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Malaysia - Renting Property
Expats should prepare themselves before deciding to live in Malaysia, as there are immigration and labor laws to consider. It is relatively easy to get a 90-day tourist pass, though. If that is what you decide to do, you can get a short-term rental in a city, or in a small rural town. There are positives and negatives of both options to consider, but a bit of preparatory research can help you make the right decision for your situation.
Rent is typically less expensive than it is in the United States or United Kingdom. Prices you can expect range between 1000 Malaysian Ringgit ($226) to 10,000 ($2265) Ringgit per month, depending on space, amenities, and location. Rural rental properties may be cheaper, but transportation options are not as varied as they are in cities. Public transportation is great in Malaysian cities, with buses and trains running frequently.
Most leases are for one or two years, with some short-term leases available for 3 months or 6 months. A renter can expect to pay more per month on a shorter lease, but as mentioned before, a short term lease may be the only option you have depending on what sort of visa you can obtain.
Expats should have someone they trust help them with the lease contract and make sure there are no misunderstandings as to what the landlord and tenant’s responsibilities are in regards to the rental property. All lease agreements have exit clauses as well, which need to be considered if an expat may be in danger of losing a work permit, or something happens which means you can no longer stay in Malaysia. An inventory card is drawn up and details the condition of the property. It is important to list any problems in detail so the renter will not have culpability for those problems when the lease expires. If the renter doesn’t feel comfortable with committing to the entire duration of the lease, they can request that a termination clause gets written into the rental contract.
Expats should also be aware that a potential landlord will probably request a copy of a visa and work authorization. Without those documents, or if they are set to expire before the termination of the lease, you may be denied approval. If you have a 90 day tourist pass, you will probably have luck with a short-term lease, but you will have to pay more since short-term leases always include furnishings.
As mentioned before, the monthly rent for short-term rentals is always more expensive. A positive of having a short-term lease is that the units come furnished. Be sure to note the condition of the furnishings when moving into the unit, so that you are not found financially responsible for damages that were already there.
A deposit is always required for the rent and sometimes the utilities. Renters should be prepared to pay two and a half months’ rent on top of your first month’s rent. Typically, renters are expected to pay their first month’s rent as soon as they sign a lease, then the remaining two and a half months’ rent within seven days of signing the lease. There is also a notary fee involved with the signing of a lease, and this is based off of a percentage of the annual rent. The landlord pays all estate fees related to the property.
Utilities are paid by the renter, but they usually remain in the landlord’s name. The deposit for the utilities is included in the two and a half months’ deposit that is required up front. Monthly utility charges are usually billed separately from the rent.
Some landlords are reluctant to return the deposit. Keeping an open line of communication with your landlord may help with this, and it is also advisable to invite the landlord to inspect the unit before you are scheduled to vacate to see if there are any damages incurred. If you feel the landlord is being unreasonable, it is possible to enlist the help of a real estate agent.
Furnished rental properties will usually include all furniture and appliances. Beds, sofas, wardrobes, dining tables, and kitchen appliances are included with furnished rental homes. Depending on the location, there may or may not be a washing machine connection. If there is, chances are there will be a washing machine in the unit as well.
Partially furnished typically means that the property will come with some utilities, like a built-in wardrobe, kitchen appliances, and kitchen cabinets. This is the most economic and convenient of the lease options, but be sure to inspect the unit and confirm with the landlord that what you see will still be in the unit when you actually move in.
Unfurnished properties vary in what is supplied, which is why the inventory card is so important. In a lot of cases, unfurnished really means completely empty. Some unfurnished properties will have some kitchen and cleaning appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, and washing machines but it is best to check before signing a rental agreement.