Renting an apartment in Beijing is basically a straight-forward procedure. Your employer may hire a relocation agent/real estate agent to help you in your housing search. If you are doing it on your own and do not speak Chinese, it’s best to employ a reputable real estate agent who is fully bilingual. The real estate agent will ask what kind of housing you are looking for, if you are looking in a certain area, or have other requirements. He’ll take you around to see the apartments and once you’ve found the right place, the agent can help you negotiate the terms of your lease. The published price is not the final price so you can bargain for a lower monthly rental rate. If the landlord does not budge, you may still be able to negotiate some extras for the apartment like a larger flat screen TV, a vacuum cleaner, water dispenser, etc. You will be asked to sign two copies of the agreement. Only documents in Chinese are admissible in court so bring a Chinese friend if you are not using a bilingual real estate agent who can help you decipher all the details. You will likely need to pay a deposit and first month’s rent when moving in. The deposit amount depends on the landlord and type of housing you are renting, but recently most luxury apartment landlords have been asking for one month’s deposit. Don’t be surprised if some landlords ask for several months’ worth of deposit.

The lease will stipulate that the landlord should take care of normal wear and tear repairs. It will also state the length of the lease (which is typically for a year),amount of the deposit, the penalties for breaking the lease, and a list of all the furnishings that are included in the apartment. Some landlords will pay for phone or internet connection but utilities are usually the renter’s responsibility. The lease should also include starting meter readings for gas and electricity. Tenants can also try and negotiate special circumstances into their contracts. For example, you can ask for a stipulation to be included that allows you to break the lease without penalty in case you suddenly find yourself no longer employed. Any special circumstances can always be brought up and discussed with the landlord before the lease is drawn up.

Some average prices of rentals in Beijing:

  • Villa living will run from 15,000RMB-35,0000RMB per month for a three-bedroom.
  • Fully detached villas can run from 25,000RMB-100,000RMB per month.
  • Luxury apartment prices depend on location but can run from 13,000RMB-45,000RMB for three-bedrooms. Serviced apartments will run even higher.
  • Renovated courtyard homes can run from 30,000RMB to 100,000RMB depending on the level of renovation.
  • Cheaper or partially renovated courtyard living can be found for 4,000RMB-10,000RMB for a two-bedroom.
  • Mid-upper tier apartments can be found for 6,000RMB-10,000RMB for a three-bedroom.

To find the latest prices in the housing market, check popular websites like the classifieds section of