Serviced Apartments in Hong Kong City
Hong Kong returned to the People's Republic of China after 150 years of colonial rule, on 30 June 1997. Now it enjoys the status of a special administrative territory of China with a high degree of sovereignty. The land retains its own social, legal and economic systems, with no substantial change in lifestyle.
The land comprises four main areas - the Hong Kong Island, the New Territories, Kowloon and the Outlying Islands. Kowloon and the New Territories lie on a peninsula of mainland of China, on the northern part of Victoria Harbour. Hong Kong Island lies on the southern side of the Victoria Harbour facing Kowloon. The Outlying Islands comprise 234 islands. The New Territories share a border of 20 km with China proper. Hong Kong is one of the largest cities in the world. It has lots of things going on and a lot to explore.
Renting an apartment in the city can be a complicated and difficult choice. Serviced apartments are a great choice for those moving into Hong Kong for the first time. A wide range of serviced apartments are available in Hong Kong, from basic amenities to luxury lifestyle type accommodation. They provide you with comfort and convenience while you spend time hunting for the perfect home.
Serviced apartments are a great substitute for long hotel stays if you are in Hong Kong for a temporary stay but want to enjoy the comfort of your own space. You don't have to commit to a lengthy contract. You can just rent by the week, month or year. Everything you need for a comfortable living will be there for you to start your new life in the city, without the trouble of buying furniture and appliances.
Most serviced apartments in Hong Kong are leased out in good unfurnished decorative condition, but appliances which may include cookers, refrigerators, washing and drying machines, dishwashers and air-conditioners are not usually provided. Soft furnishings such as carpets and curtains are often provided. Air-conditioners are indispensable for comfortable stay in summer and you will have to install them, if not provided by the landlord.
Serviced apartments offering excellent facilities are available for short lease periods of three months or longer. The rentals for these short periods are comparatively higher. Rentals are payable in Hong Kong dollars monthly in advance.
Deposits are usually equivalent to two or three months' rental. They are payable to the landlord when the lease is accepted. The deposit is held by the landlord without interest, once the tenancy agreement is executed. It is refunded to the tenant on the expiration of the lease. The cost of any damage or maintenance work necessary to the building, other than normal wear and tear, will be deducted from the deposit before repayment.
Most tenancy agreements in Hong Kong are made for a period of two years - often an escape clause is included that gives the tenant the right to end the tenancy on giving two or three months' notice to the landlord after a minimum lease period of 12 to 15 months. The tenant has the right of first option to renew the tenancy after each two-year period of tenancy, at the current market price. Taxes are payable to Government at approximately 5.5% of the annual rental amount. Properties in some districts are subject to a government land rent in addition, which is calculated at 3% of the rental value. These charges are payable by tenant quarterly in advance.
Government Stamp duty is payable on all tenancy agreements. It is payable by the tenant and landlord in equal shares. Management fees are payable by all occupants for communal services provided such as security guards, cleaning and maintenance of common areas. The amount of management fees varies according to the age of the building, the number of units in a building, the nature of amenities or quality of the services provided.
The tenancy agreement is usually provided by the landlord or his solicitor. An initial draft of the deed is presented to the tenant for his approval. The tenant may use the services of a solicitor to review the terms of the lease at his discretion. The legal fees are to be paid each party.
By Wantanee Khamkongkaew
Wantanee Khamkongkaew is an independent author evaluating and commenting on leading International Property Consultants in Asia and Greater China, especially CB Richard Ellis
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