I am having difficulties finding a tenant but I do not want to rent my property to Indians and PRCs. Indians cook ‘heavy curry’. I have read horror stories of how PRCs leave properties in shitty conditions, or built partitions to rent to their compatriots.
I am not taking any chances. What’s your opinion on this?
– Worried Landlord
Dear Worried Landlord,
Stop being choosy. Did you know that our country is in quite a pickle right now? According to Department of Statistics Singapore, from 2010 to 2016, our total population grew from 5,076,700 to 5,607,300. That’s a population growth of around 88,400 people every year.
If we look at 2017 figures, we are sitting at 5,612,300 in total population. That’s 5,000 in population growth.. Only 5,000 people for crying out loud!
There just aren’t enough tenants coming in to rent homes because our Government has been holding back on issuing work visas (because they fear losing votes come election hur hur).
And if I can be totally blunt, we Singaporeans are the perfect example how Singapore is still centuries away from eliminating racial discrimination. We know it’s a serious problem when even the BBC headlined the article ‘No Indians No PRCs’: Singapore’s rental discrimination problem, some years ago.
For all that talk about Singapore being a ‘racially harmonious’ country and a melting pot of different cultures, our foreign friends have to be screened for their nationality before being ‘allowed’ to rent a house. How sad is that?
First of all, how do we define a ‘good tenant’? A good tenant is one who pays rent on time, doesn’t give trouble to the landlord, makes a concerted effort to keep the said property in a reasonable condition (amid normal wear and tear).
Next, may I clarify that property agents are NOT allowed to ‘indicate preference for any race or religion in all advertisements’ according to the Council of Estate Agencies’ Practice Guidelines on Ethical Advertising. Asking your agent to indicate the racial preference is akin to telling him to get his license suspended.
The chief concern most landlords have is that Indians will do a lot of ‘heavy cooking’ which will wreck kitchens or which stench is hard to remove. Yes, I do understand from my Indian national friends that many of them have no choice but to cook from home because they are vegetarians (by Singapore standards). This promptly eliminates much of their choices from the available food offerings in Singapore restaurants and food courts.
Now, who’s to say that renting to a Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, British, Russian, Canadian, German, American [or insert whichever nationality you are biased for] means there will confirm plus chop guarantee not be any problems with your house?
So, their need to cook is undeniable. But instead of denying them from renting your property in this challenging rental market especially when the Indian (and PRC) community forms majority of the renters, why not talk things out? Here’s what I suggest. Talk things through and inform the tenants, “I’m going to need you to return my apartment in the same state as it was before it was rented out to you.”
A good tenant is one who pays rent on time, doesn’t give trouble to the landlord, makes a concerted effort to keep the said property in a reasonable condition (amid normal wear and tear).
Next, many landlords fear renting to PRCs (People’s Republic of China) because they are [perceived to be] rowdy, makes lots of noise, do not take care of the house, or worst of all – illegally partitions out the landlord’s home to make rental income.
So, most of us probably had that first relationship which ended really bad. Are you going to swear off dating and marriage because of that? Does that mean we let that first bad experience stop us from finding the ‘right partner’? If yes, then I give up. Please keep trying to rent your property to non-PRCs.
The truth is that yes, some of their compatriots have made headlines for all the wrong reasons. But that does not mean ALL of them are rowdy troublemakers who wreck homes and partitions properties for profit!
Find a responsible property agent who will do a good screen-through of the tenant. As mentioned earlier, a PRC tenant may be a far better tenant than the British tenant whose dog chews on everything or that Mexican tenant who refused to allow any viewings when you try to sell your property.
All good articles end with a good story, so here’s one. Now suppose you paid for a ticket on a swanky Western airline to fly to your dream destination. You’re in the plane all set and ready to go when there’s an announcement over the intercom, “The plane is overbooked, and we gonna have to ask one of you to vacate your seat for the next flight instead.” Now you’re the only Asian in the plane and somehow, you’re the only one told to vacate your seat. Sounds familiar? Well, that’s exactly how we make our Indian and PRC friends feel too, isn’t it?
In the end, a good tenant isn’t defined by his nationality or place of birth but by his/her ability to pay rent on time and maintain the house in reasonable condition. And the bank installments don’t pay for itself, especially in this challenging rental market as shared in the previous Dear Reuel.
Be a smart landlord, not a choosy and broke one. RW
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Disclaimer: While the author Reuelwrites is a certified real estate agent with Huttons Asia, the above thoughts represents his own and is in no way representative to that of Huttons Asia.