Frequently Asked Qusetions

House Search

  What kind of support could I get from HKUST in house searching?

The Off-Campus Housing Section, Student Housing and Residential Life, HKUST services focused on the provision of rental information and connect students to relevant resources. Student could seek house search advice and we also maintain a online platform for landlords, agents, and students themselves to advertise their options to students. Activities such as renting talks and flat visiting will be organized regularly for students to join.

  What type of housing is available in Hong Kong?

There are varieties of housing alternatives for your reference.

Serviced Apartments are available in town in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Usually they are for rental on a monthly basis. Size of the apartments varies, from studio type to large apartments of 2 or 3-bedrooms. They are less expensive than hotels but more expensive than rental flats. Serviced apartments are fully furnished, with attached bathrooms and pantry/kitchenette. Housekeeping service is also available.

Hotels / Guest Houses. There are low-cost hotels or guest houses in areas such as Tsim Sha Tsui, Yau Mai Tei and Mong Kok. Rooms have attached bathrooms and are fully furnished. Housekeeping service is provided; cooking facilities are not. Some hotels or guest houses will give special rate for long-term stay. At least two modes of public transportation will be required for each trip to and from campus.

Dormitory / Hostels is usually more expensive than rental flats but less expensive than hotels. Rooms are for short-term or long-term stay, subject to availability. Rooms usually have attached bathroom and are fully furnished. Most do not have self cooking facilities, though some may have a pantry or kitchenette for communal use. Payment is on a daily basis, while some will offer special rate for long-term stay on a monthly basis.

Rental flats are usually in high-rise buildings or 3-storey high village houses. There are small rental flats of 350 – 700 sq ft, with 2 bedrooms, a sitting room, kitchen and bathrooms in the vicinity of the campus. Some are within walking distance while others will require one or two modes of public transportation. Very often, the landlord will only provide basic fittings such as air-conditioners and kitchen equipments. Furniture items are usually not provided, though some may have basic items such as beds and wardrobes. You will need to enter into a tenancy agreement with the landlord if you decide to rent a flat. Usually the agreement is for 1-2 years, while some landlords are willing to have a shorter agreement. It is a common practice that the tenant is required to pay a one or two-month rental deposit and advanced rent, and pay for own utility consumption such as electricity, water and gas.

  Do I need a property agent to rent a flat?

To ensure that an apartment could be rented for use, you are reminded that a housing agent, who is licensed by the Estate Agents Authority (EAA) for renting flat, should be appointed. Through agent’s assistance, you may receive legal advice and update market information subject to personal needs and requirements. Commission fee will be charged.

  • You can check here to see if the agent you appoint holds a valid license issued by EAA.
  • You may be at risk of any wrong handling in the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement and negotiations if you deal with landlords directly or via agents without license.
  • You may visit here to look at the FAQ section of EAA website for more information. You may also read their renting guide for non-local students which give you basic knowledge of renting a flat in Hong Kong.
  How much comission would I need to pay the agent?

A common practice to pay half of a month’s rental as commission but the law has no stipulations on the amount or the rate of commission an property agent is entitled to. It is subject to negotiation between you and your appointed estate agent.

  What do I need to pay attention to for flat visits?

When you visit a flat, you should be reminded that:

  • Do not conduct the flat visit alone.

  • Go with your friends and family so that you can get second opinion from them.

  • Choose 2-3 accommodations for inspection each time as you may get confused if you see too many.

  • Consider the night safety of the neighbourhood.

  • Property agents may require you to sign the “Agency Agreement for Leasing of Residential Properties in Hong Kong (Form 6)” which legally oblige tenant to pay commission to the appointed estate agent whenever a purchase is made within a period of time.

  • Check carefully the terms and conditions before you sign any documents from the agents.

  • After you have signed the Agency Agreement for Leasing of Residential Properties in Hong Kong with one property agent to view flat, you need to make sure you do not view the same flat through other agents, or you may have to pay all agents who have assisted you.

  • Check if there is reception of internet service in the building, and whether there are internet socket installed in the flat as well.

  • Observe the conditions / usability of:

    • External wall;

    • Interior furnishing;

    • Water supply;

    • Electricity supply;

    • Gas supply;

    • Leakage of water from wall, ceiling and pipes;

    • Kitchen and washroom;

    • Communal facilities, like clubhouse, firecases etc.

    • If there is any unauthorized alteration.

Tenancy Matters

  How do I get my tenancy agreement stamped?

If you rent through agent, he/she will help you to complete the whole process. Otherwise, you may click here for detail procedure

  What is the consequence of not stamping a tenancy agreement?

An unstamped tenancy agreement shall not be admitted as evidence in civil proceedings, which means a party cannot enforce an unstamped tenancy agreement even if the other party is in breach of the unstamped tenancy agreement. Government have the right to take civil action to claim any outstanding stamp duty from the landlord and the tenant who are responsible for stamping the tenancy agreement.

  What if I plan to share the accommodation with my friend/other students?

Make sure that you always get permission from the landlord first. If there is an explicit clause on the tenancy agreement indicating that sublet is not allowed, you should remember to negotiate with the agent or Landlord to cross it out and add signatures of the landlord and tenant in the margin near it. The one signing the tenancy is responsible for paying the rent and any breaches of the agreement. If you do not wish to assume sole liability, all persons living there should sign the agreement.

  What should I pay attention when finding shared accommodation?

If you find through students who is currently renting an apartment, make sure existing tenancy agreement allowing them to sublet the accommodation or they could show you a written consent from landlord allowing them to do so.

  Could I terminate my tenancy before expiration?

Early termination may be possible with the existence of a valid break clause on the agreement. Otherwise, both the landlord and the tenant cannot terminate the tenancy before its expiration unless either of them has breached the vital terms of the agreement (e.g. the tenant fails to pay rent or the landlord illegally re-enters the property).

Daily Living

  Whom should I seek help for defects and damages after moving in?
  • Report to the landlord once you find any defects or damages.

  • Do not fix anything without prior consent of the landlord.

  • Liaise with landlords on the responsibilities and charges for making good.

  • Try to keep the flat in good order.