CRI reporter: Lance Crayon
(Foreigners talking about their experiences of renting an apartment in China)
Lance: Now as you are inspecting the apartment, make sure you ask the landlord what is included what isn't included, OK? Heating, and a fee called 物业费, which is the property's maintenance and management fee, is covered by the landlord. The renter is responsible for electricity, which is pre-paid using a rechargeable card. Either you or the landlord will need to monitor the energy levels on these electricity meters, so make sure you find out where your electricity meter is.
Lance: Thank you.
Lance: Remember when your card runs out power, your power will be shut off, because banks do all the recharging, and banks close at 5 p.m., you'll need to wait until the next business day in order to recharge your card.
One of the major differences you find when renting an apartment here in Beijing is the size of the bathroom, the bathroom facilities are usually a bit smaller than what you use back home. Of course one major difference is the shower. What you see here is not a raised platform but rather a drain that is built into the floor. Another major difference of course is there is no tub. Most bathrooms here in Beijing, well, throughout China can only be with a shower.
Lance: The kitchen is also very different. Expect to see two burners instead of four burners on the stovetop, or instead, an electric plug-in stovetop. Generally, there are no ovens in the apartments, so in most apartments you are unable to bake any food.
You can ask your landlord to remove a specific piece of furniture if you don't love it. In prior to moving in, make sure everything works, something is broken or needs to be fixed, have your landlord repair it prior to moving in.
Rent is always harder to negotiate, unless you're planning to sign a longer lease. And keep in mind the agent's commission is usually one month's rent.
But, remember, anything and everything is negotiable.