Expat property Beijing Lease house Beijing Lease apartment Beijing

Frequent Questions

How long does it take to find a home?

With Lihong, searches are typically in two phases. In the first phase we give you an overview of all the gated expat residential communities. This takes 2-3 days. In the second phase, we show you ALL available properties with the layouts you like in your preferred communities. Typically, this takes another 2 days.

When should I start my property search?

For expat apartments with rents under RMB15,000/month you should start looking 4-6 weeks before your planned move-in day. For expat houses and apartments in higher rent ranges, we recommend starting your search 8-12 weeks prior to moving. But there's no harm in looking earlier. We'd be pleased to integrate an orientation tour into the property inspection schedule. It's unlikely that you'll be able to select the actual home at an early date, but you can narrow down the options, allowing for a quicker property search later on.

When do I pay the rent in Beijing?

Rents are paid monthly in advance to the landlord.

How do I pay the rent and what currency is the rent paid in?

The rent is paid in RMB by bank transfer to the landlord's account. The rent is paid in RMB currency. For corporate property leases, your company will do this for you. For private leases, we will show you how to make the monthly bank transfer. Rents are sometimes quoted in USD but landlords expect that the agreement specifies that payment is made in RMB, usually at a fixed exchange rate. Landlords rarely accept foreign currency payments, even if paid off-shore. Note that only foreign currency, but not RMB, can be transferred from abroad into China.

How long is a typical Beijing expat property lease for?

Expat apartment leases are normally for one year. For expat houses, many landlords (and many tenants) prefer 2 year leases especially if the lease includes custom renovations and furniture purchases. Some landlords will accept a 2 year lease, with a break option for the tenant after the first year.

What is included in an expat property lease?

Typically, besides property usage rights, the property lease includes major appliances, management, satellite TV fees, lighting and curtains or blinds. Expat houses and some high-end apartments will have dishwashers and clothes dryers. Expat apartments are often furnished, while houses are often semi-furnished or unfurnished. Depending on the rent, furniture can often be negotiated into a lease. Family club memberships are normally included in a house lease. If required, utility subsidies are included at cost as are parking spaces at apartment towers.

How much is the security deposit and when is it paid?

A two month security deposit is the norm in Beijing. Typically you pay one months' rent on signing the Tenancy Agreement. The landlord may also ask for the full security deposit on signing if there are substantial custom renovations, or if there's a significant lag time between signing the tenancy agreement and the lease commencement date.

If I have any problems during my lease who do I speak to?

Email us or call our support number immediately. Washing machine leaking, no internet or need to schedule a delivery. We are experienced problem solvers.

How do I set up my utilities, telephone and internet services?

We set it up for you at your house or apartment, and on your move-in day explain how and where you pay the bills.

Can I break the property lease early?

Yes you can, but unless your landlord has agreed to a break option in your tenancy agreement, you will forfeit your security deposit.

What is a break option?

This is the right to terminate the lease early without penalty. This may be the right to terminate at the tenant's discretion after a specified period of time, or to terminate the lease without penalty in the event that the tenant is relocated outside Beijing. Some landlords will accept a break option. Others won't, or will ask for a rent premium in return.

What language is the Tenancy Agreement in?

Tenancy Agreements are bilingual (Chinese and English), unless both parties are comfortable with one language.

Who pays Lihong's commission?

In China, the Landlord pays the commission. But rest assured, despite this arrangement, we always negotiate on your behalf. Most of our business is from existing client referrals and long-term corporate clients. We'd like to keep it that way.

How do I return the property at the end of the lease?

We will be there for you at the end of your lease to document a proper hand-over of the property back to the landlord. This includes an inventory check and reading of all utilities. On the hand-over day the property should be clean and all your belongings should be removed from the premises. All keys, entry cards, remote controls and instruction manuals should be compiled for an easy handover. If you have damaged anything (fair wear and tear excepted) during the lease, please inform us 14 days in advance so we can help you schedule repairs.

When is my security deposit returned to me?

On completion of the lease, the landlord returns the security deposit to you within 5 days of all outstanding bills paid and any damages repaired.

What is a Fapiao and why do I need it?

A Fapiao is a tax receipt for funds paid. The use of Fapiaos in China is a means for the tax authorities to ensure that value added tax (VAT) on a transaction has been paid. In many countries, the payee for goods or services issues a receipt to the payer and is responsible for declaring the VAT. In China the tax receipt, a Fapiao, must be issued by the tax authorities. It is either pre-paid and printed at the tax bureau, or printed by the payee on offical Fapiao paper using a system that's linked on-line to the tax authorities. To comply with accounting rules, your employer needs a Fapiao for all rent payments made. The Fapiao should state the names of the payer and payee, and also note that the payment is for rent. The VAT for rent payments is currently 5%.

Are towels, dining-ware, kitchen utensils and bed sheets
included in the lease?

These items are rarely included in a lease except at some serviced apartments. Landlords are unwilling to provide these items as they will not be used by a second tenant. If a landlord agrees to include these items, they will be provided at cost and factored into a higher rent. Also, please check your employer's housing policy to ensure that these items may be included in a corporate lease.

Can I include a gym membership in the property lease?

For house leases, family club or gym memberships are often included in the lease. At apartments, gym memberships may be included. Typically the landlord will divide the annual membership fee by 12 months of a lease year, and add that amount to the rent. Please check your employer's housing policy to ensure that gym memberships may be included in a lease.

Can I include utilities in the lease?

Water, gas, electricity and heating fees are not included in the lease. Usage is either pre-paid or billed monthly. Some landlords may agree to provide a utility subsidy in the lease. However, note that the landlord will not refund any unused portion of the utility subsidy. Please check your employer's housing policy to ensure that utility subsidies may be included in a lease.

Is a parking space included in the lease?

At expat apartments, if they are to be included in a lease, parking spaces must be specified in the Tenancy Agreement and are an additional fee starting from about USD120/month. Apartments in Beijing are not sold with parking spaces and few landlords buy parking spaces. Therefore, parking spaces are included in the lease at cost. For expat house leases, parking is in your garage or for free on the street outside your house.

Is house-keeping included in the lease?

House keeping is rarely included in the lease in Beijing. Some serviced apartments provide a fixed number of cleaning days a week. Although unusual, some landlords may agree to provide a housekeeping subsidy in the lease. Please check your employer's housing policy to ensure that house-keeping may be included in a corporate lease.

Why don't smaller apartments in Beijing have clothes dryers?

Smaller apartments will not have dryers due to space constraints. Also, wet clothes dry within hours indoors as humidity levels in Beijing are very low. Larger apartments and all houses built for families do have clothes dryers.

Same size, but why is the rent different?

  • Good quality renovations at the property. Better furnishings and fittings.
  • The individual landlord's rent expectation. In Beijing, some landlord's are keener to get early rental income than others.
  • Most Beijing property developments are built in phases. A property at a new phase is typically better than an older one and sold at a higher price. So, rent at the newer property is higher.
  • For expat houses, corner properties with larger gardens rent for more.
  • For expat apartments, properties on higher floors rent for more. An apartment with a view and Sunnier south-facing units.
  • Good views command higher rents, but if the property faces another tower or building site, it's not worth it.

Why are rents low at brand new properties?

When a property first opens, some landlords offer low rents as they are eager to rent out their new property as soon as possible. But you might have to put up with construction noise and small problems typical with any new property. Also, the gym might not be ready. The plus is that you're locked into a low rent and if it's unfurnished, you might be able to choose the furniture.