Similar to many major cities in the world such as New York, London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore etc, rental and associated costs of living are relatively high in Hong Kong especially in the city centre and other prime locations. Since it is more costly in maintaining a vehicle in Hong Kong, it is more economical and convenient to identify accommodation along the MTR (Mass Transit Railway – Hong Kong’s metro system) or other available public transportation routes.
Most tenancy agreements in Hong Kong are for a period of two years. A tenant may negotiate with a landlord to include a break clause which allows the tenant to break the tenancy on serving a two or three months' notice to the landlord after a minimum occupation period of 12 to 15 months.
By law, the tenant has the right of first option to renew the tenancy after each two-year period, at the prevailing market price.
For more information about creating and signing a tenancy agreement, please click into the following links :
Apartments for lease in Hong Kong are normally unfurnished. Some landlords may provide fixtures and furniture but this is not a standard arrangement. Electrical appliances are normally not provided though some landlords may provide some essential electrical appliances such as refrigerators, washing and drying machines, and air-conditioners. The lease is normally for two years.
There are lots of advertisements in local newspapers/websites placed by landlords and property agents on leasing of accommodation. Potential tenants are required to sign an undertaking agreeing to pay an agent fee which is normally equivalent to half of the monthly rental of the identified accommodation. It is important not to sign an undertaking for the same accommodation with different property agents or else you will be charged for the agent fee by each of the agents.
Websites of some of the major local property agents are listed below for reference. Please note that these property agents are independent agents and have no connection with the University. The University will not be held responsible for any lease/tenancy agreement entered between you and the landlord/property agent.
AsiaXPAT : hongkong.asiaxpat.com/property/
Centaline Property Agency Ltd.: hk.centanet.com/eng/ehome.htm
Century 21 HK : www.century21-kln.com/eng/
Geoexpat : www.hongkong.geoexpat.com/classifieds/apartments
Hong Kong Property : www.hkp.com.hk/eng/
Midland Realty : http://en.midland.com.hk/
Ricacorp (C.I.R.) Properties : www.ricacorp.com/cms/template.aspx?series=42
Square Foot : www.squarefoot.com.hk
Once the Tenancy Agreement is signed, the tenant is required to pay a deposit, normally equivalent to two months' rental, to the landlord. The deposit will be held by the landlord without interest, and will only be refunded to the tenant on expiry of the lease. The cost of any repair or reinstatement work necessary to the apartment, other than normal wear and tear, will be deducted from the deposit prior to any refund to the tenant.
Management fee is payable by all occupants of a building for communal services such as security guards, cleaning and maintenance of common areas and amenities. The amount varies depending on the number of units in the building, and the type of amenities or facilities provided. The rental may include or exclude the management fee which is subject to the agreement between the tenant and the landlord.
Payment to Government
Stamp duty is a form of government tax payable on all signed tenancy agreements and usually payable by the tenant and landlord in equal shares. The total amount payable on a typical two-year lease is 0.5% of the yearly or average yearly rent, or 0.25% of the total rent payable over the term of a one-year lease.
Rates and Government rent are indirect taxes levied on properties, assessed by and payable to the HKSAR Government. Rates are charged at a percentage of the rateable value which is the estimated annual rental value of a property at a designated valuation reference date. Currently, the rates percentage charge is 5%. Properties in some districts (part of the New Territories and outlying islands) are also subject to Government rent, which is calculated at 3% of the rateable value. These charges are payable on a quarterly basis in advance by the tenant.
Serviced apartments are also available in Hong Kong for lease. They offer modern and chic accommodation in convenient locations. They are usually fully furnished and offer housekeeping facilities. Many serviced apartments are run by hotel groups and provide very good quality in accommodation and service. The lease period could be shorter and minimum stay is normally one to three months. Rentals for serviced apartments are in general higher than a leased apartment.
Some information on serviced apartments could be obtained from the following links:
Harbourview Horizon All-Suite Hotel : http://www.horizonhotels.com.hk/index.html
Harbour Plaza Metropolis : www.harbour-plaza.com/hpme
Horizon Hotel & Suites : http://www.horizonhotels.com.hk/index.html
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Shatin Tin : http://hongkongshatin.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html
The Lodge : http://thev.hk/en/the-lodge/
Y Hospitality : http://www.yhk.com.hk
City University of Hong Kong offers 164 units of on-campus quarters at Tak Chee Yuen (110 units) and Nam Shan Yuen (54 units) which are reserved for eligible staff. Except for the 8 units at 170 square metres (sq.m.) located in Tak Chee Yuen, all other units are either 3-bedroom or 4-bedroom with sizes ranging from 130 sq.m. to 150 sq.m. Subject to availability, a portion of vacant staff quarters may be leased to other staff members under a Licence Agreement and subject to paying a market rental.
The University reviews the level of market rental for staff quarters annually and the current rates are set at $41,900 per month (170 sq.m.), $37,300 per month (150 sq.m.), $35,000 per month (140 sq.m.) and $32,600 per month (130 sq.m.). The rate of market rental for quarters is exclusive of car parking space but inclusive of management fee, government rates and provision of curtain, air-conditioners, cooker and refrigerator. Other electrical appliances and furniture items are not provided and the licensee will be required to pay all utilities charges. A car parking space could be rented at HK$2,100 per month.
To facilitate settling-in of newly-appointed full-time regular staff from outside Hong Kong, 3 units at Jockey Club Hall are designated for lease as short-term accommodation for a period of one year subject to availability. The units are 2-bedroom, with size of 90 sq.m. and the prevailing licence fee is HK$26,400 per month. Allocation will be on a first-come first-served basis based on the expected occupancy date.
Except for serviced apartments, it is the tenant's obligation to arrange for connection of utilities such as gas, electricity and telephone/fax lines, and pay the charges for usage. A deposit or connection fee payable to each service provider is required. The deposit is equivalent to about two months' estimated usage, and will be refundable on termination of the service. Electricity is provided by the CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd for premises in Kowloon, the New Territories and most outlying islands, and the Hong Kong Electric Co Ltd for premises in Hong Kong and Lamma Island. Gas is provided by the Hong Kong & China Gas Co Ltd. Water is supplied by the Water Supplies Department of the HKSAR Government.