The typical lease is a one year contract. If you want to sign a longer contract, you may be able to negotiate reduced rent with the landlord, as most landlords prefer long term contracts.
After the terms have been verbally negotiated, a written contract will be prepared. After the contract is signed by both parties and all rent, fees, and commission has been payed, the property will be taken off the market. Be sure to check the landlord's ownership documentation before you sign the lease contract and/or forfeit any monetary sum. Be sure to keep the original copy. The lease terms will be written in English and Chinese, and the Chinese version is considered the official version under Chinese law.
Security deposits are usually one month's rent but sometimes can be more or less depending on the quality of the furnishings. This deposit also takes into account any damage done to the fixtures as well as any miscellaneous unpaid utility bills and should be paid before you actually move into the property. The deposit will be held by the landlord until you move out or at the time of the lease expiration.
Official Chinese FaPiao & Tax
Just like in any other western country, your contract and associated paperwork is your official receipt for the transaction. If your company, which has an office in China, is paying for your housing while in Qingdao, they may want a Chinese FaPiao for tax purposes. Make sure to let your real estate agent know before negotiations begin.
Renovations, Repair, Fixtures, and Furniture
Usually the landlord will make all necessary renovations, including repainting the walls, refinishing the floors, and inspecting electrical circuits and plumbing fixtures before you take over the apartment.
If the landlord provides television sets, air-conditioners, water heaters, a washing machine, and standard kitchen appliances (refrigerator, gas range, conventional oven and/or microwave oven), it's important that you to check the condition of each these appliances and make notes on a check list.
Telephone Service + Internet
Most residences provide only one telephone line. If a new line and/or number needs to be installed it may take up to 15 days for the line to be connected and the number activated. Internet service usually takes 3 days to be installed and activated.
Moving to Your New Home
Before moving to your new home, make sure to bring a copy of your passport to register at the management office and/or local PSB. Your home will be handed over to you on the lease start date. Be sure to schedule a general inspection with the landlord on the moving-in date, and sign the property check list, which includes the utility meter readings.
Real Estate Agent Fees
Most real estate agencies charge one month’s rent as commission here in Qingdao. Fees for villas, duplexes, and short term Serviced apartment leases are negotiable and vary depending upon annual lease amount.
Source: Qingdao Real Estate & Relocation Team (QDRE)