How to Rent a House in Malaysia
Updated: Jul 28
The house hunting process is an arduous one. I’ve had prospects who asked me about the renting process in Malaysia. If this is your first time renting a house or you’re looking for a house to rent? This article is for you.
I’ll advice to start searching for the new house about one to two months early. Here are the popular property portals and sites to search for properties in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For residential use, there are landed terrace houses, townhouses, apartments, condominiums, semi-detacheds, and bungalows.
Sizes and dimensions
I know some countries measure their properties in square meters. In Malaysia, we measure our properties in square feets. Properties can come in sizes of 300 square feets, 800 square feets, 1600 square feets, and so forth. The sizes are then broken down into dimensions, such as 18x65, 20x70, 23x80, etc. This is usually used to measure the dimensions of the land area of the landed houses.
Furnishings and car parks
In terms of furnishings, houses usually either come:
partially furnished, or
Unfurnished houses usually come with fans, lights, and kitchen countertops only. In some houses, you might even find water heaters and airconds in the house.
If the houses are partially furnished, they’ll usually also have built-in wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, washing machine, and refrigerator. These are in addition to the fans, lights, airconds, and water heaters in the house. You’ll have to move in your own bedroom, living room, and dining room furnitures, and other furnitures.
Fully furnished means that the house is in move-in condition. The living room, dining room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom furnitures are already provided in the house, by the landlord. You do not need to buy any more heavy furnitures when moving in.
So, if a house is fully furnished, is the internet included in the rental? In some instances, the modem and router are provided, but the internet service is not included in the rental. You, the tenant, will have to get your own internet connection set up and pay for the internet service on your own. If you’re going to rent a condominium unit, you should check what internet service providers are available. The common service providers there are Unifi, TIME, and Maxis.
As for the provision of car parks in condominiums, usually the unit would come included with at least one car park. If you need additional parking bays, you can try to rent from the condominium management or from another owner in the condominium. Rental of parking bays can be found on the condominium notice boards or online.
Now, if you’ve pets — what about them? It is advisable to check with the owners if they are okay with having pets in the house. If the property happens to be a condominium unit, you should also check with the management if it is a pet-friendly condo.
So, you would like to view a few houses. Usually before a house viewing is arranged, the landlords would want to know the tenant’s profile:
How many people are staying: family-only or with friends. If it is a family — how many kids?
Start date of the tenancy
Real estate agents would filter through and ensure the tenant’s profile meets the landlord’s requirements.
Fees and costs
You’ve viewed a few houses, narrowed down your search to one house, negotiated on the rental, and are ready to sign the agreements. Here are the fees and costs to take into account when renting a house in Malaysia.
The standard practice is that the real estate agent’s fees are borne by the landlord. It doesn’t matter whether there’s a one agent or two agents representing both parties.
As the tenant, you should prepare the following, and they are quite standard in Malaysia:
1 month of advance rental
2 months of security deposit
1 month of utility deposit
RM100 +/- for the tenancy fees and stamping. This amount follows a scale set by the agency.
For example, if the rental is $1,000:
$1,000 which is equivalent to 1 month of advance rental
$2,000 which is 2 months of security deposit
$1,000 which is 1 month of utility deposit
$100 for the tenancy fees and stamping, in this example
Hence, in total, you’ve to pay $4100 upfront to rent a $1000 property.
If you’re going through a real estate agent. The 1 month of advance rental, tenancy fees, and stamping fees are paid to the real estate agency’s client account as the earnest deposit or booking for the rental of the house.
The standard practice is that the balance 2 months security deposit and 1 month utility deposit are to be paid to the landlord upon the signing of the tenancy agreement and before move-in day. These are refundable deposits and should be refunded to you at the end of the tenancy, after deducting any damages, and outstanding bills (if any). In the event of any clarifications and dispute, refer back to your tenancy agreement on the clauses and consult a lawyer for advice.
Tenancy Agreement and Documents
Landlords like stability and tenants who rent for the long term. In practice, it is usually a minimum period of 1 year tenancy. There’s the option to rent 1+1, which means 1 year tenancy with the option to renew for another 1 year.
If the tenancy period is below 3 years, it is termed as a tenancy. Then, if the tenancy period is more than 3 years, it is termed as a lease.
Upon signing the agreement to rent (booking form) and tenancy agreement, you’ll need to provide the following documents:
If you’re a Malaysian citizen: National Registration Identification Card (NRIC)
If you’re a non-Malaysian: passport and valid work visa or valid student visa (if you’re studying)
After signing the agreement to rent, the next document to sign is the tenancy agreement (TA). The tenancy agreement should be stamped and it is for government records.
Sometimes, the tenancy agreement can get very technical and very wordy for the layman’s understanding. If you’re unsure about the legal jargons and terms in the tenancy agreement, consult your real estate agent or a lawyer for advice.
Move-in day and vacant possession
Finally, the move-in day. You’ll be given the keys to the house and the access cards if it is a condominium unit. There can be two types of access cards:
Car park access card, and
Lift access card
If you’re going to stay in a condominium and you’re moving in heavy furnitures, you should check with the condominium management on when is the suitable time periods for the furnitures to be moved-in. Usually it is between 9-to-5 on weekdays, and half-day on Saturdays only.
Watch on YouTube about house hunting in Kuala Lumpur. I hope this guide helps you in your house hunting and renting journey in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.