Guide-lines on Long Term Apartment Rentals in Shanghai


APARTMENT TYPES
There are two types of apartments in Shanghai. They are service apartments owned by corporations offering hotel like management and services (reception, concierge, maid, dining, gym facilities etc) and ordinary apartments owned by private landlords.

LEASE TERM
Most private landlords in Shanghai require minimum 1 year lease. A small proportion of landlords are open to 6 month lease. In the latter case, the rent will be slightly higher. Service apartments are generally more flexible in lease term.

BUDGET
Location and complex condition are the main factors deciding apartment rental prices. Apartments in central areas of Shanghai like districts of Huangpu, Jing'an, especially near landmarks and attractions such as People’s Square, Nanjing Road and Jing'an Temple, Huaihai Road, XinTianDi are most expensive. Apartments in core and prime areas of periphery districts such as Xujiahui, old French Concession (Xuhui District), Zhongshan Park, Hongqiao (Changning District), Suzhou Creek (Putuo District), North Bund (Hongkou District), Lujiazui (Pudong New District) are more expensive than the rest of the areas. So are Gubei and Biyun community, where a large number of expatriates reside and international schools are located. Click here to find out more about Shanghai districts and neighborhoods.
Apartments in newly built residential complexes (built after late 1990s) are more expensive than old complexes. Upscale and international complexes popular among expatriates are significantly higher in price than ordinary local ones.
Old complexes were built between 1950s and early 1990s. They have non appealing communist style exterior and look similar, typically 5-6 stories with a flat roof. Local working class and old people will choose these apartments and rarely do foreigners like it for safety or comfort concerns.
Many service apartments target high-end corporate clients and are much more expensive (2 times, 3 times or more of the rent for an ordinary apartment of equivalent interior standard). Premium service apartments cost something like 2500-10000USD per month in central Shanghai. If you are on a moderate budget, renting an ordinary apartment from a private landlord is obviously the more logical choice.

REFERENCE PRICE-MONTHLY (NON-SERVICE APARTMENTS)
Core, Prime Areas
@Upscale, international complexes
One bedroom: 8000-11000rmb ($1250- $1700USD)
Two bedrooms: 11000-18000rmb ($1700- $2800USD)
Three bedrooms: 18000-30000rmb ($2800- $4700USD)
@Ordinary, local complexes (new)
One bedroom: 5000-7000rmb ($800-1100USD)
Two bedrooms: 7000-10000rmb ($1100-1600USD)
Three bedrooms: 10000-16000rmb ($1600-$2500USD)
Other Areas
Apartments of equivalent standard but in non core, prime locations are generally 20%-40% lower in rent than above price. Apartments on the outskirts and suburbs can be 50%-70% cheaper.
If the rent is significantly lower than above reference price, the apartment must be either in a poor location (far away from metro, next to noisy light rail or construction site…) or a pretty old one (maybe with smell and roaches…). Note as well there are very few one bedroom apartments in newly built complexes in Shanghai.

REAL ESTATE AGENTS
Most landlords choose renting out apartments through real estate agency and agents for safety and convenience. Commission for successful finding is standardized in Shanghai, set by Shanghai Municipal Government: 35% of one month’s rent from both tenant and landlord (full commission 70% to be shared 35/35 between tenant and landlord). In the case of a high-end rental or the landlord is desperate to rent out, he/she may foot the full 70% commission. However, the rental rates may be indeed well over normal rates to offset his/her cost.
There is no shortage of real estate agencies and agents in Shanghai. The problem is, the majority of them are migrant workers from backwater parts of China that barely finish middle school and rarely do they speak any English. On the other hand, most foreigner-focused housing agencies in Shanghai target only high-end corporate clients and charge exorbitant prices.

PAYMENT
As the norm in Shanghai, 3 months rent and a refundable security deposit equaling one month rent is to be paid to landlord when moving in. 3 months rent is due at the end of each quarter.

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