Renting Property3 Jun 2013
The majority of expatriates in Malaysia decide to rent a property for the duration of their time spent here. For the most part, it makes sense—expatriate work contracts are usually only temporary and can often be unstable affairs. The likelihood of being whisked away to a new location at short notice is relatively high and so the convenience of rented property is a welcome relief.
However, rentals can also have their drawbacks and some visitors are afraid of the restrictions placed on personalising and modifying their rented property. Such fears though are unfounded as the next few pages will demonstrate; rentals offer plenty of freedom to create your own home.
Renting a property in Malaysia is very similar to renting a property anywhere else. You have a landlord, a rental contract and can usually choose whether you want a furnished or unfurnished property. But there are still a few important things to keep in mind before signing the contract.
Where is the property located?
Many expatriates choose to live in an area popular with other expatriates. In these areas, children are usually catered for with either an international school or a bus service to one; transport links are well established to the major business districts; and shopping venues and nightlife is never too far away.
What facilities are in the nearby area?
Establishments such as supermarkets or even convenience stores are often overlooked. The ability to gather the daily essentials just across the road or to simply nip to the local supermarket can make life much more pleasurable.
Travelling further than 15–20 minutes for the weekly groceries may be manageable at first but will soon start to grate.
What is your budget?
Property really can be found at any price range in Malaysia and the fantastic value for money outside of the prime areas or districts can lead buyers to some wonderful properties.
Would you prefer a house or an apartment?
Both houses and apartments have their individual benefits. Houses offer space and freedom; apartments: security, views and convenience. The decision really can’t be made for you, though often choosing a residential area that ticks all the pre-conceived boxes first and then looking for property can be a successful search tool.
Is there sufficient security?
Apart from houses in gated communities, apartments generally provide more in the way of security; usually you’ll have to pass through a guard house to get access to the building.
Does the property need much maintenance?
Depending on the age, location and previous tenants the house has hosted, properties may either be in pristine condition or in serious need of some tender loving renovation. If you’d prefer to avoid the headaches of homes in a state of disrepair then you’re better off searching one of Malaysia’s abundant new developments in which you can be the first tenant.
Alternatively, if a renovation project appeals to you, then the more established residential areas may provide you with the exoskeleton you crave to start developing.
Can you have an ‘expat/get-out clause’ in the contract?
An expat clause allows you to leave after just one year of a two year contract, supposedly in case you are posted elsewhere.
Will the landlord put in air conditioning or other utilities and ‘white goods’?
Malaysians do not always use such amenities, especially the oven. Most landlords should be willing to have these installed for you, especially for higher rent/longer contracts.