[Landlord Version] The Beginner Finance Guide to Renting Out Your Property in Singapore

Renting out your property sounds like an enviable passive income for all. Just by renting your house, you are getting a stranger to pay off your installments (if you still have a loan) or giving you extra pocket money (if you have fully paid off the unit).

However, for those who are already landlords, you probably know that that’s not the case. There are many hidden expenses associated with renting houses that many do not know.

In this article, we will explore the additional costs that landlords have to deal with before they even think about taking a cut of the rental income.

1. Renovation + Furnishings

Usually, for room rental, you will need to furnish the unit based on the tenant’s request. This may take a large chunk of the rental income, and it would take a good few months of rental income to cover these costs.

However, if you are renting the whole unit, some tenants may prefer to use their own furniture, and you can save the headache of furnishing the place.

2. Property Agent Fees

Upon successful engagement, landlords would have to pay commission to the property agent for the referral and administration work.

Typical Commission

1 year lease = half a month rent

2 year lease = 1 month rent

3. Internet + Water + Gas + Electricity

This is a cost that is dependent on whether you are renting the unit as a whole, or just the room.

If you are renting the entire unit, most likely, these costs are fully borne by the tenants.

However, for those who are renting out only a room, these are costs that you have to pay out of the tenant’s rental.

4. Wear and Tear

Things will spoil or wear down during the tenanted period. It is usually the landlord’s responsibility to upkeep the property to ensure things work during the tenant’s stay. This might also take a huge chuck out of rental income depending on how the tenant upkeep the furnishings.

5. Maintenance Fees

This is a fixed cost regardless of who is staying on the property. Usually, these costs are fully borne by the landlord. Depending on whether you are renting out an HDB or condo, the costs can range from $70 to over $300 a month.

6. Property Tax

If you are renting your second property and more, or are renting out the entire unit, you will need to pay a property tax of up to 20%.

For those who are renting out only rooms in your first property, you still qualify for owner-occupied tax of rates up to 16%.

7. Income Tax

All income generated from renting your property is taxable. It will be added to your total income for the year before being calculated.

For the top earners, you can expect to see a 22% chunk of it going into IRAS. Well, the silver lining of this is that you can fill for rental expenses of up to 15% and interest paid on the housing loan as tax deductions. This may slightly reduce your income tax payable.

Example

You are renting out a 3-bedder condo for $2500 per month.

On a 1-year contract basis:

Expected gross rental income = $30,000 ($2500 x 12)

Rennovation + Furnishing = – (supplied by tenant)

Agent Fees = $1250

Internet + Water + Gas + Electricity = – (borne by tenant)

Wear and Tear = $2,000

Maintenance Fees = $3,600 (assuming $300 per month)

Income Tax = $3,000 (Assuming middle-income earners with 11.5% income tax)

Property Tax = $3,000 (assuming annual value of property is $30,000)

You can expect to get back $17,150 only after deducting all the expenses. And this is assuming that you can rent out the unit for the entire period of 1 year. In the event that the tenant decides to terminate the contract early, you could be looking at a much reduced rental income!

So before you go ahead to rent out your property, do work out your finances carefully. You may end up paying for someone to stay at your property instead!

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