Renting apartments in China: where, how to rent and draw up a contract for a Chinese apartment

In the process of renting an apartment in China, you first need to decide for yourself what is most important to you:



- Furnishings in the apartment


STEP 1: Do research on housing estates in the area where you would like to live

Once you find an apartment complex (LC) you like, go straight to the management office of the complex, where you will often find ads listing apartments available for rent. You can also ask the employees of the residential complex who rent apartments here and very often they will tell you about it.


STEP 2. Find a local agency

If step number 1 was not successful and you need to live in this particular area, then go to step number 2.

After researching several LCDs that suit your tastes, you can immediately contact the agency, which is the easiest way to rent an apartment in China.


Agencies usually specialize in the area they are located in, so once you find areas or a particular area that you like, look for an agency in that area.


The agency saves you time as you will have to do all the work of finding an available apartment or browsing through all the online listings, many of which are old, fake or redundant. Agencies offer their own contracts, although not always the best contracts to use.


The main problem with using an agency is the fee you will pay for the service, which depends on where you want to live and other circumstances.


In many cases, the fee is half the monthly rent (sometimes the entire monthly fee), so if you rent an apartment for 9,000 yuan, the agent's commission will be 4,500 yuan.


STEP 3. Search the Internet for apartment listings


If step #2 was not successful and you need to live in this particular area, then go to step #3.


If you'd rather go directly to the landlord to avoid any agency fees, searching for available apartments online will show you what's currently available and help you find options. But be careful of scammers or an agent who pretended to be a landlord on the site.


The website is most commonly used by landlords throughout China to advertise properties for rent.


When you sign in to, you can apply a variety of filters to limit your posts based on your apartment needs. These filters include filtering for



- Type of apartment;

-Number of rooms;

-Price ranges and many others.

You can also ask about free apartments on local chats or forums of foreigners, sometimes foreigners rent their apartments cheaper than the market, try posting your ad there in advance.



When viewing an apartment, ask the landlord a series of questions to find out his identity and check the documents for the apartment if you like the apartment, as well as how he would react in hypothetical situations (for example, what would you do if the faucet broke? the toilet broke? and etc.).


Keep in mind that if something minor breaks, you will most likely be repaired, but for larger repairs, you should expect the homeowner to help.


If you have any doubts or concerns about the trustworthiness or trustworthiness of a landlord, you should look elsewhere.


After the first inspection, you should proceed to the inspection of all household appliances in the Chinese apartment. Make sure the stove is in good working order and is securely connected to the gas installation.


The hot water in the shower will be heated by a gas or electric water heater. If it is gas heated, test the heater to understand how to use it and make sure it works.


Electric water heaters take longer to heat up, so it's a good idea to inspect your bathroom first and turn on the water heater to find out how long you can expect when you want to take a shower.

If something seems broken, ask if the homeowner is willing to replace old appliances. In many cases it will. Otherwise, it's best to look elsewhere because if the device breaks during your contract, you can expect to pay a large portion of the cost of repairing it.


Turn all switches and make sure all bulbs are working or will be replaced before moving in.


Most apartments will be furnished. The quality of the furniture in an apartment also tells you how much the homeowner has invested in the space, as well as whether the apartment is worth the rent. Walk around the apartments in different locations to get an idea of ​​what furniture other apartments come with.


It is also worth noting that you can arrange the removal of some furniture. Let's say you have your own bed that you bought. You can ask your landlord to move your bed to make room for yours. They may not always agree, but he usually agrees.



Before signing a lease, check the documents for the apartment with the landlord.

The format of the lease agreement may be different, depending on the conditions of the parties, but you can download a typical lease agreement at the top of this blog (there are photos on the border of the green and blue zones - click to enlarge and download to your phone).

In the lease agreement, enter the readings of all meters, as well as describe any malfunctions found.




In China, rent is usually not paid on the first of each month, but usually in installments every three months. It is better not to rent rooms that have to be paid every 6 months or even the whole year.


As a deposit, you can count on the amount of rent from 1-3 months. Unfortunately, you can often hear how foreigners lose their deposits after the lease expires.


For this reason, try to negotiate a lower deposit by paying more rent up front. Also make sure that there are clauses in the contract that indicate the amount of the deposit and the expectation of its return.


Keep detailed records of the condition of everything and make sure both parties have documentation and agree on the condition of the apartment.


When paying rent and a deposit, try not to pay in cash. Go to a Chinese bank and transfer the amount due to the landlord's account and ask the bank to indicate on the transfer and receipt what the payment is for (eg, rent for the first six months, deposit, etc.).


These documents will protect you if your landlord tries to double your rent. If you are paying in cash, make sure the landlord writes out a detailed "receipt" stating how much was paid and for what, along with a signature.