Renting apartment in Beijing Ⅱ

There is no shortage of ways to look for accommodation in Beijing. You could ask a friend for help, search on home rental websites, turn to a real estate agency, or even knock on some doors to ask for apartment rental.

The Internet

The internet is replete with Beijing apartment rental websites. They are great ways to quickly find available homes in your favorite areas. Some popular apartment rental websites include:

GreenPathRealty.com: an English website listing high-end apartments and villas.Beijing.Asiaxpatcom: English website, listing all types of apartments from low-end to upper scale. It also features classifieds for roommates.

RentNet.com.cn: English website, listing available apartments by location. Also offers useful tips on renting, finding movers, and setting up utilities.

WuWoo.com: a cool website with daily updates on residential leasing properties.

Beijing.CraigsList.org: same layout and procedure as Craigslist elsewhere.

Beijing.Sublet.com: rental apartments by location with apartment photos and map for easy navigation. In English.

BJ.58.com/zufang: Chinese-language classifieds with rental housing information from landlords and real estate agencies. Also a great place to find a Chinese roommate.

Real estate agencies

Real estate agents charge a commission based on rent. A good agent can help you with everything from assessing your needs and shuttling you between properties of your interest to negotiating with the landlord and helping you move in without incident.

Beijing is dotted with real estate agencies. Below are a few with high tenant approval.

1.  International agencies

  • Century 21

A large, worldwide company with 60 branches all around Beijing.

Address: 1725 Hanwei Plaza, 7 Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang District

Tel: 65617788

  • Cushman & Wakefield

An international agency providing service for corporate and high-end clients.

Address: 2/F West C1 Building, Huitong Office Park, 71 Jianguo Lu, Chaoyang District

Tel: 59210808

  • Knight Frank Petty

A global agency serving high-end corporate and individual clients.

Address: 302 E1, Oriental Plaza, 1 Dongchangan Jie, Dongcheng District

Tel: 85185758

  • Lihong

Offers personalized property services to its corporate and individual clients

Address: 1602 Tower 2, Jianwai Soho, 39 Dongsanhuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang District

Tel: 85802389

 

2. Local Agencies

  • Home Link

This large, local agency boasts a load of 400 plus offices around Beijing and offers low, mid and high-end listings in almost every neighborhood. Agents may not be fully bilingual.

Address: 57 Fucheng Lu, Haidian District

Tel: 68416330

  • Wo Ai Wo Jia

Well-regarded property agency with loads of rental and sales listings in nearly every neighborhood of Beijing. Agents may not be fully bilingual.

Address: 44 Chengfu Lu, Haidian District

Tel: 62557602

What to look for in and outside an apartment

When visiting an apartment of your interest, pay attention to details in and outside the apartment, as they will help you determine whether you are offered a fair value and whether it is the perfect place to go with.

As soon as you arrive at the compound, check to see the halls and common areas. If they are clean and tidy, that will be a good sign that the apartment receives good management and maintenance.

Once you are in the apartment, inspect the level of workmanship. Check for cracks and signs of water leaks in the walls. See if the windows are able to keep the room warm during winters. Check out the shower drainage to see if there are odors. Open bedroom windows to see if there is too much street noise. Turn on the gas stoves and air conditioners, flush the toilets, and open the closets to get an idea.

Signing Lease

  • Negotiate lease terms

Once you have found the perfect place, it's time to negotiate the terms of the lease. One thing to keep in mind: the listed price is almost never the final price in Beijing. You might want to tap into your bargaining skills to strike a fair deal.

  • The lease

The landlord or the real estate agency will provide the lease and you will usually sign two copies, one for each of you. The contract will be in Chinese. An English-version might be attached, but only the Chinese version is the legal document. If your Chinese isn't up to the task, ask a Chinese friend to help you.

  • Rights and Responsibilities

The lease will stipulate the rights and responsibilities of each party. The landlord or the agency will usually take care of wear and tear repairs of the apartment and the heating fees for the winter. The contract will also lay out the amount of deposits, lease duration and penalties for breaking the terms of the lease. Most landlords or agencies will ask for a payment of three months' rent and another one or two months' rent as deposit. They will also ask you to pay one month in advance before the second term of payment comes. The contract will also contain an inventory of all items provided by the landlord and their condition. On your moving out, if everything is still there and in reasonable shape, you will get your full deposit back. Otherwise, the same amount of money to repair the broken item will be deducted from the deposit. Want a piece of advice? No rough use of the furniture!

  • Register with the PSB

Once the lease contract is signed, you and your landlord need to go to the Public Security Bureau to register. If you don't, you could face a fine up to RMB500 a day. What's more, you would not be able to renew your visa.

When you go to register, remember to bring a copy of your passport with you. You don't  have to state how much you pay for the rent, so your landlord won't need to worry about being forced to pay taxes that he might have tried so hard to avoid.

Paying Utility Bills

Once you have moved in, you will start to receive utility bills. Water, gas and electricity bills are paid in one of several ways in Beijing.

Water and gas bills usually come in once a month. You will need to pay at a bank or a management office. For electricity, most homes operate on a system of prepaid smart cards, and you can buy the credit at a bank, the management office, or some convenience stores.

Banks allowing you to pay utility bills and buy electricity units include ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China), Bank of China, and China Agricultural Bank, among others. To skip a long line of bank clients, use the ATMs to pay your bills. No transaction fee is charged.

We hope the above tips are useful and you will have a pleasant stay in this happening city.


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