For Tenants

Expat’s Rental: Complete Guide In Malaysia

Are you an expat new to Malaysia? Looking to rent a house but not sure where to start? well, look no more! we have prepared a complete rental guide for you here.

Throughout the years Malaysia has recently found itself as one of the more popular countries for expatriates to migrate into. Whether it be for work, for a change of scenery or even for retirement, Malaysia has seen an influx of foreign residents.

Therefore advertisements such as ‘expat housing’, ‘expatriate apartments’, ‘expatriates room for rent’, ‘expatriates flat for rent’ and ‘rentals for expats’ are becoming a more common sight to see around the country as landlords are becoming more open to having non-citizens as tenants.

But what exactly is the renting process for expatriates to rent a house in Malaysia? Here we will provide an expat’s rental guide in Malaysia.

Malaysia’s Renting Process

As we all are aware, the renting process in Malaysia starts with the seemingly endless search for a compatible house to live in. Whether it is a high-rise apartment or a landed property, Malaysia is never lacking when it comes to rentals.

After successfully finding the ONE, the prospective tenant will go through a negotiation process with the landlord to decide on the monthly rent and once that is done an Earnest Deposit has to be made.

An Earnest Deposit is made in lieu of a booking fee, therefore the landlord has to reserve the house exclusively to the prospective tenant by not allowing others to view it. The Earnest Deposit amount is usually equivalent to the first month’s rent.

Afterwards, the two parties will then proceed with the tenancy agreement, where we negotiate everything down to the nitty-gritty details of the rental. Things like landlord and tenant obligations, penalties and clauses are discussed then declared here.

During this stage, the prospective tenant will have to make two other deposits called the Security Deposit and Utility Deposit. A Security Deposit is two months’ worth of rent while the Utility Deposit is equivalent to half a month’s rent.

After the tenancy agreement is agreed upon, the landlord or agent will then bring the documents to the Malaysia Inland Revenue Authority (LHDN) to validate them. The tenant will also have to bear the cost of the Stamp duty.

How Do Malaysian Respond To Expats As A Tenant

Now that you have an idea of how the renting process would go, you might be wondering “How do Malaysians Respond to Expats As a Tenant?”. After all, it is better to have your answer before taking the big step of moving here.

Having lived here my whole life, it is safe to say Malaysians definitely live up to their claim of ‘Budi Bahasa Budaya Kita’ in other words, it is a hospitable country. Malaysians are very conscious of the need to save face and be polite to each other.

For example, endearments such as ‘Uncle’ and ‘Auntie’ are often used to address older men and women even if there is no blood relation between the addresser and addressee. Terms like ‘sis’ and ‘bro’ are often used too for people of similar ages just to appear friendlier.

This sense of camaraderie has definitely earned Malaysia the fourth rank in the survey for the best destination for expatriates to live and work in 2021. Amongst the popular reasons cited being it is easy to make friends in Malaysia.

Other than that, irrefutably, Malaysia has a large variety of food that often attracts our foreign counterparts to come to visit. With various races living in harmony in the country, a hodgepodge of cuisines can be found at every corner.

What Are The Popular Areas for Expats in Malaysia

Undeniably, house hunters will start becoming more creative with their internet searches as keywords variations like ‘expat rentals’, ‘expat room for rent’, ‘Asia expat rent’, ‘expat apartment’, ‘expatriate room’, ‘Asia expat apartments’, ‘flat for rent expatriates’ and the likes of it just to find the house for them.

To help ease your search, maybe start off by listing down your rental preferences by answering these questions; Which part of Malaysia would you want to live in? Do you want a high-rise lot or a landed one? Do you want it to be near the LRT stations? What facilities are a must-have for you?

However, there are several popular locations around the country that expatriates usually gravitate towards. One such location is Mont Kiara, with plenty of luxury condominiums for rent and facilities all within walking distance, it is a no-brainer why expats flock to this part of town.

Another popular location for expatriates is Bangsar, with equal amounts of both high-rise and landed rentals, tenants can have their pick of the crop. Being in the centre of the capital it is beaming with life, cafes are practically littering the streets, public transportations everywhere and every sightseeing attraction is near enough to travel to make this area a popular choice for expats to reside at.

Outside of Klang Valley, states such as Penang and Johor have also seen a rise in foreign residents over the years. For Penang, expats definitely could not resist living the island life with added city perks, while Johor has the additional benefit of being able to travel to Singapore any time they want.

What Is The Renting Process for Expats in Malaysia

Firstly, we have to clarify your residency status in Malaysia as it is easier to rent if you have permanent residency status. Permanent Residents will be going through the same rental process as locals do which you can peep above.

However, if you are neither a local nor a Permanent Resident, the gameplay differs slightly as you will have to provide extra documents. These documents will have to have information such as the purpose of your stay and the duration of your stay. 

Some landlords will require documents such as a copy of your passport or even a copy of your employment offer letter. The extra documentation is to assure the landlord that the tenant can afford the monthly rent and that the tenant would not just up and disappear on them one day.

Additionally, the tenant should ensure that there is a Diplomatic Clause or Expat Clause included in the tenancy agreement when negotiating. This is in cases where the tenant has to leave Malaysia and needs the agreement to be ended earlier.

The tenant will be required to provide proof to support their reason for early contract termination which could be a letter of employment termination or a redeployment letter to another country.  Should the clause be put into play, the tenant will need to provide written notice of two to three months for the landlord.

The Cost of Renting in Kuala Lumpur

Now onto the most important question of all, what is the cost of renting in Kuala Lumpur? Generally, expats find it affordable to rent here as the currency is usually lower than their home countries. 

Obviously, it will cost more to rent in the city centre than it does to live in the suburbs. KL City Center definitely costs more to rent than it does to rent in Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam or Putrajaya as KL is considered a more developed area of Klang Valley compared to the rest.

The cost of living is also naturally higher in Kuala Lumpur compared to the rest of Klang Valley. As shown in this summary on the cost of living in Kuala Lumpur, despite it being slightly more expensive it is still considerably affordable for expats to live in.

Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost you around RM2000 starting from RM1800 onwards, while outside of the city centre it will cost you around RM1200 onwards.

An Easy Way To Renting in Malaysia

Now that you have an idea of the whole renting process in Malaysia and how much it will cost you, let us introduce you to an easy way to rent in Malaysia… using SPEEDHOME.

SPEEDHOME not only makes renting easier it also provides renting with ZERO DEPOSIT. Sounds good right? But worry not, we are not stingy, there are plenty of options for you to choose from and there are even rentals in expat popular areas.

For Mont Kiara, our selection covers plenty of luxury high-rises with monthly rents ranging from RM1700 all the way to RM8500. Whether you are looking to skimp or splurge we give you various choices to look through.

If you want to live nearer to the capital, have a look at our city-centre options. With over 1000 options, you will definitely find one that suits your preferences and your wallet. Monthly rents go from RM200 for a room rental and up to RM8000 for a whole 5 bedroom and 5 bathroom unit in Gurney Heights.

Regardless of your final choice, we definitely hope you enjoy living in Malaysia as much as we do.

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