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Malaysia – Property Rental Prices

Typical Rental Prices in Expat-Friendly Areas in Malaysia

Malaysia, known for its cultural diversity, natural beauty, and economic opportunities, is a popular destination for expatriates. The cost of renting a property in Malaysia can vary significantly depending on the location, property type, and amenities. Here, we will explore typical rental prices in areas popular with expats:

Kuala Lumpur: As the capital and largest city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur offers a wide range of housing options for expatriates. Rental prices in Kuala Lumpur can vary greatly depending on the neighborhood. In the city center or affluent areas like Bukit Bintang, expats can expect to pay higher rents. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center may cost between RM2,500 to RM4,000 per month, while similar properties in the suburbs can be more affordable, ranging from RM1,500 to RM2,500.

Penang: Penang Island, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Orient,” is a popular destination for expatriates due to its rich history and vibrant culture. Rental prices on Penang Island tend to be lower than in Kuala Lumpur. A one-bedroom apartment on Penang Island can range from RM1,200 to RM2,500 per month, depending on the location and property features.

Johor Bahru: Located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Johor Bahru is known for its proximity to Singapore and lower cost of living. Rental prices in Johor Bahru are generally more affordable compared to Kuala Lumpur. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center may cost between RM1,000 to RM2,000 per month.

Kota Kinabalu: Situated in Sabah on the island of Borneo, Kota Kinabalu offers expatriates a unique blend of urban living and natural beauty. Rental prices in Kota Kinabalu can vary, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city center typically ranging from RM1,200 to RM2,500 per month.

It’s important to note that rental prices in Malaysia can fluctuate based on factors such as the property’s condition, furnishings, and local market conditions. Additionally, landlords may offer furnished or unfurnished properties, which can affect the rental rate.

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Rental Caps and Regulations in Malaysia

Malaysia does not have strict nationwide rental caps. Rental prices are generally determined by market forces, demand, and negotiations between landlords and tenants. However, there are some key rental regulations and practices in Malaysia that expatriates should be aware of:

  • Security Deposits: It is customary for landlords in Malaysia to request a security deposit from tenants. The standard security deposit typically amounts to two months’ rent. This deposit is held by the landlord as protection against unpaid rent or damages to the property.
  • Rent Increases: Rental increases are typically subject to negotiation between landlords and tenants. While there are no fixed rental caps, tenants have the right to contest rent increases if they believe the proposed increase is unreasonable.
  • Rental Agreements: Rental agreements in Malaysia should be in writing and cover essential terms and conditions. These agreements typically include details such as the rent amount, payment schedule, responsibilities of both parties, and the duration of the lease.

While Malaysia does not impose strict rental caps, tenants and landlords should familiarize themselves with the relevant laws and regulations governing tenancies to ensure a fair and transparent rental process.

Deposit Requirements and Rules for Return

When renting a property in Malaysia, tenants are usually required to pay a security deposit to the landlord. The standard security deposit typically amounts to two months’ rent. Here are some important considerations regarding security deposits in Malaysia:

  • Deposit Protection: Landlords are required by law to place tenants’ security deposits in a dedicated bank account. This practice ensures that the deposit is protected and can be returned to the tenant, along with any interest earned, at the end of the tenancy.
  • Property Inspection: It is recommended that both landlords and tenants conduct a thorough inspection of the property at the beginning and end of the tenancy. Any damages or discrepancies should be documented during these inspections to avoid disputes during the deposit return process.
  • Deposit Return: Landlords must return the security deposit to the tenant within 14 days after the tenancy ends. Deductions from the deposit may be made for unpaid rent, repair costs for damages beyond normal wear and tear, or cleaning expenses, provided these deductions are justified and documented.

Tenants should keep copies of the rental agreement and records of payments, as well as document the property’s condition at the beginning of the lease. This documentation can be valuable in case of any disputes during the deposit return process.

Seasonal Variations in Rental Prices

Rental prices in Malaysia typically remain relatively stable throughout the year. Unlike some countries where seasonal variations can significantly impact rental rates, Malaysia’s rental market tends to be less influenced by seasonal factors.

However, there are some minor considerations that may affect rental demand and prices at certain times of the year:

  • Festivals and Holidays: During major festivals and holidays, such as Chinese New Year or Hari Raya Aidilfitri, there may be a temporary decrease in rental demand as people travel to their hometowns to celebrate with family. This can lead to short-term reductions in rental prices in some areas.
  • Tourist Seasons: In popular tourist destinations like Penang or Langkawi, rental prices for short-term vacation rentals may experience fluctuations based on tourist seasons. High tourist season can lead to increased demand and higher prices for vacation rentals.
  • Academic Calendar: In areas with universities or international schools, rental demand may experience fluctuations at the beginning and end of the academic year. Expatriate families often seek accommodation before the school year starts, which may lead to increased demand in late summer.

Generally, rental prices in Malaysia remain relatively stable throughout the year. However, individual property owners may adjust their rates based on market conditions and tenant demand.

It’s worth noting that while seasonal variations may have some impact on rental demand, the overall stability of the rental market in Malaysia makes it an attractive destination for expatriates seeking long-term accommodation.


In Malaysia, expatriates have a range of housing options in various neighborhoods, each with its own rental price range. While there are no strict rental caps in Malaysia, rental regulations exist to ensure fairness and protect the rights of landlords and tenants.

Typically, tenants are required to pay a security deposit, which should be returned to them within 14 days after the tenancy ends, minus any legitimate deductions. Rental prices in Malaysia do not experience significant seasonal variations, but factors like festivals, tourist seasons, and academic calendars may influence demand and prices slightly.

As rental market conditions may change over time, expatriates seeking rental properties in Malaysia should stay informed about the latest developments and consult with local real estate experts or property management companies for up-to-date information on rental prices and regulations in specific areas.

Rental regulations and market conditions may evolve, so it is essential to verify the latest information from reliable sources before making any rental decisions in Malaysia.