LEASE CONTRACTS IN VIETNAM
Here are the top things to pay attention to when signing your rental contract.
Lease contracts in Vietnam can be intimidating, especially if you are not used to the local culture and the way of doing business.
Let’s review the main points to check when reading your lease contract.
Typically, lease contracts in Vietnam are written in both English and Vietnamese languages with equal validity. However, in case of discrepancy between the English and Vietnamese languages, the Vietnamese version will be the legal one. Google Translate is quite accurate to double-check the Vietnamese version. If you have any doubt, contact us.
Check carefully the names written on the lease contract. Mention clearly the names of all the people living in your new home. It is particularly recommended for foreigners as you might need to submit a copy of your lease contract to register to your consulate or embassy in Vietnam.
Dates have to match the terms that you previously agreed upon with the property owner. According to lease contracts in Vietnam, you will lose your deposit if you terminate your lease before the expiration date. The only way for you to get your deposit back before the end date is to find another tenant to complete your lease (but make sure that the landlord accepts this before signing).
We advise you to ask for a lease contract with a fixed price in Vietnam Dong (VND) if you are paid in VND, in order to be protected against the risk of change. Negotiate in USD but pay in VND. However, if you receive your salary in USD or pay the rent from abroad, then it won’t matter much and you may pay using any currency. In any case, the lease contract should state the rental price in VND as this is the only legal currency for lease contracts in Vietnam.
As a rule of thumb, the deposit amount should be equal to one month rent for serviced apartments, and two months rent for condominiums (apartments buildings), houses, and villas. Ask for the exact amount when visiting the property, prior to making your decision.
6. Services and Facilities
Always get in writing the services and facilities included in your lease contract.
Typically, it may include the following:
- Cleaning service (how many times per week?),
- Parking (how many bikes?),
- TV cable,
- Running water,
- Drinking water (how many bottles?),
- Management fees (for apartments buildings or compounds),
- Swimming pool,
Ask how many people can you use the facilities and if you can bring guests over (somebody said pool party?).
7. Utilities and taxes
Electricity prices may vary greatly depending on the type of apartment, and whether or not you pay it directly to the supplier (EVN), or to your landlord. The official electricity retail prices go from 1,678 VND to 2,927 VND per kWh.
However, in serviced apartments or some compounds, you will usually pay between 3,500 to 5,000 VND per kWh directly to your landlord. What explains the difference? Well, building owners account for the lighting and electricity costs in the common areas (gym, swimming pool, parking, lobby), and the maintenance costs for backup generators, if any. Typically, you will spend from 1,500,000 VND (65 US$) to 3,000,000 VND (130 US$) per month for 1 or 2 persons, depending on how often you use A/C.
Water is either included in the rental price or not costly (fixed monthly rate per person, or paid according to your usage). The Internet is almost always included in the price for serviced apartments, but it might not be the case in condominiums (apartment buildings), houses, or villas, and you will have to subscribe to an Internet package by yourself (from 12 US$ per month). In any case, be sure to include the utility detailed pricing in your rental contract!
If your company or employer pays the rent on your behalf, you might need a rental tax invoice from your landlord. In that case, ask your landlord if the tax is included in the rent (it usually isn’t) and if he can provide the tax invoice. You will usually have to pay 10% more on the rental price.
In most cases, you can pay your landlord by cash or bank transfer, rarely by credit card. Make sure the payment details (bank account holder’s name) match with the landlord’s name (lessor). If it doesn’t, then ask for the reason (maybe a tierce person is managing the property and handling payments?). However, always get a receipt for each payment (rent and deposit) with the exact property address (including apartment number), date, rental period, names of the payer, and the receiver.
9. List of Furniture
If the apartment is furnished, the lease contract should also include a list of all the pieces of furniture that are handed over when you move in. The list of furniture will not necessarily be comprehensive. However, be sure to check if the main items are listed and whether or not anything is missing (kitchen appliances, AC remotes, sets of keys, elevator cards…). If you find any discrepancies, do not hesitate to add it to the list, and/or ask your landlord or property manager to provide the missing item before signing. Take photos of any furniture defects or stains on the walls and send them to the apartment owner.
If your real estate agent is serious and experienced, he or she should review your lease contract beforehand or on the day of signing and make sure it matches with what you agreed upon.
Be advised that there are no general rules or framework regulating the responsibilities of the broker and real estate agencies in Vietnam.
However, you can expect them to take care of:
- the negotiation between you and the landlord (but don’t hesitate to ask for it, because some agents may be reticent to do it),
- the payment of the deposit to book the property (always make sure to get a signed receipt from the landlord, mentioning the address and apartment number, if any),
- the drafting or review of the lease contract (but read again carefully the most important parts of your lease contract such as the price and currency, the duration, and the utilities or services included),
- the move-in
Beyond that, services vary from one agent to another. Some may assist you even after your move-in day in case of an issue arising between you and your landlord (maintenance or repairs that he refuses to do, noisy neighbors, bad WiFi…). Others will disappear after you settle in. Many agents are freelancers and operate without an established company, so you won’t necessarily be able to contact anyone else if something happens.
Obviously, we advise you to entrust a reputable agency that you know will be there if you and your landlords cannot solve an issue directly.
Read their reviews, do your research, and ask them precisely what services they will provide you.
Do you have more questions about lease contracts in Vietnam? Get in touch with us!