Renting in Singapore: 5 Hidden Costs You Need to Budget For in 2023

Renting in Singapore: 5 Hidden Costs You Need to Budget For in 2023
Renting in Singapore in 2023 is an uphill climb. Individual renters have remarked that the latest rental price hikes have increased by up to 70%, leaving them feeling "overwhelmed, defeated."
However, there is a silver lining: according to the PropertyGuru Singapore Property Market Report Q2 2023, rental price growth is moderating; it increased by 3.9% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), less than the 7.4% increase observed in Q4 2022.
While renters are increasingly rejecting the record-high rental prices in Singapore, renting in Singapore remains popular. Expats working in the city, young couples waiting for their BTO flats to complete construction, and professionals seeking independence from their families are still seeking rental HDB flats and private properties to call home (for now).
Besides the upfront costs of renting in Singapore (e.g. signing your Letter of Intent (LOI) and Tenancy Agreement (TA), to actually moving houses), there are additional steps to making living in your rental unit smooth and even fulfilling. We’ve compiled a list of the top five hidden costs you need to budget for after you secure a room for rent in Singapore.

Hidden Costs of Renting in Singapore

Hidden costEstimated cost
Appliances and furniture$2000 to $3000
Pest control$150 to $300
Maintenance fees$60 to $200
Cleaning services$250 to $500
Moving out $350 to $600

1. Appliances and Furniture

Unless you’re renting a serviced apartment, most rental units come bare bones or with minimal fixtures when you first move in. Landlords might occasionally provide bed frames, basic dining or study tables, and cupboards that may be built in.
You might not want to spend a bomb on interior design, especially after putting down the down payment for your rental unit, but there are important pieces you definitely want to consider.
A brand new queen mattress from Ikea or any furniture store could set you back between $500 to $1,500, depending on how lush you want your night’s sleep to be. An air fryer or small microwave for meals on the go would cost another $100 to $200 on average. That decent ergonomic chair for WFH, gaming nights, and online shopping sprees is about $500.
All in all, we would recommend you put aside a $2,000 minimum for the essential items when you first move in, before slowly buying the rest later via more price-accessible platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Taobao!

2. Pest Control

More likely than not, you got a chance to check out the flat before agreeing to sign on the dotted line. The landlord and previous tenants may have gotten professional cleaners to keep the place fresh and clean, but sometimes the uninvited creepy crawlers start to crawl out from the woodwork a few weeks or months into your stay.
There are a plethora of pest control companies you can call for your every need, and they can cost between $150 to $500 per service, depending on the size of your rental unit and the extent of the pest infestation.
Small pest traps might be a more economical way to start if you think you can handle the insect invasion on your own, so you can also hop on down to your nearest home DIY store to get pest poison traps.

3. Maintenance Fees

Accidents happen, stuff breaks, and sometimes we need help from the good ol’ handyman to sort things out. It could be a locksmith for a door that’s jammed shut, a plumber for a pesky pipe that’s burst in the shower, down to a sliding window pane falling off its rails.
Handymen in Singapore tend to cost between $60 to $100 per hour depending on the scope of work and have a minimum charge, even if they fix the problem within minutes. Plumbers are a bit more expensive, usually beginning at about $120 for the initial charge, which might increase if they need to add in the cost of spare parts and pipes as well.
Even if something isn’t broken, heavy-duty appliances like your air-conditioning units require regular servicing every quarter to keep up with fighting the tropical heat all year round. Your average aircon servicing team could charge between $50 to $200 per visit whenever you call, so it’s a good practice to share the details of your request when you first contact the vendor to ask for a rough quote.

4. Cleaning Services

Maybe you had a helper growing up, or maybe your mother always cleaned up around you (ours always did). Moving into your own place, you might not have realised the amount of time and effort it takes to manage the upkeep of a home while juggling work and social life.
Some tips include breaking up chores into digestible bits across the week or setting aside a day per weekend to catch up on cleaning, but if you ever need extra help, there are various options that you can consider. Freelance cleaners or cleaning agencies can be hired for weekly cleaning visits at roughly $250 to $500 per month.
You can also choose to hire them for monthly or ad-hoc visits when you feel like you need additional help. Freelance cleaners usually charge about $30 to $50 per hour, and it could take between two to four hours each visit to clean most of the apartment.

5. Moving Out

This refers to all the hidden costs when it comes time to move out of your rental unit. Most landlords expect you to deep-clean the apartment before the hand-over inspection, from scrubbing the grout in the toilets to dry-cleaning the curtains. They may be overly picky over the state of the house when you hand over the keys, so it would be best to leave it in the hands of the professionals to ensure you get your deposit back.
Cleaning companies in Singapore are very familiar with deep-cleaning units for tenants moving in or moving out, and it can cost roughly $350 for studio apartments to $600 for 3- to 4-bedroom family-friendly apartments. Tenants are usually expected to provide their own cleaning supplies, but most companies can bring their own cleaning kits for a small additional cost.

Need Help with Maintaining Your Rental Unit? Ask Sendhelper!

If ever you’re at a loss for help with anything around the house, you can get help from services like Sendhelper.
Sendhelper is a home services brand provider that can aid you in managing your home. Get fast and affordable quotes for handymen, plumbers, and cleaning services whenever you need them, as often as you need them, right on the Sendhelper app.
Sendhelper is your trusted, reputable platform with vetted professionals and safe in-app payment methods for services done, whether it’s a long-term regular agreement for domestic help every weekend or just a one-time hire for a special occasion.
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More FAQs About Renting in Singapore

You can use PropertyGuru to find rental properties, and get in touch with a property agent to link you up with a landlord.

Renters of 4-room HDB flats paid between $2,800 to $3,800 per month in Q1 2023.

Rent price growth is moderating, but unlikely to see a dip across 2023.