What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?
If your budget allows, it is better to rent from a developer. Private landlords can be unreliable by comparison. Keep in mind that, even if you're working with a high budget, your expectations should be realistic. If you're from the US, UK or Australia, the housing you'll find will often not be the same quality that you're used to.
It's advisable to finalize your permanent accommodation 2 months before actual relocation. This way you can be assured that you can get a property that you have actually viewed instead of a substitute unit within the compound. Most landlords are not willing to wait more than 2 months before actual lease start date; they'd rather rent out to another tenant who can begin the lease earlier. Before signing the lease agreement, ensure that all agreed-to additional requirements (including accurate furniture list) have been accounted for. It's next to impossible to ask for anything after the lease has been signed.
Sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation where the landlord of the unit you are interested in will, in the midst of your negotiation, go with another party/tenant who has offered to pay a higher rent. Though it doesn't happen often, it can happen.
What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?
Shanghai is divided by the Huangpu River. To the west of the river is Puxi and includes the Luwan, Changning, Xujiahui, Hongqiao and Minhang districts. The latter two are the most popular living areas for expats with children due to a good supply of housing compounds and community facilities. These areas are also closer to international schools with campuses in Puxi.
To the east of the river is Pudong. The suburban districts (Jinqiao, Kangqiao, Nanhui) in this area are newer than Hongqiao and, due to the ever-increasing presence of companies in this part of the city, many spacious housing compounds, schools and community facilities are available. Inner city living (Luwan in Puxi and Lujiazui in Pudong) is usually a popular choice for most couples or singles, allowing them close proximity to shops, restaurants and nightlife.
Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?
Almost all expats rent their homes, as assignments tend to last only two to three years.
Typically, will I be required to pay additional money up front (such as a deposit) before moving into leased housing? If so, how much is common?
The standard practice is to pay a deposit equivalent to two months' rent in addition to your first month's rent in advance of your actual check-in date. Depending on your requirements, this may be as soon as the lease is signed.
Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?
As a general rule, these are not included. However, it is possible to negotiate inclusion of some in the rental.
Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?
Shanghai is regarded as a safe city. You are unlikely to hear about or experience violent crime. Most housing compounds for expats are guarded, however.
The most common form of crime in Shanghai is pickpocketing in crowded places.
I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?
The electric current in China is 220 volts. The electrical Hertz (Hz) is 50. Appliances in China are relatively cheap and it may be more convenient to purchase regular items here after your relocation. Voltage transformers aren't easily sourced. The official plug type is similar to Type A, but slightly shorter and without holes in blades. Type A and I outlets are common and Type G might also be found.
Below are examples of the types of plugs used in China:
Type A - flat blade attachment plug
Type I - Oblique flat blades with ground (inverted V)
Type G - Rectangular blade plug
Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?
Shanghai is undergoing considerable construction. Check to see if your accommodation is close to a building site or is likely to be affected by a new construction site. Construction will often be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, creating an uncomfortable living situation for surrounding tenants.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.