involves cleaning, maintenance, air con and security and government rates of 5% (which is paid every quarter) are paid alongside the rent, in one sum. Exclusive is when the management fees are not included in the total and you must set up these payments and pay them separately.

The typical lease term in Hong Kong is 2 years, which is a government applied standard lease. After one year there is a break clause. Notice periods are usually 2-3 months after the break clause and if you wish to terminate your contract before the contract is up, a request is required in writing.

Make sure that if your contract is in Chinese it is translated by a reliable source. A frequent misunderstanding is in the year long commitment of rent known as the break clause. Expats have found themselves paying out a significant amount of money on remaining rent, agency fees and administration costs to the landlords for ending their tenancy before the break clause. It may be that your landlord adds his own clauses, so it is important to check thoroughly, perhaps read it through with another person too to double check. Often contracts contain clauses listing bans on sub letting, the responsibility of tenants for repairs, and the necessity to take out indemnity insurance. If you have a pet, check that animals are allowed to be kept in the property. Check that you understand the clauses and liabilities and consequently your responsibility as a tenant.

In Hong Kong, short term lets are not easy to find without certain websites. They don’t generally involve deposits and there are really no great guarantees for tenants. Long term rentals would involve deposits and contracts in place and rights for yourself as a tenant. Usually tenants are asked to rent for at least one month minimum, so if you’re looking for anything less than that it may prove difficult. Standards may be lower and prices may be higher in the short term if you search in person. Locals usually only manage to buy one house in their lifetime, so spare properties which could be used for leasing would be rented out to local residents with guaranteed, regular pay. Now with sites such as AirBnB short term rentals are more prevalent and affordable.

Long term rentals will also be more likely to have security and maintenance done; they will be of a higher quality. Longer term rentals of a month or more will require some form of deposit which will be returned once you leave. Long rentals are widely available as there is more guaranteed income for the landlord. People seeking temporary accommodation can use Serviced Hong Kong apartments.

A deposit will be required and it would usually equal 2-3 months’ rent, which is inclusive of all extra fees such as government rates and maintenance fees.

Always view apartments first. Ask to look at the inventory if possible, particularly if you have asked and been charged for extra items. If the flat does not have white goods it may be possible to have them put in by the landlord at additional cost. Apartments will not come with curtains, so bear this in mind for privacy. Also the rentals may not have light fittings or heating. All properties must fulfil basic living conditions and have clean running water, electricity and gas. You may find Sky dishes already in place. Apartments in Hong Kong come in three forms, though their actual definitions are loose and each term can run into the other.

Furnished - What furnished means is up to the landlord's discretion. The apartment should come with all things necessary for day to day living including a bed, sofas etc. It may come with crockery, cutlery and even towels. Always check thoroughly what is included in a furnished apartment, it may be that a TV or washing machine is not present.

Part Furnished - Apartments which come with white goods and perhaps the basics of wardrobe, dining table and chairs. Tenants will need to bring or buy their own TV, bed, washing machine etc. Again, it varies from property to property, so check, ask and negotiate.

Unfurnished - Some unfurnished apartments will come with white goods, which means oven, fridge, and microwave. Some will not. You must view the apartment and check the inventory before moving in.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.