There are 4 housing options for you to choose in general: as with most cities, private apartments and villas are readily available, but there are two types of properties that differentiate Shanghai. They are as follows:
• Serviced Apartment - Serviced apartments are typically managed by the developer itself or an asset management company, although provide a high standard of service and are usually priced much higher but with many items already included in the rental price. The facilities and services provided are usually compared to hotels which will usually be flexible in lease terms, provide bedding, kitchen utensils, hotline call service, etc. Developer owned serviced apartments are owned wholly by the developer, and have a 24hr onsite service and reception area. Serviced apartments owned by asset management companies are usually not wholly owned and don’t have the same comprehensive service as the developer properties. They provide a call out service number to deal with any issues in the apartment, and are usually cheaper to rent than the developer owned serviced apartments.
• Lane House - There is one particular type of property that is archetypal of Shanghai, which is called the “Lao Yang Fang” in Chinese or Old House in English. It is a type of historic building that was built during 1920-1940 and is mainly located in the former French Concession (the city center). Most of these old properties have been newly renovated and have charming characteristic’s and fantastic qualities. These older properties obviously have much older infrastructures than newer apartments and in some of the properties the old water drainage systems and electrical wiring of the house may cause some problems from time to time. Furthermore, the local environment could present itself as an adventure in terms of communication with neighbours, privacy and bugs which could cause some inconvenience.That being said, these old properties are highly desired & sought after by expats and the majority of them are renovated to a very high standard.
It is important to discuss with your property consultant before you decide where to locate your family based on your housing budget, office location, children’s school and other preferences.
No, you can lease a property without a residence permit. But if you are staying here for an extended period of time, you must apply for it. JRE provides our own Visa service, which covers the whole process of obtaining you a Visa, work & Resident permit and arranging your health check.
For more information on this service and the related fees, please contact our Visa Service on +86 021-5228-5528 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
There is an abundance of property information on varied real estate agency’s websites, however, due to China’s special market practice, some points need your attention to avoid any misunderstanding or confusion when you are reviewing these websites:
1) Price including package:
The prices on the agency’s website are usually net prices, which do not include management fee, tax, club fees, etc. However, when we sign the contract with landlords, those items are usually covered in the rental, so the prices on the website are generally lower. This is also to attract individual customers from the agency’s marketing perspective.
2) Unstable prices for some private owners:
Some private landlords may change their quotation/expected prices because of personal reasons, such as they want to rent out the properties quickly, in which case they will agree to lower the rental; or if they have received many agencies interest, they may consider increasing the rent as they believe their properties are very popular in the market.
So the actual prices need to be finally negotiated with the landlord through the property consultants based on expats' requirements. The price on the website is mainly for reference.
3) Availability and Non-solely authorized:
In Shanghai, most of the landlords authorise their properties to different agency’s, so that they have more chance to rent out their properties, meaning property availability has to be updated continuously, especially during the peak seasons of the leasing market. In China, none of the real estate agency’s can guarantee their website/advertisements are exact in keeping the same pace with the changing market, as it is rare for "solely authorised properties" to any of the agencies.
4) JRE’s Website:
Prices on the JRE website usually only include the management fee and taxfee.
JRE is always working hard to keep our property information on the website up to date. The registration date is seen beside the property pictures, with the most recent dates meaning that there is more possibility that the property is still available. JRE’s housing data management system and internal database automatically update the website daily and contain a huge number if properties for you to choose from. Be aware, some Real Estate Agency’s advertise false information and fake photos of properties to entice you into a viewing, but will then show you completely different properties.
You do not need to pay for our service. The landlord will pay an agency fee once the lease agreement is signed.
The standard voltage in China is 220V at 50Hz and the sockets have both 3 prong & 2 prong connections. Adapters for all electrical appliances are readily available in China, so you should have no concerns regarding bringing any of your own electrical appliances, e.g. Laptops, phones etc. into the country. Alternatively, most universal adapters purchased abroad should work just as well.
The main broadband operator in Shanghai is China Telecom which is a state-owned company. Normally the network speed in Shanghai can be 10 mb/s to 50 mb/s. If the district has fiber optic resources, the speed can be upward of 100 mb/s depending on your package.
If you can't browse some foreign websites or the download speed is too slow, there might be 2 reasons: One is problem of the network or the website itself. The other reason is due to the policy in China that the Chinese government blocks some websites. If you want to browse popular Western websites, normally you will need to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which are readily available online and aren't very expensive. Expect to pay anywhere from 50-100 USD for a 1 year VPN connection.
To save energy resources and protect the environment, the government has started to implement multistep water and electricity prices; basically the consumption of water and electricity has been divided into 3 stages, the unit price increases in different stages, details as below:
• First Stage: When water consumption is 240 cubic meters or below, the water price is RMB 3.50 per cubic meter
• Second Stage: When water consumption ranges from 240 to 300 cubic meters, the water price is RMB 4.10 per cubic meter
• Third Stage: When the water consumption is above 300 cubic meters, the water price is RMB 4.95 per cubic meter
• First Stage: When the electricity consumption is within 3120 degrees (including), the electricity price is RMB 0.617 per kilowatt from 6am-10pm, RMB 0.307 per kilowatt from 10pm-6am
• Second Stage: When the electricity consumption ranges from 3120 to 4800 degrees (including), the electricity price is RMB 0.677 per kilowatt from 6am-10pm, RMB0.337 per kilowatt from 10pm-6am
• Third Stage：When the electricity consumption is above 4800 degrees, the electricity price is RMB 0.977 per kilowatt from 6am-10pm, RMB0.487 per kilowatt from 10pm-6am
So far the gas company hasn’t started to use this multistep way to charge, so the gas unit price is the same no matter how much it is consumed. There is a strong possibility this same system will be implemented for the gas readings in the near future.
