Tips to Negotiate a Cheaper Rental in Vietnam

Before you sign any Lease Agreement, make sure you have carefully considered ALL of your requirements thoroughly and ask your real estate agent in Vietnam to negotiate them with the landlord. All the agreed requirements must be clearly written in the lease contract to legally protect both the tenant and the landlord in case of a dispute.

Property Selection

Once you think you have found your ideal property, please give your agent instructions to negotiate on your behalf immediately and try to sign the contract as quickly as possible. It is not advised to have a long, drawn out negotiation time if you think you really want the property. There is a risk you could lose it, as before the contract is signed by both landlords and tenants, the property is still open to the market even if the landlords verbally confirm your lease.

Quite often, a landlord has several offers at hand from tenants to negotiate with. Landlords will compare the rental/terms and conditions and go with the one who can sign the contract quicker, and can offer higher rental and require less personal requirements.

To minimize the risk of losing the property or when the landlords want to compete with the rental, it is always necessary to have at least 3 choices during the property viewing trip. Ask your real estate agent in Vietnam to negotiate all of the 3 choices together, so that in case any one or two are lost, you will still have a back-up option.

Rental

Terms of rental usually include the property management fee. However the following fees could also be negotiated into the rental price depending on your company’s housing policy and if they allow such items to be included in the rental. Such items may include: Internet Installation Fee, Property Management Fee, Tax Invoice, Garden, Parking Fees, and others.

What factors may be used to negotiate a good price?

  1. How many people will live in this property – Often you may achieve a better price if the number of occupants is low.
  2. How soon you can start the lease – starting sooner is favorable to most landlords (ideally within one month)
  3. How many additional requirements you ask towards the property – less requirements equals less money the landlord needs to spend and more savings that can be passed on to you.
  4. How long is your lease term – usually a longer lease term is favorable by the landlord, but you may not like to lock yourself into a really long term contract if you think you may consider moving later if you become unhappy there, or if you feel the price may drop in that compound the following year.
  5. If you want to have the landlord remove some of the existing furniture and put your own furniture in, it will not help too much in terms of negotiating the rental. However, if the furniture is new or the landlord has not already bought furniture for the apartment
  6. The landlord will probably charge a lower monthly rent if you can pay a bulk amount of rent upfront, e.g. 6 months to a year.

Lease Term

Usually the standard leasing term for a typical contract is one year, but we advice you to consider the following during your negotiations:

  1. If the property compound which you choose is popular in the city, and if your assignment in Vietnam is longer than one year, we suggest that you negotiate a two-year lease term with a break clause in order to prevent the rental from increasing in the 2nd year.
  2. If your assignment in Vietnama is one year or less, then we suggest you to sign a one year lease with a break clause in order to prevent early termination or unnecessary deposit loss. However, sometimes this short term lease may be unfavorable by the landlord who will then ask for a higher or less negotiable price, or it may become more difficult to negotiate your additional requirements.
  3. If your budget is not quite high enough to afford your ideal home on a one-year lease, you may consider trying to bargain with the landlord for a longer fixed lease term which may in turn reduce the rental price for you. However it’s not suggested to go for longer than a two year lease term and it’s better to have your real estate agent in Vietnam carefully check the early break clauses of the lease for items which may cause you hassle while you are living.

Replacing Furniture & Buying New Furniture

If the Property you choose is unfurnished or if you would like to ask the landlord to change some of the existing furniture you should consider the following points

  1. Make sure that the contract clearly lists all the items you wish to purchase.
  2. Make sure that you negotiate a “furniture budget” and put the budget into the contract. Usually for an unfurnished property an amount equal to 2 – 3 months rental price should be sufficient to buy all the furniture, electrical appliances, and curtains.
  3. Never buy new furniture without the landlord’s permission. It is better to let the landlord go with you to buy all of the furniture, and let the landlord pay for it since the furniture will ultimately belong to the landlord.     
  4. If you are bringing your own furniture from abroad, please remember to check that storage space and bedroom wardrobes in the property are either already there or will be installed by the landlord, as unfurnished apartments usually won’t even have wardrobes for clothing storage.
  5. If the landlord doesn’t have time and gives all the money to you to buy the furniture, try to purchase all the furnishing within one month and keep all the receipts and invoices.
  6. Be timely to ask both the agent and landlord to fill in the final furniture check list and make sure both you and your landlord sign the final furniture list

Pest Control

Pest control is requested by a number of expats even though it is not a standard practice in Vietnam. It is available upon request and the service fee should be negotiated before the leasing contract is signed.

Pets

Some compounds, primarily serviced apartments, don’t allow tenants to bring any pets, especially dogs and cats. Please confirm with your real estate agent or landlord before you consider any compound and also check the local regulations regarding animals.

Some Items You May Wish to Consider Before Negotiation

  1. Water filters can be fitted to showers, kitchen and toilet taps etc. upon negotiation with the landlord. Fees are charged to occasionally replace the filters, so remember to ask your consultant to negotiate with the landlord, as you may have to pay for the filter renewal.
  2. ‘Black out curtains’ can be fitted in addition to existing curtains if you require the rooms to be darker.
  3. Bedding and Kitchen utensils are usually never supplied by the individual landlord. These can be purchased at most large outlets and retailers for very reasonable prices.
  4. Dish washers are rarely used in Vietnamese homes, so check if the property has one if required, or ask your real estate agent to negotiate with the landlord to have one installed.
  5. Ovens are also rarely used in Vietnam, so again, check that the property has one if required, or ask your agent to negotiate with the landlord to have one installed.
  6. Washing machines in Vietnam don’t usually connect to hot water to wash clothes, only cold water. If you require a hot water washing machine you will need a front loading washing machine, not a top loading machine. Dryers are not commonplace either, so again, request one if necessary or check if the property has one installed during your viewing.

During the lease term you are not suggested to drill holes in the walls to hang up any pictures or to fix mirrors unless you have the landlord’s WRITTEN permission! It would be best to ask the landlord to have their people or the workers from the management office to come over and do such things. Also, please do not re-decorate the house or change the wall color prior to receiving the landlord’s permission. Otherwise the landlord may ask for damage compensation by deducting money from your deposit which they will then not return at the end of the lease term. Make sure your agent carefully notes all damage that was done BEFORE your move in and takes record of this (you and the landlord should both sign it), which may even include photos if necessary.

It is highly recommended to put your request of hanging pictures in the lease contract to avoid an argument when moving out. Usually if any holes have been made on the wall, tenants should be responsible for fixing them, and some of the landlords may also want to paint the walls where there are holes.

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