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4 things you must ask when renting an apartment in China

Nov. 2, 2016

renting an apartment租房

If you are soon moving to China or already living there, it is possible that you will need to rent an apartment. For some people, such as English teachers, an apartment might be included in their contract. Students may live in dorms, which is prepared through the school. So, this may not seem relevant to you at first, but knowing how to rent an apartment can come handy and it can’t hurt to be independent. Here is a guide to some of the things you should consider, as well as relevant vocabulary you will need when renting an apartment in China.

Factors you need to consider:

1. 户型 (hùxíng) Type or size of apartment

You can find apartments to rent online or though real estate agents, which speckle every corner in China. These intermediaries will put you in contact with the apartment owners. When you go to rent an apartment, the first question that the “房东 (fángdōng) house-owner” or agent will ask is:

Nín xiǎng zū shénme hùxíng de fángzi?
您   想     租   什么    户型     的 房子?
What kind of apartment do you want to rent?

Types of apartments are put in a kind of shortened form:
一室一厅 (yí shì yì tīng): one bedroom, one living room
两室一厅 (liǎng shì yì tīng): two bedrooms, one living room
三室两厅 (sān shì liǎng tīng): three bedrooms, two living rooms

All you have to do is reply with this sentence structure:
“我要 + 户型 (wǒ yào + hùxíng)” I want + type or size of apartment

Wǒ yào liǎng shì yì tīng de.
我    要   两    室 一 厅   的。
I want an apartment with two bedrooms and one living room.

2. 家电 (jiādiàn) Household appliances

Next, you need to consider what kind of appliances you want in your apartment. It is very common in China that the apartment won’t have a dishwasher or dryer. Most newer apartment complexes will have everything else you need, but you still better make sure to ask. You can ask the home owner about what “家电 (jiādiàn)” are included, this word is the shortened form of “家用电器 (jiāyòng diànqì).” This includes things like a “冰箱 (bīngxiāng) refrigerator,” “空调 (kōngtiáo) air-conditioner,” “热水器 (rèshuǐqì) hot water heater” etc.

So you should ask the apartment-owner:
A: Jiādiàn dōu qíquán ma?
A: 家电      都   齐全   吗?
A: Is there a complete set of household appliances?

B: Kōngtiáo, bīngxiāng, rèshuǐqì… shénme dōu yǒu.
B: 空调、       冰箱、      热水器……  什么   都  有。
B: Air-conditioning, refrigerator, hot water heater… it has everything.

Something you will want to keep in mind is the local “交通 (jiāotōng) transportation.” You should check what subways and bus stops are nearby, as in some areas you may have to walk for 10-15 minutes to find the nearest one. Usually apartments that are located in a more convenient area can be a little more expensive.

A: Zhè lǐ jiāotōng biànlì ma?
A: 这 里     交通    便利 吗?
A: Is the transportation convenient here?

B: Xiǎoqū pángbiān yǒu dìtiězhàn hé gōngjiāozhàn, hěn fāngbiàn.
B: 小区     旁边        有    地铁站    和      公交站,   很    方便。
B: Yes, there is a subway station and a bus station near here, it’s very convenient.

4. 租金 (zūjīn) Rent

Lastly and perhaps most importantly you will ask about “租金 (zūjīn) rent.” If you go through a real estate agent, they will tell you the price before you go and see the apartment. Cities like Shanghai and Beijing can have very expensive rent, especially if you live downtown. Often people will live up to an hour away from work so they can live in a cheaper apartment. You will also have to pay a deposit upon renting the apartment. This cost is usually 1 month of rent, and the real estate agent’s fee is half of a months rent.

How should you ask the rent?
A: Zhè ge fángzi duōshǎo qián yí gè yuè?
A: 这  个 房子      多少       钱  一个  月?
A: How much does 1 month of rent cost?

B: Liǎng qiān bā bǎi kuài qián yí gè yuè.
B: 两      千   八 百   块    钱   一 个 月。
B: 2800 yuan per month.

A: Bāo shuǐdiànfèi ma?
A: 包        水电费  吗?
A: Is the water and electricity fee included in the price?

B: Shì de.
B: 是 的。
B: Yes.

Once you get this lesson down, you will be ready to rent your own apartment in China!

Quiz:

1. Which of the following is not a “家用电器 (jiāyòng diànqì) household appliances?”
A. 空调 (kōngtiáo)
B. 户型 (hùxíng)
C. 冰箱 (bīngxiāng)
D. 热水器 (rèshuǐqì)

2. Which of these is not a form of transportation?
A. 地铁 (dìtiě)
B. 公交 (gōngjiāo)
C. 交通 (jiāotōng)
See Answers

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