Your Rental Guide for China

We check every single apartment as well as agencies before they upload properties to our website. We also try to work together with reliable and well known real estate agency in China. However, just because it is listed on does not mean it is safe to rent the place. Please read this rental guide carefully before you rent an apartment, room or office in China.

  1. In China properties are usually for immediate move-in, it does not make much sense to look earlier than 3 weeks in advance.
  2. Apartments in China are usually offered with a 6 or 12 month lease terms. Some owners also agree for a 1month lease term, in that case that rental prices might be higher.
  3. In China you have to pay your agent a commission. The commission fee can be up to 1 month rent. The agency commission is always negotiable.
  4. We highly advise you to always visit the property before you sign a contract or transfer the money. It is often the case that the listed pictures look different from the actual property.
  5. In case that any of the information in the listing does not match the real property please report the listing to us and we will delete it from our website.
  6. It is important that you don’t transfer any money to the landlord or the agency before you arrive in China. Ask your friends or colleagues to meet up with the landlord first, so they can visit the property and check the ownership certificate.
  7. Before you sign a rental contract always ask to see the original ownership certificates of the property. The address on the ownership certificate has to match the address written on your contract.
  8. The owner of the property has to provide a copy of the ownership certificate as well as his/her official ID card. You will need these documents for your police registration. Here is a list of all documents that are required when you register with the police.
  9. We advise you to always sign a contract or an agreement before you transfer any money to the agent or landlord. Ask for a receipt for anything you pay. Therefore, you have proof in case the landlord denied having received your money.
  10. Always make sure that the property can be rented for residential purpose. Some properties can only be rented as an office space. Make sure you get the ownership certificates.
  11. When you rent an office, make sure that the property can be rented for office space or commercial space. Make sure you get the ownership certificates.
  12. Visit apartments during day-time. You won’t be able to find out if the apartment next door or above you is under construction if you visit a place in the evening.
  13. The deposit for apartments in China is usually 2 months’ rent. In some cases (offices, serviced apartments, or high-end properties) landlords require 3 months’ rent as a deposit.
  14. A down payment to secure the apartment is usually required. In most cases this should be around 20% of the initial rental price. Always keep a receipt and sign an agreement before transferring any money to the landlord.
  15. Rent is usually paid every month. In some case tenants and landlords can agree to pay rent every 2/3 month.
  16. We advise you not to rent any shared apartments from local Chinese agencies or individuals, unless they live in the same apartment themselves.
  17. It is important that you change your keys after you have moved in. Changing the lock will cost around 100RMB.
  18. When you sign a contract for an apartment that is not fully furnished make sure that the contract states what furniture the landlord has to provide before you move in.
  19. Check the water, gas and electricity meters before you move in, write down the meter numbers or take a picture of it.
  20. Check your mobile phone if you have a connection, some basement apartments don’t offer good signal.
  21. You can find an example of a rental contract here.

If you have any emergency while you are staying in China, or other trouble and questions the following telephone numbers may be very useful. English services are provided by all these companies.

Useful numbers

Emergency Numbers in China

  • Police: 110
  • Ambulance: 120
  • Fire: 119
  • Traffic accidents: 122

Communication Service

  • China Mobile: 10086
  • China Telecom: 10000
  • China Unicom: 10010

Major Banks

  • Bank of China: 95566
  • ICBC Industrial and Commercial Bank of China: 95588
  • ABC Agricultural Bank of China: 95599
  • China Construction Bank: 95533
  • Bank of Communications: 95559

Delivery Service

  • EMC: 11183
  • SF Express: 95338
  • Yuantong Express: 95554

Police registration in China

Any foreigner, visiting or living in China, has to register with the local police within 48 hours after arriving in China. If you are staying at a hotel, they will do this for you when you check in. However, when you are renting your own apartment or live in a shared apartment you have to go to the closest police station to apply for a temporary residence permit.

For Police Registration you must bring:

  1. Your passport and visa
  2. Copy of passport and visa
  3. A copy of the property ownership certificate
  4. A copy of the landlord´s ID or passport
  5. Your original lease contract
  6. Copy of your lease contract

Hand these documents over the counter and 10 minutes later the police officer will present you with a form to sign and date, return your passport and then give you a copy of your temporary residence permit to keep.

Please note that, if your registration has expired because you left the country and then re-entered, you have extended your visa, or you are moving to another apartment you have to go to the local police station to renew your temporary residence permit.

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