These can be fitted to showers, kitchen & toilet taps etc. upon negotiation with the landlord.
Black out curtains
These can be fitted in addition to existing curtains if you require the rooms to be darker.
Bedding & kitchen
Bedding & Kitchen utensils are usually never supplied by the individual landlord. These can be purchased at most large outlets & retailers for very reasonable prices.
Dish washers are rarely used in Chinese homes, so check the property has one if required, or ask your consultant to negotiate with the landlord to have one installed.
Ovens are also rarely used in China, so again, check the property has one if required, or ask your consultant to negotiate with the landlord to have one installed.
These are essential to have on most windows throughout the summer months, especially if you are on the lower floors, so ensure that the property has these fitted.
Washing machines in China 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. Ask your consultant to let the landlord know. Dryers are not common place either, so again, request one if necessary or check the property has one installed on your viewing.
DVD Players & Discs
If you wish to use the original discs purchased abroad not all Chinese local production DVD players will play these discs due to a different country code here, so you may consider bringing a machine from your home country where the discs are purchased. For locally purchased pirated DVDs it would be best to purchase a local brand of DVD player. These cheaper machines will usually play most pirated discs whereas if you buy a popular brand such as Sony it may not play the pirate discs well.
The weather in Shanghai is quite hot in the summer (up to and sometimes above 40 degrees Celsius) while rather cold in the winter (0 to -5 degrees Celsius but with very little snow). There are several kinds of air conditioning and heating system used in Shanghai. It is recommended that you check all the air conditioning units in a property before moving in to make sure they are working perfectly and also request for them to be cleaned so as they function properly.
In China mattresses tend to be quite firm. Please ensure that your JRE consultant is made aware of the type of mattress you and your family will require, in order to have a comfortable sleep so that we may try to negotiate this for you. Also you may like to inspect the item personally before it is ordered; as the term “soft” is relative and mattress comfort is based on personal choice.
Many people may feel surprised to find that the rental prices may be so different for the same type of property shown by different agents. This may leave people quite confused about whose quotation is correct, and even after move-in, they may find their neighbours rent is lower than theirs. Here are some points to be considered when judging rental prices.
1) Different landlords
Some landlords are very eager to start getting returns on their property investments while others may be waiting only for an “ideal” tenant and be content just to watch the property price increase and keep the unit in good condition where it may be liquidated quickly should they want to cash out. Every landlord will have different expectations, some reasonable and some not.
Compound/Property location plays a very important role in the rental price. If the compounds are downtown, or popular areas frequented by expats the price usually is much higher.
3) Floor level
Higher floors usually have better views of the city and more natural light, so the price is usually more expensive.
4) Property condition including furniture/appliances/decoration
If the property has good-quality furniture and decoration, with good brand appliances, or with a garden (for villas), the rental will be higher.
Note: We highly recommend visiting the property in person before signing the lease, as photos and written information of properties will never usually live up to your expectations when you eventually see the property.
Usually the standard leasing term for a typical contract is one year, but you may wish to consider the following during your negotiations:
• 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 a break clause in order to prevent the rental from increasing in the 2nd year.
• If your assignment in China 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 team 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.
• 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 better have your consultant carefully check the early break clauses of the lease for items which may cause you discomfort while you are living there.
The landlord will be entitled to compensation normally equal to two months rental. In practice this normally means that you will lose your deposit. It is always worth trying to negotiate the amount of compensation with the landlord and most landlords are willing to forego claims for compensation if the tenant introduces a new tenant who takes over the lease on the same terms.
The standard terms in Shanghai are equal to two months rental as deposit and the first month’s rental in advance, although this may vary. The deposit is to be refunded in full on expiry of the lease (subject to the tenant returning the property and its' attached equipment in good condition, and all charges that should be paid under the lease having been paid).
The fees for water, electricity, gas, telephone and internet should be paid by the tenant, and can be paid at any local convenience stores or relevant offices of the water/electricity companies. Many company’s property consultants may only inform the tenant of what is included in the rental fee but not clearly explain what the tenant themselves should pay. This may cause confusion, so be sure to ask your consultant clearly what you are responsible for paying.
Some compounds only offer a “commercial rate” for electricity, water and gas. These rates are more expensive than the typical “residential rate” for the same utilities. You should always have your consultant check with the property management office and advise you on the pricing for your comparison before making any property choices. The floor heating installed in some homes will also add an extra utility cost or will increase your gas consumption. Some compounds charge rather high fees for air conditioner usage.
If any maintenance problems occur with the property, e.g. electrical, plumbing, heating problems, usually the building management will take care of it, and your consultant will make sure you have the contact number for the building management. Regarding any problems or issues with appliances needing replaced, the landlord or your contract, you can contact your JRE consultant and we will aim to resolve any issues quickly and efficiently.
We are aware that most electrical equipment in properties will be in Chinese, e.g. air conditioning, washing machine etc. and your JRE consultant will show you how to use all of these appliances and even translate the instructions for you for your reference and ease of use.