How changing rental market is affecting the...property agent, tenant, landlord

PHOTO: How changing rental market is affecting the...property agent, tenant, landlord

SINGAPORE - PROPERTY AGENT

The rental market has been slow for the past nine months, said property agent Jass Tan.

The problem is dealing with unrealistic landlords and picky tenants. It also does not help that there has been a flood of recently completed units available on the market.

"Tenants will always want to choose the new ones. Many units in District 11 (Bukit Timah, Newton and Novena) have been empty for the past six months," said the senior vice-president at Remax Singapore.

Ms Tan said landlords who own properties with a mid-range rental of about $3,500 are more willing to compromise because they have less holding power. The average discount being offered is between $300 and $500.

But rental prices at the prestigious areas such as districts 5, 9 and 10 are more resistant.

She has listings at prime properties such as Reflections@Keppel Bay, Caribbean@Keppel Bay and Sentosa Cove. Landlords in these properties are not willing to budge.

"It is also about expectations. They have a good location and they wait for good tenants," said Ms Tan, adding that this does not stop potential tenants from trying.

But on the flip side, this drives potential tenants to other properties. This year, Ms Tan lost a tenant who found a Jalan Kayu bungalow whose owner cut the rent from $13,000 to $8,000.

TENANT

Canadian Scott Moore has had his fair share of nasty experiences when it comes to renting.

The 24-year-old headhunter has been living in Singapore for more than a year.

His first rental was a room in a three-room flat last September. It was 10 minutes' walk from Outram Park MRT station. He had secured the place through a housing agent and lived there for six months.

The landlord initially asked for $1,000, but Mr Moore managed to bargain it down to $880.

However, the bargain was not worth it. The agent had failed to tell him that he had six other housemates in the apartment. The condition of the flat was another problem.

"It was rundown and dirty. I did not have my bathroom and the one that was available was not that nice," he said, adding that he has a good deal now.

Mr Moore, who works in the CBD area, is now living in an executive flat at Farrer Park, where he is paying $1,000 a month for the master bedroom.

Checks on property websites showed that a similar room in the area would cost at least $1,200. "I found this place through a friend and found the price lower than most options," he said.

Price aside, he finds it a challenge to rent because of the many rules set by the landlords . "It's very time-consuming to find a place and I try not to go through an agent. "

LANDLORD

Mr KY Tan owns an apartment in Katong and has been renting it out for the last five years.

He initially limited tenancy to one year. "That way, I could increase rent by 10 per cent every year," he said.

In 2010, rent for the 1,700 sq ft unit was $4,500. But he has been forced to offer a discount to keep his tenants.

"Last year, I extended the lease to two years. I now charge $3,500."

After deducting property tax for renting out his unit and maintenance charges, he makes about $2,000 a month.

"I'm just happy I have a tenant. I could have ended up with bills and an empty unit," he added.


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