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SirDude

Rent deposit?

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SirDude

Hi,

I'm working on my budget for a long-term stay in the Guangzhou area. Does anyone have an idea of what deposits are required to rent an apartment? Is it first and last month's rent, plus two month's deposit?

Any thoughts on credit / back-ground checks or best website(s) for locating apartments before getting to China would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and have a great day!

SirDude

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gougou

I've stayed in 8 places or so in China so far, and the most common way (in Beijing) was to pay three months' rent in advance (one month ahead of when it comes due), plus a one-month deposit that you get back at the end of the term.

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Brian US

I've never heard of credit backgrounds in China. Like gougou just said they want cash up front, so credit isn't so important. Are agencies pretty common in other parts of China? I know it can be tricky in Beijing, but it can be very expensive up to one month's rent.

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roddy

Credit checks for individuals are as good as non-existent.

As for rent and deposit, I'd say standard is one month deposit, with rent paid quarterly. So your first payment you need four months of rent.

However, there's a constant tug of war as landlords try and shift any risk from themselves to tenants. Two-month deposits may be asked for (my last landlord, or at least his wife asked for this in case I 'made lots of international phone calls', but it was negotiated away), half-yearly or even yearly rent may rear its ugly head (I think this is more common the cheaper the place is).

The payment schedule Gougou mentions, whereby your second quarterly payment comes due two months, rather than three, after you move in, is becoming more common. Basically this is quarterly rent, but paid a month in advance so if you both trash the place and run away, he has the money to repair the place AND compensation for a month's lost rent while he finds a new tenant. However it's not universal yet.

Agency fees, if you use one, up to a month but negotiable. In Beijing at least unless you have a referral it's hard to avoid agencies.

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skylee

In Hong Kong, the norm is a deposit of 2 months' rent and then the rent of the first month (and also subsequent months) paid in advance on a monthly basis. So you have to pay 3 months' rent at the start of the tenancy.

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SirDude

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for all the replies! From all the replies I guess it's safe to say I should budget having at least four months rent in my hand when I arrive in GZ?

I actually don't mind the quarterly rent, as long as I know what to expect when arriving. I don't think I like the idea of the half year rent. I hope this isn't too common.

As for agencies, I'm was trying to avoid them, but I am trying to take some of the load off my girlfriend, so I would like to at least be able to research prices, etc from the US. Anyone know of a good source for rental information online? At least just to see what I might be able to get with my budget. (hoping to stay under 2000 rmb, in the eastern side of GZ)

Since I am going to be studying, I'm not looking for a major party pad, just a place to have a bed, desk, small kitchen and bathroom. I am being realistic or do I need to re-think my budget?

Everyone's information is very much appreciated.

Have a great day!

SirDude

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Brian US

I think agencies are best done in person. I would say the vast majority of listings online are fake or already taken. You may see a great deal but when you call it is gone, however! they happen to have a few others places you may be interested in. Friend contacted a listing 10 minutes after it was posted online...but it wasn't available.

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roddy

Definitely - it's entirely possible the agents won't even have visited the place, let alone taken the nice photos you saw on the website.

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anonymoose

I'm not sure about rates in Guangzhou, but 2000 Yuan sounds possible, though a little on the low side.

The best way, in my opinion, is stay in a hotel when you get to Guangzhou, and then go to the area you want to live, find an agent, and just tell them what kind of place you're looking for. Chances are they'll be able to take you to some places and show you immediately. Also, it may be worth going to three of four different agents as they'll have different properties on their books, and also, if they know they're competing with each other, they're less likely to try and rip you off.

Now, since your budget is on the lower side, you'll probably be looking at smaller and older places. When you go to view the apartments, things you should check are, 1) Do the air conditioning units work, 2) Does the water heater actually provide you with decent hot water in the bathroom, 3) Does the toilet flush properly, 4) Check in the cupboards for cockroaches and rat droppings, and so on.

