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Tuesday, October 3, 2023


A netizen said that she has been looking for a unit for rental at the moment and was told by one of her agents that the landlord prefers foreigners.


Here is what she said

rental : why do landlords prefer foreigners?

am looking for a studio/unit for rental recently. understood that the markets are pretty hot right now, offered quite a few places but none reverted.

then today one of the agents reply me saying that the landlord prefers foreigners ??? but why though … I just want to understand what is wrong with Singaporeans renting apts? I have been looking for a good few weeks

Netizens’ explanations

  • As a landlord, what matters most is how much I can lease for my property (which I am most likely still paying for) while keeping maintenance and repair costs to a minimum. Hence there is always the challenge of finding a tenant who is polite, considerate, and mostly respectful enough to safe-keep the property on your behalf at a reasonable price.
    It is unfortunate but there are certain demographics that simply do not see the transaction as such, and instead have the mentality that “if I’m paying = I’m boss and I can do whatever I want”. Which is why over decades, people have developed distaste over certain stereotypes.
    Landlords are not any better. I would say the older generation of landlords are far less forgiving and more penny pinching especially when it comes to maintenance. They really expect the tenant to rent for 2 years and handover in better condition than before, for their own benefit. Typical “you scratch my car so now I can fix everything at one go on your dime” mentality.
    I can’t speak for other landlords but for my husband and I we have a highest-bidder-wins policy, and if we make the effort to handover nicely to you, please do the bare minimum stated in the contract.
    Also, you didn’t hear it from me but some people dislike dealing with Singaporeans because 1. They expect local price 2. Haggle and complain too much and 3. Know the market too well and unable to make a higher profit.
  • Locals don’t rent for long and are less likely to renew their leases. This means that the landlord has to look for new tenants once the lease for the current local tenant is over.
    In a bad market, this could mean the house is left empty and not generating income for the landlord while the landlord is looking for tenants.
    The landlord or his agent also has to go through the hassle of inspecting the apartment for damages and fixing things after the lease is over.
    Foreigners, especially expats, tend to stay longer and renew their leases. So, there is less downtime with them.
  • My agent’s explanation:
    If Singaporeans can’t buy their own property and have to rent, it is quite a question mark.
    If they rent to move out of family home, is something to question why.
    If they rent because they are not eligible for HDB (e.g. unmarried couple), then what happens to lease should they part ways.
    They are Singaporean and nothing much to lose other than Security deposit. Foreigners may want to be more law abiding (or rather abiding to lease terms ) and focus on their main reason being in SG.
    Singaporeans are more familiar with local situation and they know they can be pretty much untouched (e.g. they know the threshold before authorities intervene).
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