Accommodation in Shanghai

Rent house or flat in Shanghai

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Rented apartments in Shanghai are generally well equipped and are often offered fully furnished. Furnishings normally include television, stereo system and kitchen appliances. The majority of expatriate apartments will have a telephone line installed and ISDN or ADSL can be requested.

The cost of renting a furnished apartment in Shanghai is between 7,000 and 10,000 RMB per month, dependant upon the quality of the apartment. Serviced properties can cost considerably more. Villa rental prices in purpose built expat complexes vary from 20000 to over 50000 RMB per month, whereas old houses often cost in excess of 60000 RMB per month.

Flat sharing is becoming increasingly popular in Shanghai. To share a good-quality apartment, you can expect to pay in the region of 2000 - 3000 RMB per month. English language newspapers and on-line forums carry advertisements from people seeking flat sharing partners.

The Lease

Most apartments in Shanghai are rented under the terms of a one year lease, although it is sometimes possible to find an apartment to rent for a six month period. Longer leases, of two to three years are sometimes offered and these can be tailored to include one year 'fixed' with a further year or two of optional tenancy. The terms of the lease will be written in both Chinese and English, although under Chinese law, it is the Chinese version that will be used in the event of any legal dispute. It is usually possible to request that your lease includes the 'diplomatic clause', allowing you to end the agreement after a set period in the case of unforseen changes to your circumstances, such as being recalled to your home country.

Landlords will ask for a deposit of between one and three months' rent as security against any damage that you may cause to the property. The deposit should be refunded once you have returned the property in good condition and settled any outstanding utility bills. The rent for the property is paid in advance, directly into the landlord's bank account, on either a monthly or a quarterly basis. The landlord pays a 5% tax on the rental income and should issue you with a receipt called a 'fapiao'. If your employer claims tax deductions in China for some or all of the cost of your accommodation, you will be asked to provide them with this receipt as evidence of the rent paid.

The landlord must take out buildings insurance for the property, but it will be your responsibility to take out a contents insurance policy for your personal belongings, if you require one. If you rent a high end property, for example in a complex of serviced apartments or villas, the management fees, fitness club membership and utilities are included in the rental amount.

As soon as you move in, your landlord should register you with the local police, for which they will need a copy of your passport. If your landlord is not willing to register you, you should go to your local police station yourself, within 30 days of moving into your rented property and present your passport and lease agreement. Failure to register with the police within this timeframe will result in a hefty fine, which increases each day.

As with rental contracts the world over, a standard clause will be included stipulating that the property must be kept in good condition and you will be responsible for the cost of any degradation not attributable to normal wear and tear. If you rent a furnished apartment, it will be equipped with a range of goods, usually of a high standard. An inventory will be prepared when you move into the property and included as an appendix to the contract. At this time, you should also read the water and electricity meters. The inventory will be checked when you leave the property and any damaged or lost items will be replaced at your expense.

Update 11/09/2006


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