I didn't check thoroughly enough last time, and now I'm living in a place with rats. (Caught 4 so far in about 6 months.)

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Lu
The best way, in my opinion, is stay in a hotel when you get to Guangzhou, and then go to the area you want to live, find an agent, and just tell them what kind of place you're looking for. Chances are they'll be able to take you to some places and show you immediately.
This is what I did (in Beijing). Rental agencies are everywhere, they have plenty of houses too. I basically walked around looking at apartments from various agencies in various neighbourhoods for a few days and within a week I had moved in. Deposit went as gougou said, 3 months' rent and one month deposit. They would have liked half a year or a year's rent, but I was not very keen on that and besides it took days of taking money out of ATMs before I had those four months together, let alone more.

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Brian US

Fun fact for those with Bank of America accounts: Get a co-signer to give you their card and you can withdraw 4000 renminbi a day (2000 per card). Makes paying rent easier or whenever you are in a pinch.

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anonymoose

Or just keep your Chinese cash in a Chinese bank account. With Agricultural Bank of China, at least, you can take out up to 20000 RMB per day.

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SirDude

Thank you, again, for all the information!

Yes, I am planning on first staying in a hotel while researching apartments.

Also, thanks for the ATM / Banking tips. I've been so wrapped up with all my school stuff it slipped my mind. So that brings up a couple of questions.

1. Rent is normally paid in cash?

2. When I first arrive in China do I need to bring money in (checks, etc) to open a local bank account or can I use my US Debit card to supply the funds to open that account?

Thanks again!

Have a great day,

SirDude

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Brian US

1. Rent is paid in cash

Travelers checks can be expensive. Wire transfers can be a pain. China Construction Bank has a relationship with Bank of America where you can withdraw from their ATM's without fees (technically .0075 transaction/exchange fee). Most banks may charge a $5 international transaction fee and maybe 1-2%.

I saved up a bunch of money to move to China, but I didn't want to have it all sitting in a Chinese bank. Gave it to my parents to play around with and have them deposit some in a Bank of America account when I need it. With two ATM cards you can withdraw up to 4000 Renminbi a day or about $600.

I know in America you normally put down on a deposit months ahead of time to get an apartment. Yet, everything is pretty much done on the spot in China, so go along with what anonymoose said.

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SirDude

Don't the local banks have tellers / location where you can deposit or withdrawal larger amounts of cash over the counter?

Have a great day!

SirDude

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imron
1. Rent is normally paid in cash?

Depends on the landlord. At various times with different properties I have paid both with cash, and using Internet banking with a local Chinese account.

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SirDude

What's the best way to open a bank account once in China? When I say "best", I mean the cheapest way to transfer enough money from the US to cover my rent, etc. without racking up all kinds of exchange fees, etc.

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gougou

Is it really only possible to get 2000 RMB from a Bank of America account? Or could you be confusing it with the ATM's restrictions of 2000 RMB per transaction? Even with a Chinese card, you can only get 2000 RMB (sometimes a bit more than that, depending on the ATM's model) per transaction - but you can have 10 transactions in a row.

As for rent, I have only paid it in cash so far - and I guess even imron's high-tech landlords wouldn't have refused a nice big wad of Maos.

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Brian US

Bank of America limits it to 2000 RMB per 24 hours. You need to make two transactions of 1000 RMB withdrawals. I noticed with a co-payer's ATM card you can do it again, so a max of 4000 RMB per 24 hours. If SirDude has a budget of 2000 RMB of rent then he can have 3 months +1 deposit in two days.

Most large banks in America can get you RMB with a few days notice. A few hundred should cover cabs, food, and hotel for the first few days.

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abcdefg

In Kunming now one must pay six months’ rent in advance plus a one or two months’ rent deposit and one month’s rent as an agent fee unless renting directly from the owner. Since housing has become difficult to find, and demand exceeds supply, landlords are much less likely to negotiate any of this the way they once were. Plus of course it's all in cash.

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