Costs Associated with Renting a Property

Information about other costs that may occur when renting a flat or house in Hong Kong...

Apart from the agency fees (if applicable) and security deposit, there are a number of other costs involved. Also, if the rent is an exclusive one, management fees and government rates need to be paid.

Agency fees and security deposit

An agent or broker will usually charge one month's rent for a successful property search. This cost may be shared between landlord and tenant. A security deposit is two or three months rent but may be higher. Also, a month's rent will need to be paid in advance.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is payable to the government on the signing of the lease and generally calculated as a percentage of the annual rent. This charge is shared equally by the landlord and the tenant. Leasing contracts need to be stamped within 30 days in order to be recognised by the court of law. Tenancy agreements that are not stamped may not be accepted in the event of civil proceedings.

Government rates

These are a form of property tax levied quarterly by the government. Rates are due on occupation of the property and are paid as 5.5 percent of the "rateable value" of the property. This works out at about the equivalent to one month's rent. The rates are broken down into monthly figures, although it is charged quarterly. Although rates can be paid as a separate bill, they are usually built into the rental price.

Management fees

These are paid to the building's management company and cover electricity and lighting costs in public areas, cleaning services, security staff and the maintenance of lifts. In general, these are between five and ten percent of the monthly rental.

Insurance

The landlord will insure the apartment, but tenants are recommended to take out contents insurance in case of fire, theft, typhoons, burst water pipes and so on.