Moving to a new country can be a stressful experience.
And the most stressful part is usually when it’s time to find your accommodation. Very likely your new country will have different laws and most won’t have the same tenant protections you’re used to. But that’s part of the adventure right?
And since you find your way here I assume you’re apartment hunting in Vietnam.
First let me say congratulations! Vietnam is a wonderful country and she’s been my home for many years now. But living in Vietnam can sometimes be adventurous and frustrating. Unfortunately also when trying to find an apartment.
But fear not! Over the years I’ve signed several apartment leases and by now I know what to look out for. And the good news is I’ve decided to share my experiences with you in this article.
Welcome to my guide how to sign an apartment lease in Vietnam!
How To Sign An Apartment Lease In Vietnam
First, make sure your landlord gives you a contract in both English and Vietnamese. And it may be a good idea to have a local friend review the Vietnamese contract since only that copy is legally binding. The easiest way is to use your Smartphone to take photos of each page and email them to your friend. That’s what I’ve done in the past and it’s always worked out fine.
The deposit is always an important topic when you sign an apartment lease in Vietnam and most likely will cause the most stress.
First, for a 12 months contract you should never pay more than one months deposit. Some landlords will want more and if that happens you’ll need to negotiate. There are no laws in Vietnam saying you’ll need to give two months deposit for a 12 months lease (which some landlords will claim).
In addition you’re entitled to get your deposit back if you’re moving out early. Make sure there’s a term for that in the contract. If you break the lease early you’ll need to give your landlord plenty of notice before doing so. One month is standard and you can offer to help finding a new tenant to make the negotiations smoother.
Finally, carefully review the terms regulating the return of the deposit. Make sure it’s stated that normal wear and tear should be acceptable and not affect the deposit.
Another thing to note are the utilities such as electricity and water. Most landlords include water in the rent but electricity is often not. The electricity should cost roughly $3,500 VND/Kwh and the monthly bill for a one bedroom condo should be around 1 Million VND. If your bill is substantially higher than something may be wrong. Ask your landlord to see the meter to verify that the usage is correct.
Other fees you should clarify are management fees, parking, internet, maid and laundry. Maid services are often included but laundry is often not. At my current place the laundry cost 8,000 VND per kilo which is a fair price.
In addition, make sure there’s a something in the contract about landlord repairs. It should state that the landlord should repair all damages in a timely manner.
Finally, if you’re planning to have overnight guests (for example your girlfriend/boyfriend), it may be a good idea to include a term stating that overnight guests are allowed. However most landlords are pretty relaxed about this and I’ve never had any issues.
On the move in day there are a few things to keep in mind.
- It’s very important to have a walk through with your landlord and have him/her write down any visible damages. Also check the aircondition, kitchen appliances and the TV. Finally make sure all the furniture and appliances mentioned in the contract is actually in the apartment. It may even be a good idea to take some photos.
- I also recommend that you check the electricity meter and write it down. Like I mentioned above, check it again if your bill is higher than normal.
- The landlord will ask for your passport to register you with the police. This is normal procedure and you’ll get your passport back after a few days.
Some shady landlords will try to delay paying back the deposit especially if they know you’re leaving the country. This is a sneaky way for them to try to keep the deposit.
You should never ever accept this. Stay firm and politely ask to speak with their manager. If all else fails threaten with the police or that you’ll write them a bad review. This has happened a few times to some friends but they always managed to get the deposit back in the end.
Did you like reading my article how to sign an apartment lease in Vietnam?
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