How to Successfully Negotiate a Lease Agreement


Before you sign any Lease Agreement, make sure you consider carefully all of your requirements fully and ask your property consultant 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 landlord in case of dispute.

How to Successfully Negotiate a Lease Agreement

Lease Term

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

1.If the property compound which you choose is very hot and popular in Shanghai (usually your agent will tell you), and your assignment in China is longer than one year, then we suggest that you negotiate a two year lease term with break clause in order to prevent the rental from increasing in the 2nd year.

2.If your assignment in China is one year or less, then we suggest you to sign a one year lease with break clause in order to prevent early termination and unnecessary deposit loss. However, sometimes this short team lease may be unfavourable by the landlord who will then ask for a higher or less negotiable price, or it may become more diffcult to negotiate your additional requirements.

Damage and Compensation

You are not suggested to drill holes in the walls to hang up any pictures or fx 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 offce to come over and do such things.

Also, please do not re-decorate the house or change the wall color without the landlord's prior 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.


Terms of rental usually include the property management fee, governmental heating fees and taxes and certain other items. However the following fees could also be negotiated into the rental price depending your company's housing policy and if it allows such items to be included in the rental.

Installation and Monthly Usage Fee, Utilities Fee (usually there is limit), Garden Maintenance Fee (only applicable to villas), Satellite TV Fee (please reference the above Satellite TV part), Parking Fees and others.

Club Membership

A club membership and usage of the facilities at your compounds club house is not "automatically" an integrated part of the rental and usually needs to be negotiated with the landlord. Normally, a family membership card of any club house only admits two adults and one child under 14 year of age. If you have additional family members that you would like to bring there will be extra costs associated which must be negotiated with landlord into the lease before it is signed.

Be aware that some of the facilities in some clubs, such as tennis or swimming pool are provided to members requesting an extra usage fee that usually should be born by the tenant themselves. Make sure you clarify this point with your property consultant.

Replace Furniture and Buy New Furniture

If the property you choose is unfurnished or you would like to ask the landlord to change some of the existing furniture you should consider the following points. If you don't pay attentions to these items many arguments may arise during the purchasing of the furniture or you may have troubles getting your deposit back.

1.Make sure that the contract clearly lists all the items you want to buy.

2.Make sure that you negotiate enough "furniture budget" and put the budget into the contract. Usually for an unfurnished property an amount equal to 1/2 - 3 months rental price should be suffcient to buy all the furniture, electrical appliances and curtains.

3.Never buy any furniture without the landlord's permission. It is better to let the landlord go with you to buy all the furniture, and let the landlord pay for it since the furniture will ultimately belong to the landlord.

4.If the landlord doesn't have time and gives all the money to you to buy the furniture, try to finish all the purchasing within one month and keep all the receipts.

5.Be timely to ask both the agent and landlord to fll in the fnal furniture check list and make sure both you and your landlord sign the fnal furniture list.

Back-up Plan

Once you fnd a satisfactory home, and you should take your time to fnd some place that REALLY suits you, a quick decision on that home and signature on the contract will help you to secure it. The Shanghai market is quite active and you may keep the phrase in mind "snooze you lose". We also recommend that during your home search, you should prepare at least 2-3 back up properties in case your 1st choice doesn't work out.

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