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I.Signing a lease:
Asking the landlord to show the identity certificate, premises ownership statement, housing tax slip or transcript of real estate registration to ascertain the landlord's real identity and to make sure if he/she is the owner of the house or if he/she is the tenant who can sublease the premises (In the case of a tenant, ask him/her to show the original lease to understand if the premises can be subleased as stipulated in the original contract.)
The information on the rent, when to pay, the duration of the lease; whether to pay a deposit or not? How much? And how to pay the rent?
Knowing what kinds of furniture and equipments the landlord will provide. It would be recommended to take pictures of items that are not in good condition to avoid future disputes.
Finding out if there is any limitation set out by the landlord – e.g. if the tenant may cook or keep pets.
If the tenant shares the apartment with the landlord, make clear the rights and limitations of the commonly shared areas.
When signing the lease, both sides should make sure to get each other's ID. (like a photocopy of ID card, passport or alien resident certificate).
When there are alterations in the contract, both sides should stamp their chops or place their signatures at the changes to prevent future disputes.
After signing the lease, each side keeps one copy of the document.
Rules of thumb for house-renting: Spend more time to look around, check the premises, and make more comparisons to find the right house.
II.Terms of leases:
The terms of leases generally vary from 6 months to 1 year, depending on the location. For apartments close to schools, the lease normally runs from one semester to half a year. And it's generally around 1 year. The deposits range from one month's to 3 months' rental.
III.Commission fee:
Also known as the brokerage service fee, paid to the real estate agent who helps locate the apartment/house. The landlord normally pays the agent 1 month's rental while the tenant pays 1/2 month.