Short Term and Temporary Accommodation

How to find serviced apartments, corporate lets and apart-hotels in Singapore. What to look for, what to ask and what is included in the package...

Temporary housing accommodates workers for stays shorter than two years (the typical length of a rental lease in Singapore), or those who are moving to Singapore for longer but have not yet found their permanent property.

As with hotels, rules vary according to property. Typically children are welcome, although sometimes special equipment cannot be provided (such as baby cots, etc). Pets are subject to the individual serviced apartment’s policy. If they are accepted they will be the tenant's responsibility.

Booking is available online, usually directly through property websites.

There are two main types of temporary accommodation in Singapore:
• Branded serviced apartments – like apart-hotels (an entire building offering accommodation) with 24-hour reception, a full set of amenities, and stay durations as short as one week.
• Corporate housing – fully furnished apartments with a limited range of services, often in private residences.

Length of stay, type of lease
Both serviced apartments and corporate housing are a short-term alternative to the traditional two-year rental lease in Singapore. Minimum stays are from seven days with no maximum stay, and most serviced housing operators will offer a regular tenancy agreement very similar to what you would have to sign for a long-term property lease. The average stay tends to be a minimum of one month in serviced apartments, four months in corporate housing.

Note that private residential properties or the rooms within their premises should not be rented out on a short-term basis (daily/weekly/monthly) for less than six continuous months. New laws implemented on Feb 6 2017 make this explicitly illegal, effectively banning the use of peer-to-peer accommodation booking systems like Airbnb, Roomoramma, Homestay or similar. Breaking this law can incur a $S200,000 fine or a jail sentence.

Cost comparisons
• Rental prices for temporary accommodation can cost around 50 per cent more than a typical 2 year rental lease and offer services not included in a standard rental: the cost of utilities, housekeeping, maintenance, WiFi and cable TV
• Discounts can often be organised for longer stays, depending on the time of the year and availability and company policy
• Parking is usually available, and costs will also vary according to the serviced accommodation

The finer details:
• Generally the number of keys issued corresponds to the number of bedrooms so if a minor child has a bedroom of their own they will also receive a key. All keys are issued to the main resident and it is his or her responsibility to distribute the keys and ensure they are not lost. It is usually possible to duplicate keys at an extra cost although this policy varies from property to property
• In the case of damages or loss caused by tenants: minor damages are usually not charged (typically when the cost is not more than 50SGD). Beyond this limit clients are usually charged for damage or loss they have caused.
• If a tenant's belongings go missing from their apartment all efforts are made to retrieve the missing property through official channels. Note, though, that as with hotels and most serviced apartments, safe boxes are not always provided.
• The address of a short-term let is valid if the tenant needs a local address to register with government departments

Further reading

Some of the information on this page was kindly provided by Delphne Giron Le Martin of LMB Housing Services