Questions To Ask Before Renting In Malaysia

rental agreement

Finding the perfect rental home for you is no easy feat. Even before you begin your search, you need to first establish what’s important to you. If not, you will likely go on a wild goose chase and end up going in circles. The more informed you are about things such as the lease, terms, and the landlord, the better equipped you will be to make an informed decision and avoid potential problems.

When dealing with rental properties, you will most likely be communicating with an agent. In order to make an informed decision, it would be best to ask the agent as many questions as possible to make sure that you are getting exactly what you are looking for. Here are some key questions you should be asking before signing the rental agreement.


1.) When will the room/property be available?

The rental that you are eyeing needs to match with your schedule. A mismatched moving schedule can cost you greatly in both time and money. If there is a mismatch in the moving-in date or month, you can try negotiating with the real estate agent or landlord.

2.) What is the min/max duration of the rental agreement?

It would be best to get a clear idea of how long the landlord intends to let you stay, and whether or not they are open to extending the tenancy period after expiry. In order to avoid conflicts and miscommunication, try to keep in regular contact with the landlord and refer to the tenancy agreement.


1.) How much is the rent and required deposit

Always make sure you are clear on the rent and deposit before signing any rental agreement.  You might have to pay more than one deposit, depending on the terms of the rental agreement. For example, security deposits serve as an upfront guarantee for any conditions specified in the tenancy agreement. 

This can be used to pay for damages, cleaning, keycard replacements, or even forfeited entirely if the tenant leaves before the end of the tenancy or leaves the place in an absolute mess. If there are no damages or outstanding utility bills, the landlord is generally required to return security and utilities deposits to the tenant at the end of their lease.


1.) When can I move in?
As mentioned previously, moving into a new home is a herculean task that can be very costly if mismanaged. Landlords typically set the move in dates, but this can sometimes be negotiated. Also, it is generally a good idea to take pictures or videos of the inventory included in the rental agreement. This tends to come in handy when there are disputes over the security deposit and damaged items.

Learn more about how moving costs can sneak up on you here.


1.) When is monthly rental due and what is the method of payment?

If you are going to commit to renting a place, knowing when the rent is due and how it should be paid is absolutely crucial. As a tenant, you can usually negotiate for a different date if, but it is ultimately up to the landlord. The same goes for the payment method. Just be sure that the payment date and method are both included in the rental agreement before you sign it.

2.) What happens if you are late on rent payment?

Legally speaking, a single late payment can be considered a breach of contract. Some rental agreements could include penalties or interest charges for late payments. It is best to keep communications open and civil with the landlord in order to negotiate for extensions if you are facing financial difficulties. Should negotiations fail, the landlord can issue a letter of demand to the tenant. Those who fail to pay by the date specified in the letter may face legal action.

3.) Will the rent increase?

Inflation is a natural part of the economic cycle. If you intend to stay at a certain rental home for a long period of time, ask the landlord how often the rent will be increased and if it is negotiable. Some tenancy agreements may also include this clause so read the fine print carefully.


1.) Are utilities included in the rent?

The utility deposit is usually meant to cover any outstanding utility bills at the end of tenancy. On the other hand, monthly utility costs are not typically part of the rent if you are renting an entire unit. As such, the tenant will usually have to take responsibility for utility charges.

For those renting just a room, you should ask the landlord if utilities are included in the rent. On some rare occasions, the landlord might foot the bill for utility costs, though landlords may subdivide electricity meters for individual rooms, leaving the tenant responsible for their own electricity bill.


1.) Who will pay for any repairs?

Generally, the landlord is responsible for any damages and repairs that are required as they have to ensure a safe and functional property as the owner. However, damage caused by the tenant is the tenant’s responsibility. Daily maintenance such as general cleaning is the responsibility of the tenant, but more serious things such as plumbing leaks are usually the landlord’s responsibility to resolve.

Tenancy agreements usually state the terms and conditions on who pays for what clearly. Some landlords may specify a warranty period where they are willing to pay for repairs under a certain monetary amount after which the tenant will have to foot the bill. Make sure you understand the terms outlined in your rental agreement before signing on.

Stamp duty, administration and legal fees

When renting out a place, tenants are also subject to a few extra tax and administration fees. Stamp duty is one such tax and usually costs: 

1 year tenancy agreement – RM1 for every RM250 of the annual rental above RM2,400. The stamp duty is free if the annual rental is below RM2,400.

1-3 year tenancy agreement – RM2 for every RM250 of the annual rent above RM2,400. The stamp duty is free if the annual rental is below RM2,400.

Over 3-year tenancy agreement – RM4 for every RM250 of the annual rental above RM2,400. The stamp duty is free if the annual rental is below RM2,400.

Make sure that your tenancy agreement aligns with the above costs before signing it.

As for administration fees for a tenancy agreement in Malaysia, the calculation is as follows:

  • RM100 for a monthly rental of RM1,000 and below
  • RM150 for a monthly rental of RM1,001 to RM2000
  • RM200 for a monthly rental of RM2,001 to RM3000
  • RM250 for a monthly rental of RM3,001 to RM4000
  • RM300 for a monthly rental of RM4,001 and above

Finally, tenants also have to take legal fees into consideration. Generally speaking, rentals of RM10,000 or less will typically incur 30% of the monthly rent (minimum of RM500) in legal fees. Rentals exceeding RM10,000 will face a minimum of 15% of the monthly rent in legal fees but shall not exceed 25%.

Additional clauses

1.) Is parking free?

This is more relevant for apartment or condominium rentals. Confirm with the landlord the number of parking spaces available to you as the tenant. Some landlords may also require additional deposit for carpark access cards. If there is a discrepancy in the agreed terms, it could be grounds for terminating the tenancy agreement.

2.) What about pets?

Pets can potentially damage the landlord’s assets; thus many tend to not rent out to pet owners. However, those that do may ask for a pet deposit to cover any potential damage.

3.) Decorations and renovations?

This is completely up to the landlord. Always ask them before making any drastic changes, especially if it involves walls, doors, and furniture.

4.) Is subletting permitted? 

If you are renting an entire unit and considering renting out a room to someone else, be sure to ask your landlord about their policy on subletting. Some landlords do not mind it, while others strictly forbid it. Again, the tenancy agreement does spell out the conditions for this arrangement, so read it carefully.

Communication is key

Remember that the best rental experience comes from clear and constant communication between landlords and their tenants. Being well-informed is key, so do not be afraid to clarify any doubts or voice your concerns. 

Ask the landlord as many questions as you want to gather the facts and make informed decisions. A healthy landlord-tenant relationship thrives on transparency and mutual understanding.

Read More: Is It Cheaper To Rent Or Buy?

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