SINGAPORE HOUSING TERMS
I have been browsing your web site, as I may be coming to live in
Singapore soon. Please can you confirm what 3+1, 4+1 etc means in your
listings Also when you say $4,000 p/f what does the p/f mean ? Is it per
month excluding utilities ?
Email reply from judy.
UTILITY BILLS are excluded in the rental.
2. "3+1". WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
It means 3 bedrooms plus 1 maid's room (can be a utility room if it is too
small to be a maid's room).
Example: The Costa Rhu Condo has 2 types of 2-bedroom condos. The 980 sq.
ft ones do not have the "+1" while the 1335 sq. ft has it. If you have a
maid, there may be a problem if the condo does not have "+1" as maids
usually live in the maid's or utility room (sufficient for one bed).
3. PARTIALLY FURNISHED. In
brief, partially furnished means the Tenant gets curtains, lighting, air
conditioning, washer, fridge, microwave or conventional oven. Fully
furnished includes beds, living and dining sets.
There are variations in the inventory between partially and fully
furnished and much depends on negotiations.
Example: $5,000 p/f refers to monthly rental of $5,000/month, partially
furnished. The industry's meaning of "partially furnished".
1. Lighting to all rooms. Ceiling lights.
Make sure that the utility room or utility area has lighting.
2. Curtains to all rooms. Expats
need to clarify that the Landlord provides 2 sets of curtains - day and
night curtains. Sometimes, only one set is installed.
For new Landlords, Asia USA recommends as follows:
Day and night curtain sets are usually recommended for Caucasians and
Japanese. Install the translucent plain white set (without
fanciful coloured flowers which actually cost more) and the pastel
coloured set (light brown will be best).
Sometimes the Landlords adds a sun block backing to block out sunlight for
condos facing west. One complaint is that the pastel coloured
curtains are too thin, such that sunlight comes into the room early
morning when the expat is sleeping. These are usually cheaper thin
A most common mistake of Landlords is to
install deep blue, green, orange, pink or grey coloured floral curtains
which make the room look blue, green, orange and pink or grey. Some
Landlords install fanciful flowery curtains which are not pleasing to the
eye of many Caucasians.
"Pastel colour" refers to a lighter shade of colours. A light brown
curtain to match the marble floor will be the best choice.
3. Air-conditioning to all rooms (except
the maid's and the kitchen). Usually the Developer of new condos provides
air conditioning to all rooms. However, newcomer expatriates and realtors
must be observant. For example, the developers of the Melville Park Condo
in Changi does not provide air-conditioning in the living
and dining room. Those who install find it easier to attract Tenants.
Sometimes the newcomer overlooks this missing item in Melville Park as the
rooms do have air conditioners and then it is too late once the tenancy
agreement is signed.
4. Refrigerator. Here, the expat must
state that the fridge should be family-sized otherwise he may get a small
one as some Landlords of brand new condos try to save on expenses and buy
the smallest fridge. It is penny wise pound foolish but first-time
Landlords may not be aware of this.
5. Washing Machine. There are 2 main
types. Top loading and front loading. Japanese prefer the Japanese top
loading. Europeans are used to the front loading European brands (6 kg
loading will do) but many American wives want the big American brands
which can load over 10 kg of laundry.
6. Dryer. Usually not considered in
partially furnished apartments. You will have to negotiate for one.
7. Washing Machine-cum-Dryer.
In one or 2-bedroom condos, the space in the utility room is so small that
a combined machine is the only option. Sometimes, in small units, it is
possible to stack on top of each other separate washing machine and
separate dryer but it costs the Landlord more. Expats need to
check properly as once the tenancy agreement is signed, there should be no
request for a separate washer and dryer.
8. Dish washer. This is
not the industry's practice to provide one. Some upscale condos have
dishwashers e.g. Balmoral Residences and Nassim Woods. Caucasians,
especially American expats may negotiate for a dish washer. There may not
be space to install the dish washing machine in the smaller new condos and
they are kept in the kitchen e.g. Duchess Crest, Riverside 48 or in the
utility area as in Pebble Bay 3-bedroom condos. Or there are small desktop
models available. Do consider the plumbing aspect too.
9. Conventional oven. This may be absent
in many new condos. Expats have to be observant as some Developers do not
provide one. The Tanglin Regency in Tanglin Road does not have one. Many
Caucasian and Japanese wives do appreciate the oven for baking. However,
many Tenants do not regularly clean the oil after cooking and at the
expiry of lease, the oven is in a big oily mess.
10. Microwave Oven. This
item is not usually provided unless asked for. Most Landlords will oblige.
Get one of sufficient size to roast a turkey? Single expats and couples
without children appreciate having one. Some condos usually have built-in
microwave ovens, e.g. Pebble Bay. Nowadays, there is the combined
microwave cum conventional oven to be placed on the top of the dining
counter as some developers do not ovens at all.
11. Wardrobes to all rooms. This is often
overlooked by the new Expats and then it is too late after the lease has
been signed. In brand new condos like the Tanglin Regency, the Developer
does not provide wardrobe in the 2nd bedroom and this can be easily
overlooked in a 2-bedroom 710 sq. ft apartment. In black and white
bungalows, some rooms don't have wardrobes ('closets' equal to wardrobes
Many new 3-storey houses in the vicinity of the American School e.g.
Oakwood Grove and Pinewood Grove, do not provide wardrobes to all
bedrooms. Some Landlords provide real classy built-in wardrobes; some buy
off the rack. Much depends on how alert the Tenant is and on negotiations.
12. Barbecue set. This
item is definitely not provided. This costs over S$1,500 for a decent
American-sized type although in the US, it costs Probably US$300 (S$500).
Again, the expat can always ask for one and there may be one Landlord who
may be willing to provide one.
For condos, check out the balcony size if you are bringing your own set.
For example, the balconies of the Spring Grove Condo are so small that
once you put your set in, you may have to barbecue from the living room!
For Nassim Woods, the balcony is big
enough for the BBQ set and one or 2 persons. It has electrical supply to
the BBQ set.
13. Television is not included but many Landlords may not
mind providing one on request. A 29-inch TV costs around S$1,000.
14. Video-cassette recorders
are not included but you may negotiate for one.
15. Hi-fi systems are
out but you may negotiate for one.
16. Living and dining sets, beds
and mattresses are definitely out, if we are talking about a
partially furnished place. Sometimes, the Landlord may provide one bed.
17. Gas cooker hob and hood
usually present in all housing. Electric hobs are rarely
installed except in Nassim Woods and Riverside 48 condos. It is more
economical to use gas. Piped gas may be present in the new condos or
cylinder gas are available in some condos.
18. Utilities bills are not included in the rental
generally. Neither are cable and television licenses or car parking fees
(UE Square Condos for example does charge S$110/month for car parking but
most condos do not levy any fee).
19. Water heaters to the kitchen and/or bathrooms.
This is not included under "partially furnished" and Caucasian expats who
are used to having hot water to wash the dishes must check out whether
there is a hot water heater for the kitchen.
Much depends on negotiations and a good
realtor. I hope this report provides the info you require. Please let me
know the name of your hotel and if possible, 2 days in advance to inspect
rental housing. My mobile tel: +65 9668 6468 which may be busy. Office:
(65) 6254 2728, 6254 3326.