Part 1 - Finding a Property

Welcome to the first of our 5 Part series “What is the process of Renting for Tenants in Macau?”

In this series over the next 5 weeks we will cover

  1. Finding a Property
  2. Securing the Apartment
  3. The Process of Moving in.
  4. The First Week in Your Property
  5. On Going Living and Termination

Finding a great property to rent is a major headache for all Macau newcomers.

There are so many different elements that determine what makes a property ‘great’.

Everyone looking for a rental property has a different set of priorities, so the clearer you are on what is important to you, the easier it will be to find a great property to rent.

The first priority for every tenant before they go house hunting is to make a list of what is important and what isn’t.

For example, most people are happy to rent a furnished apartment rather than invest money in furnishings themselves.

Again, if you don't plan to buy a car and prefer to rely on public transportation, being close to an area where you can catch a bus or a taxi is a top priority.

You might need to find an apartment that takes pets if you have a cat or a dog. In Macau as well as many cities around the world, that one requirement instantly eliminates more than half of all apartments.

Deciding what is most important can be almost impossible for some of us, especially if there is more than one person involved and each has their own wants and needs.

As difficult as it is, prioritizing what you want in your rental apartment will make finding one you’re satisfied with much easier.

Another effective way of finding a great property to rent is to ask friends and colleagues about the places that they already live in. Be careful with this though, they will tend to exaggerate the good points in order to justify living there.

If you’re looking to rent an apartment in a new building, don’t be afraid ask around to see if anyone else knows the property, the schools and parents are a good source of information for this.

Most people are very happy to share their thoughts on this, and many other subjects.

Obviously you also have Internet and can conduct research on a certain building or apartment development.

Bear in mind that no matter how respected or well managed something is, there are always negative views and comments some people who just did not enjoy their experience. It may have as much to do with the person as the property.

We suggest that you make a master list of questions and priorities the night before you see the property so that you avoid signing a contract and then end up regretting it a week later.

A Tenancy Agreement is a legal contract, and it is not something to be entered into lightly.

We also suggest using http://www.jmlproperty.com as a good place to start searching of course.

Make sure you have done your homework, and hopefully you’ll find a great property to rent in no time

Part 2 - Securing Your Apartment

Welcome to Part 2 of our Process for Renting for Tenants.

Last week we discussed how to find a property. This week we look at what you have to do to make it yours;

The process is broken into 3 sections:

  1. Fees
  2. Deposits
  3. Documentation

If you have used an agent to find the property and accompany you on viewings, you will have an agency fee to pay prior moving in to the apartment.

In most cases the agency fee is the equivalent of 1 month’s rent. Some agencies charge more, and you may find ‘discount’ agents eager to close a deal that will consider a lower fee, but most credible full service agents will charge the 1 month fee.

In some cases you may need to contribute to a small Building Management Fee to get the communal areas cleaned and maintained. In the larger buildings with a dedicated Building Management Team, this is usually covered in the rent and paid by the owner. However in older buildings, it may simply be a case of sharing the payment for someone to sweep the stairs.

2 month’s Security Deposit is normal when renting an apartment. To secure and hold the apartment for a short period of time, you would usually pay 1 month’s deposit immediately. The second half of the deposit can be paid later to make up the 2 months security deposit.

You will also be required to pay the current months rent in advance. For some owners this means a whole month, and for others the remaining part of the month (from the move in date to the end of the month).

Combined with the fee outlined above, securing an apartment will require the equivalent of 4 months’ rent. You will not be handed the keys of the apartment or allowed access until all of these fees are paid and the correct documentation process is completed.

A point to note is that if you return the apartment in the same condition in which you entered, the 2-month Security Deposit should be returned to you.

There are two types of documentation in these transactions. Firstly the documentation you need to PROVIDE as a tenant and secondly the documentation you need to SIGN.

  1. Fees:

  2. Deposits:

  3. Documentation:

Documentation to Provide:

 

Documentation to Sign:

  • Copy of your passport or Macau ID
  • A copy of your Employment Contract or Letter Confirming Employment
  • A copy of your Blue Card or Blue Card Receipt
  • Sometimes references are requested
  • 3 Copies of the Tenancy Agreement

There is also a third category. This is Documentation to receive such as copies of invoices, and of course do make sure you are given a receipt for any monies handed over to an agent or Landlord directly.

Part 3 - The Process of Moving In

Welcome back to our 5 part article about the renting process for tenants.

Hopefully you read last weeks article about securing the apartment. Once you have paid all deposits, fees and rental as outlined in last weeks article, the process of moving should be fairly straight forward.

Firstly you should receive a copy of the sign tenancy agreement, and this can be kept in a safe place for future reference.

At JML you also receive a welcome letter giving useful information and tips for living in Macau.

For example; ‘How to cope with Humidity’ and ‘How to cope with an Insect Invasion’.

On the contract the utility readings should have already been entered for you. As soon as you arrive at the property do double check these are the same or very similar to prevent any future disputes or incorrect payments.

