Incomplete statistics from the labor ministry shows a total of more than 80,000 foreigners working in Vietnam as of 2013, of which more than half are in Ho Chi Minh City. These people come from more than 60 countries, including 58 percent from Asia and 28.5 from Europe. And this number has exploded in the last 3 years.
The residential rental market for foreigners is therefore quite developed and there are many housing options to choose from. However, there are several practices that one needs to know before starting their house search, as Vietnam rental market operates quite different from other countries.
Free agent service when searching houses: Customers who look for renting apartment/house will get free services from real estate agents as landlords will be the ones who pay for them once the deal is closed. The agent would normally ask you how much you can spend each month as well as a list of must-haves and preferred locations so that he can narrow down the choices and provide suitable options. In reality, however, each agent has his own network therefore he may try to persuade you into options that don’t quite meet your needs.
After rent services: Some agencies will provide after rent services to offload the administrative burden of tenants, including: temporary residential declaration, facilitation of reoccurring bill payments, point of contact with landlords and house service providers (maid, internet, maintenance, decoration…). However, you should not completely rely on real estate agencies since they may have many customers to take care of or they just simply don’t provide after rent services. The rule of thumb here is to keep in close touch with landlord and learn how to communicate with them effectively.
Pet friendly options: While many apartments, especially serviced apartments don’t allow pets (especially dogs as they are believed to cause more problems than cats), you still can find plenty of options that are pet-friendly in Vietnam. Make sure that you ask for confirmation from both landlord and management board to see whether they allow the pet to use elevator and go around the building or not as sometimes they share different opinions.
Payment Terms: Normal practice of deposit in the long-term rent market is 1 month deposit for serviced apartment, 2 months deposit for apartment and house, 3–5 months deposits for villas and commercial townhouse. Payment, on the other hand, will be settled on monthly basis for service apartment, apartment and townhouse while villas will require the rent to be settled every 2–3 months.
Red Invoice: You need to pay 10% — 12% higher than the original rent for the landlord to issue the red invoice(VAT) for you.
Required Documents: You only need passport and visa to rent a house/ apartment in Vietnam.
Temporary Residential Declaration: Vietnamese law requires foreigners to declare their stay in Vietnam with local police for better management. This should be done as soon as possible so that you can open a bank account or apply for work permit and residence card. More importantly, to avoid getting into troubles in case police conduct mid-night apartment check without prior notice. Most of the landlords support you to do the temporary residential declaration. However it is not always the case so please double check with them or ask your agents for advice before signing the contract.
Taking Back Deposit: It’s quite easy in Vietnam, especially Ho Chi Minh City, for you to get back your deposit at the end of the renting term. Landlords will give you back the deposit within 5–15 days after calculating all the house fixing/renovation costs caused during your stay. Very few cases, however, landlords will not give you back your deposit simply because they don’t want to, then you should try to contact your agent and get them into the conversation. Be patient and hope for the best because government officials will not get involved even if you try to contact them.
Help others to have the best experience like yours: while you are leaving your current house, many others may look for the exact option that you are renting right now. You can share your rent with others by using Hoozing platform and earn some money out of it.