Renting in Singapore: Basic Terms You Must Know


Renting in Singapore: Basic Terms You Must Know

Singapore is famous for being one of the world's most expensive cities to live in. As a foreigner, if you seek to begin a new life on this warm island-nation, you will have to deal with renting—a costly and potentially complex issue—whether you like it or not.
To simplify things for you, we have gathered into a few parts rental terms you must know. In this part, you will find basic terms that appear in literature about renting in Singapore.


Money that is paid by a buyer to a seller as part of the agreement set out in some sort of contract. In the context of renting in Singapore, this is a specific sum paid by the tenant to the landlord in accordance with the lease, and in addition to the monthly rental fees to come. This sum is held by the landlord as security against the tenant’s potential non-performance of the agreement set out in the lease.
If the tenant fails to perform, the withheld money will be consumed by the landlord as repayment for the previous losses arising from that failure. The exact amount of a deposit differs from lease to lease; in Singapore, there is no law stipulating a specific figure for the security deposit.
(Note: This term can also refer to an earnest deposit, which secures or reserves a property for a tenant.)

Employment Pass

A government-issued work visa that allows foreign Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) to work in Singapore. To qualify, candidates must earn at least S$3,600 per month or more. In other countries, this is normally called a “work visa”.
As an expat in Singapore, this will likely be your work visa. For other types of work visas, refer to this handy breakdown of the different passes applicable to other groups of foreign workers.


The acronym for “Housing and Development Board”, a government body responsible for public housing matters in Singapore. However, the locals in Singapore tend to use this term as a shortened form of “HDB flat”, “HDB apartment” or “HDB housing”. So if you want to sound like a local while seeking to rent public housing (instead of private), you will say something like this: “I want to rent HDB.”

High-Rise Building

When renting a home in Singapore, this term refers to just two possibilities: HDB or condo. HDB and condo buildings are almost always high-rise in Singapore; and because HDB is public housing while condos are private, renting an HDB apartment over its condo variant will be easier on your wallet.
If this term appears in a conversation about renting, the parties involved are likely discussing the pros and cons of elevation as it relates to the various HDB/condo buildings under their consideration.

Landed Property

When renting a home in Singapore that is not high-rise, you are looking at landed property. This term refers to private, low-rise housing without condo-like facilities: bungalows, terraced houses, mansions, etc. You will need deep pockets to rent such a place as your home due to Singapore’s sky-high property prices.


An individual, business, or enterprise that owns property (landed or high-rise), which is rented out to tenants. A landlord is responsible for property housekeeping, maintenance, repairs, and other necessary tasks that keep the property in a habitable state.
Key traits include the right to collect security deposits to safeguard against tenant-related misgivings that result in property damage; the right to collect rent at regular intervals; and the right to evict tenants for lease-related misconduct (e.g. inability to pay rent).


An individual, company, or organisation that applies to rent a landlord's property. A tenant is responsible for paying rental fees to their landlord at regular intervals, and maintaining the rented property according to lease terms until the end of their tenancy.


The legal occupancy of property or land that does not belong to the tenant. For as long as this legal occupancy lasts, the tenant must abide by the terms of agreement set out in the lease—or face punitive measures from the landlord.


Want to know more terms? Here are hard terms and expert terms you must know when renting in Singapore. If you still have questions about any terms after reading, please don’t hesitate to contact Sing-Guarantee for more information.



Copyright © 2018 SG, Sing-Guarantee Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.