When you’re on foreign soil, looking for the perfect home is no less than a wild adventure. It’s hard to know where to start and you may not know much about the local property market.
Hopefully with this guide, you will be able to rent a property hassle-free, like an expert! We will answer your top frequently asked questions about renting as a foreign national in Malaysia.
First of all, what is your residency status in Malaysia?
Are you a resident or a non-resident? If you are a Permanent Resident in Malaysia, the rules for you are pretty much the same as the locals.
However, if you are a non-resident, the rules will differ slightly. You will need to provide additional documents to show how long you will be residing in Malaysia and the purpose of your stay. Landlords will require some form of assurance that you will respect the full term of the tenancy agreement and will not default on your monthly rent payments – either with an employment letter or a photocopy of your passport.
Who qualifies as a resident in Malaysia?
Property owners are often hesitant to rent out their residential properties to foreigners because they are afraid that the foreign tenants may pack up and leave the country on short notice without settling their rent balance.
To assure your landlord that you are a responsible and law-abiding individual, being a tax-paying resident in Malaysia puts you at a big advantage. How to find out if you are a tax-paying resident, you ask?
If you have been staying in Malaysia for more than 182 days in a calendar year or for 12 months consecutively, you are considered a tax-paying resident in Malaysia. Another way to qualify is to spend 90 days or more in the current tax year, and an additional 90 days in the past 3-4 years.
This proof of consistent stay in Malaysia and meeting your tax obligations assure landlords that they can count on you to meet the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement.
What are the differences between short-term and long-term stay?
There are two types of tenancy agreements – short-term and long-term. If you hold a tourist visa or term visa and will be staying in Malaysia for less than 12 months, it is considered a short-term stay.
This would usually apply when you’re in the country to attend a special event, stay for a business trip or to spend some vacation time with your family. If your rental period does not exceed 3 months, it is recommended that you patronise short-term accommodation platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com or hotels, instead.
Local property owners are usually more interested in tenants who would stay long-term in Malaysia, as the minimum tenancy period is at least 1 year, up to a maximum of 3 years. The longer you choose to stay, your landlord will feel more inclined to negotiate a better rental rate and more favourable terms and conditions.
The following types of visa will permit you to stay for more than 1 year in Malaysia:
- Permanent Resident (PR)
- Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Programme
- A student enrolled in a course with a duration of 1 year or more
- An employee with a 1-year visa or more
- A worker from any industry with a visa of 1 year or more
The little things go a long way to maintain a cordial relationship between you and the property owner. When you rent a residential property, take good care of it and restore it to its original condition before you say good-bye! We hope you find this guide useful as a comprehensive map of your property rental journey in Malaysia. Follow it closely and you will be sure to have a comfortable stay during your time in this beautiful country!
This article has been repurposed from an article originally written for iProperty.