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Thread: Singaporean perspective of a rookie renter

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    73

    Default Singaporean perspective of a rookie renter

    It's been over a year since I landed in this beautiful country. In this time, I had a baby, moved house once and another impending move is coming up. I'm been wanting to write a post about my life here for a long time and since I just came back from a month long holiday to my homeland, Singapore, it's a good time to pen down my thoughts. After visiting home for a month and experiencing terrible haze, I'm glade to be back to fresh air and wide open spaces. Auckland is a bonafide city with plenty of good food, wine and expensive property. Rent here is not cheap... but not as expensive as Singapore. I live in West Auckland by chance and found it to be very convenient with highways leading to the airport and the city. The people in West Auckland are very nice and kind, something that is sorely missing from Singapore. My quality of life definitely went up. After saying all this, I find that I still miss home, my family and friends. Family or quality of life? This question haunts me sometimes.

    I would like to write about renting and help newcomers from tropical countries especially Singapore settle in the right house.

    In my first rental, it was a nice PRC landlord whom I signed a 8 month lease with. The old house with old windows was insulated in the ceiling and floor BUT the fireplace was not sealed properly(most likely DIY). Imagine a northerly wind howling against the house and the cold wind gushing into the heart of the house freezing the occupants instantly. The rent is cheap because it's small 2 bedroom house with shared utilities. Frankly speaking, shared utilities is not advisable. If you can help it, don't do it. Because I had a baby and my water bill went up significantly, my landlord was constantly on my back to save water. Better to have your own meter to avoid awkwardness. Overall it's a positive experience, because the landlord is someone who's easy going and open for negotiation.

    In my second rental, present house. I made too many mistakes. The house is carpeted with only ceiling insulation and a working fireplace with old windows. Winter was punishing especially for someone who was born and bred in a tropical country. When I moved in, I did not snap a photo of the electricity meter so I ended paying alot more than my share... my bill was $600++ to be exact. Second, I did not check if there's a phone socket, it was taken for granted that it was there. It was not. So I had no internet and phone line until the cable guy came to my rescue. In the course of six months living in the house I had water heater problems(slow response from property manager), ant invasion, bad window hinges(painted hinges) that cause me to accidentally break a window. Basically, I paid good money for a bad rental because I was in a hurry. The water pipe burst outside my house on the day I was leaving for Singapore as well. Insane. The property manager was a Samoan guy who's looking after the house for an overseas investor. Not a very nice guy. Always on the offensive. So my husband took over all dealings with him. The last straw was when he terminated my one year lease prematurely and said it's ending in three days time and he's raising the rent. The letter of termination came on a Friday. So we immediately went to look for a new accommodation and found it. We told him we are honouring his letter to terminate our rental and we're moving. The next day, he said the email was a mistake and it's an automated email. He said he was sorry. How can a company's automated email be signed in ink? I had it really. Tenancy Services said I have a strong case. The property manager attempt to bully my husband over the phone, but of course to no avail. Luckily everything is in black and white! This is still ongoing. Not sure what will happen, we'll see.

    Let this be a cautionary tale for future immigrants. Read your contract, check the house thoroughly, beware of bad property managers and landlords. I had one good landlord and one bad one, hopefully the next one will be a good one.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Vietnam
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Thanks for the useful post and wish you best of luck in your next home rental.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Thanks for your inputs. Quite useful read.

    Jerry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    81

    Default

    Thanks. Could you suggest which area are you talking about.
    I am moving soon from Singapore, hence ur post is very useful

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    73

    Default

    Hi Harmon, West Auckland is Waitakere City. Suburbs like Henderson (convienent, parts of it) , Te Atatu Peninsula (close to the sea but not that cheap), Te Atatu South (nice homely feel), West Harbour (new and neat) , Massey( new ) are my preferred suburbs. When you rent, you have to turn on all your six senses, look at the surroundings(vandalism, hoarders). West Auckland is a melting pot of different races so not too different from Singapore in this aspect.

    Also, best if you rent a house that is fully insulated (ceiling, floor and walls), heatpump, double glazed windows. This will save you alot of $$$ on utility bills especially during winter! This type of house is very rare so give and take. All the best!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Sorry to hear about your experience Singapura cat!
    Yeah I do agree with you that good housing is actually quite hard to find in Auckland, especially one that actually justifies the price that you're paying!

    I guess my advice to potential home searchers is to take your time to look through more properties, keep a list of pros and cons for each home and figure out what are some of the stuff you're willing to forgo. Location might be a big factor in your decision but you should also consider how well the house is built. It's not fun to go home at the end of the day to a damp and cold house!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Vietnam
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Talking about Insulation, I bumped into this project on the Internet

    http://www.warmupnz.co.nz/auckland/

    They provide free insulation for houses in Auckland. Has anyone tried this?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Would the kids be better off growing up in NZ or SG? I have a young toddler and it seems rather stressful for him, even at a young age. Tuition, swimming, etc. Are the educational system there as competitive?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    73

    Red face

    Kengarulz, right. Returning home to a a cold house is no fun at all but I'm home whole day with a baby! The fireplace became a indispensable need and I feel like a peasant from the 18th century :/ They should have a law that makes it mandatory for rental properties by overseas investors be 100% insulated and rewired!

    Thanks arthoang for info regarding "WARM UP AUCKLAND". That is really helpful to know. Well, if the property manager was nice, I could have applied and get his house insulated for FREE! But, it's too late, I'm moving out this week, too bad.

    Kirito, regarding the issue of kids... most of the immigrants told me that NZ is a haven for children. Kids enjoy school here because they get to play without all the crazy exam stress. They are more easy-going here! However, I might bring my baby back to Singapore for schooling. It's my personal view that there is nothing wrong with the educational system in Singapore. But, there's alot of problem with the parents... too much comparing and pushing their child because they are afraid that their kid will be deemed stupid. If I do go back, I will bring the NZ spirit back with me and let my child do team sports, art , enjoy nature etc etc... Now, I'm still enjoying motherhood with my baby, something that will be impossible in Singapore because everyone will expect me to go back to work after 4 months. We live a simple frugal life here and we are happy.
    Last edited by Singapura Cat; 28th October 2015 at 05:34 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Singapura Cat View Post
    Kengarulz, right. Returning home to a a cold house is no fun at all but I'm home whole day with a baby! The fireplace became a indispensable need and I feel like a peasant from the 18th century :/ They should have a law that makes it mandatory for rental properties by overseas investors be 100% insulated and rewired!

    Thanks arthoang for info regarding "WARM UP AUCKLAND". That is really helpful to know. Well, if the property manager was nice, I could have applied and get his house insulated for FREE! But, it's too late, I'm moving out this week, too bad.

    Kirito, regarding the issue of kids... most of the immigrants told me that NZ is a haven for children. Kids enjoy school here because they get to play without all the crazy exam stress. They are more easy-going here! However, I might bring my baby back to Singapore for schooling. It's my personal view that there is nothing wrong with the educational system in Singapore. But, there's alot of problem with the parents... too much comparing and pushing their child because they are afraid that their kid will be deemed stupid. If I do go back, I will bring the NZ spirit back with me and let my child do team sports, art , enjoy nature etc etc... Now, I'm still enjoying motherhood with my baby, something that will be impossible in Singapore because everyone will expect me to go back to work after 4 months. We live a simple frugal life here and we are happy.
    Thank you for the information. I agree with you that there are too many comparisons and kids tend to get pushed to their limits most often than not. Probably another factor for baby boys are National Service. I would prefer that my kid doesn't go through it.

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