Seeing pictures of an apartment online can give you a great idea of what a place is like but seeing it with your own eyes is infinitely better. Unfortunately, these visits can be tricky: You are pressed for time and so is your real estate agent and so is the landlord. You might have a quick look and think to yourself “This is nice, I’ll take it!” But when you move in, you realize all the little things that are wrong. Something you could have avoided if you had asked the right questions.
Along with taking some notes, pictures or even a small video of each place, here are 50 essential questions to ask when renting a flat or house in Saigon.
1. Noise level: What’s in the area? Are they any bars that play loud music or maybe or a Karaoke place next door?
2. Is there currently (or will there be) construction nearby?
3. What are the neighbors like?
4. What does the apartment like at night? Do you feel safe?
5. Is there a history of theft or crime?
6. Is the apartment’s location suitable for your daily needs?
7. Is the building in a flood zone?
8. Is the apartment located in Saigon’s worst traffic jam locations?
9. Pet policy: What kinds are allowed? Can they circulate the building?
10. Re-Decoration policy: Can you arrange the place to your taste? What if you plan to paint the walls, will the landlord help with the costs?
11. Door locks: Do they seem solid? Can you make copies of the keys?
12. Do windows have locks or bars?
13. Storage: Is there enough room for all of your stuff?
14. Curtains: Do all the windows have curtains, particularly in the bedroom?
15. Is the kitchen working area big enough for you?
16. Are there enough cupboards in the kitchen?
17. Are any of the faucets in the kitchen or bathroom leaking? What about the toilet and shower?
18. How is the water pressure in the shower? In the kitchen sink?
19. How is the hot water?
20. Is a washing machine (or use of one) included? Are there any associated fees?
21. Does the place come fully furnished or not?
22. Are the appliances in good working conditions?
23. Is the number of pots and pans enough? How about the cutlery?
24. Is the number and strength of the air conditioning units enough for the apartment’s surface?
25. Is the Wi-Fi fast enough?
26. Are there enough electrical outlets for your needs?
27. What exactly is included in the rent?
28. Are there any management fees?
29. Are there building quiet hours or fees for using communal spaces?
30. Are there service elevator fees when you move your belongings into the apartment?
31. What is the average monthly price of the electricity and water bills if they are not included in the rent?
32. How much is the deposit, as well as what are the conditions to get it back?
33. Is there an ideal length for the rental agreement? Will the landlord lower the price if you respect it
34. Which roommates will be held responsible if rent is not paid on time?
35. When is the rent due each month and how should you pay it?
36. Is the rent to be paid in VND or USD?
37. What is the estimated rent increase for long-term rentals?
38. Is there a subletting policy?
39. What’s the parking situation and are there any additional costs?
40. Is there a guest policy? Can you have visitors at any time of the day?
41. How many people can live in the house?
42. What are the policies about listing on Airbnb?
43. Who are the people to reach for any repairs or emergency?
44. How do you handle emergency repairs?
45. Is there a smoke alarm and are there any easy escape routes in case of fire?
46. What happens if I need to break the lease?
47. What are my options for lease renewal?
48. Is the rent prorated in half months?
49. Are there plans to make any updates to the apartment complex during the lease?
50. Is the owner of the apartment planning to sell during the lease period and how will the sale affect your contract?
Unfortunately, housing scams are the norm in Ho Chi Minh City. But armed with this list, you will be able to ask the right questions when viewing a flat or house and avoid the many usual pitfalls that can affect a tenant.
For more renting tips in Ho Chi Minh City, download our FREE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO HOUSING IN SAIGON.