If there is a problem with the utility readings you should raise this with your Property Agent immediately. Modern technology can be handy, taking a photo on your phone can be very useful.

On move in day you can follow the check-in process set out by your Landlord or their Property

Agent for the hand over of the apartment to you.

Usual practice is to walk around with the Landlords representative and sign it immediately upon moving in.

At JML the move in process is handled in a different way to other agencies.

Clients come to our office to receive the apartment keys so that they can move in at their own pace with minimum stress and hassle.

They also receive a copy of the apartment inventory to check, agree or raise any issues with and sign.

JML’s policy is to give you 7 days in your own time to review the inventory and settle in. During this 7 days you can raise any queries on the inventory for resolution. For example a marked wall or missing cutlery. The inventory can then be altered or notes made on it as necessary.

In part 4 of this series we will look at Your First Week in Your New Property.

Part 4 - The First Week In Your Property

Welcome back to the fourth part of our five part article about the renting process for tenants.

Hopefully you will have read last weeks article about the process of ‘Moving In’.

So what is special about the first week in the new apartment?

We find that during this period there are four specific phases that tenants go through

  1. Matching the reality with your expectations?
  2. Becoming aware of things your wouldn’t spot during a visit
  3. Confirm the inventory
  4. Snagging

Is the vision that we hold in our mind’s eye of the apartment when we last saw it consistent with the new home ?

The excitement of moving in can sometimes have the shine taken off it the moment we open the door to our new place, because it does not look the same as when we were viewing it.

The previous tenants have moved out and removed their “homely and personal” touches which may have transformed the place

Another issue may be that you discover it is not as clean as you thought it would be as the during the move out the previous tenants may have created a lot of dust and not have cleaned thoroughly as you would have liked.

Also with out all the personal objects to draw your eye you might notice more marks and stains.

When you viewed your apartment did you inspect some of the hidden things? Or things that are not so obvious?

For example did you check the mattresses, look closely at the tiles in the shower to see if they are clean and free from mould or try to flush the toilet to see how well it worked?

Most people do not ‘check’ such items as they don’t wish to be impolite.

You may also be come aware of noise from other apartments which you are not used to or smells coming from the building, drains or other people’s cooking.

During the first week you really get a chance to make sure the inventory you are signing is correct and report anything for correction.

This includes meter readings of course, and we suggest that you go through the inventory on a ‘room by room’ basis as soon as you can after moving in

If you notice marks and defects you should report them straight away to the managing agent or landlord.

This is important so that you do not get the blame for the damage. For example if the vacuum cleaner is not working, you may not know about the problem this until you live there.

If there are items missing such as cutlery, this should also be reported as missing immediately.

  1. Match reality and your expectations.

     

  2. Becoming aware of things your wouldn’t spot during a visit

     

  3. Finalise the inventory & readings

     

  4. Snagging

     

Part 5 - On Going Living and Termination

Welcome to the final part of our five part series on the rental process for tenants. This final installment is called “Ongoing Living and Termination”.

Once you have spent the first few weeks in your new apartment and are nicely settled, it is important to ensure that you take responsibility for the ongoing upkeep and condition of the apartment. Whilst the landlord is responsible for structural issues you need to check your contract for who is responsible for minor maintenance issues.

There are really only 4 key areas for a tenant to focus on

  1. Keep it Clean
  2. Keep it Dry
  3. Take care of the apartment
  4. Pay your bills

This will minimize the chance of having an insect infestation such as beetles or cockroaches.

To help with this you should keep all food stuffs in tightly sealed containers.

Keeping the place clean will also keep it smelling as good as possible.

Keeping and area dry will keep mould at bay.

During humid times of year your best bet is to use a dehumidifier and air conditioner to dry the air.

If you do find mould starting to appear, treat it straight away. You can do this by cleaning it with a solution of water and white vinegar and making sure the area is dry.

Make sure that you take responsibility for anything damage, even by accident and repair it.

Rectify any damage you or your family cause and keep the receipts and if you feel it is right let the landlord know.

It is also a good idea to make sure that the air conditioners are serviced once a year and the filters in them cleaned regularly.

Also making sure that the windows get cleaned once a year on the outside is a good idea as it brightens up the apartment and lets in the light.

Make sure that you pay your bills on time and pay your final bills before check out. If you don’t you will lose part of your deposit and could face problems with the utility companies.

  1. Keep it clean

  2. Keep it Dry

  3. Take care of the apartment

  4. Pay your bills

Giving notice

If you are intending to vacate the property ensure that you give the landlord the appropriate notice which under Macau Law is 90 days. Also check your contract for any requirements.

Do not be tempted to use your deposit to pay the final months rent as this is in contravention of contracts and Macau law.

Once you have given notice your agent or landlord will arrange a check out and inspection with you and return the appropriate amount of deposit to you.

If you would like to know more about how JML support tenants in their Managed properties please do contact us.