Accommodation in Guangzhou

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Apartment buildings in GuangzhouThere is a variety of options when it comes to finding accommodation in Guangzhou. At first, most newcomers rent an apartment in the city, often for a one-year lease period.

Expats living in the city centre often have better access to their workplaces but have to put up with pollution and noise. Those choosing to live in the surrounding suburbs might have cleaner air but will have to navigate the heavy Guangzhou traffic and long public commutes.


Types of accommodation in Guangzhou


Each area of Guangzhou has its own types of accommodation, but most expats live in apartments. A quieter area such as Haizhu is popular for the high-rise apartment blocks running parallel with the Pearl River. Tianhe has a wide variety of modern apartment buildings, luxury apartments and corporate housing.


Aside from standard unfurnished apartments, expats who can afford it have access to serviced apartments in various areas of the city, while furnished accommodation costs less and allows for a more comfortable initial transition to living in Guangzhou.


Renting property in Guangzhou


The first step for many prospective tenants is to hire a real estate agent. In expat-friendly areas, local agents often have experience in dealing with foreign clients, which makes the rental process a bit easier. It is often necessary, however, to get the help of a bilingual friend or colleague.


It is important for expats to clearly communicate their requirements for an apartment as well as their budget. Properties in Guangzhou are often rented quickly, and time wasted on unsuitable properties can be costly.


To avoid surprises later on, expats should ask their agent how much commission they will have to pay after the lease is signed. It is also important to find out the amount the owner expects as a deposit, as well as whether there are any additional annual or monthly fees.


Furthermore, they should ask about amenities such as air conditioning, the plumbing system and whether the landlord has ownership documents in their possession before signing the lease.

Most of the time, after these concerns have been addressed, expats sign the lease contract with the agent and the landlord, pay their first month’s rent and a security deposit of around two months’ rent, as well as the agent’s commission.


The tenant should provide the landlord and the agency a copy of their passport, and they in turn should give the tenant a copy of their property ownership certificate and business licence, respectively.

As soon as they have moved in, expat tenants should go and register their address at the nearest Public Security Bureau.


Finding accommodation in Guangzhou


The easiest way to find accommodation in Guangzhou is through a real estate agency. Expats who want to take a more hands-on approach are able to search English-language media and online property portals.


Utilities in Guangzhou


Tenants generally pay a monthly utilities bill to the landlord or management company, which in turn pays the utility company. It is not unusual to have the utilities included in the rent as a set fee, except for long-distance telephone charges which are billed separately.


Factors to consider when house-hunting in Guangzhou


The most important thing an expat house-hunter needs to know going into their search is how they want to live - both in terms of their home and the area it is situated in.


Many tenants try to live close to their workplace or to their children’s school, while others choose to live outside of the city but close to public transport.


This has to be weighed up against budget. While many people want to live in a cosmopolitan area with fine dining and outdoor activities, not everyone can afford it.


Expats will also have to consider the kind of accommodation they want. Luckily, Guangzhou’s size means that expats will have a wide variety of options.


Many struggle with the language barrier, especially at first. While becoming isolated from local language and culture is not recommended, some expats prefer to live in an area that is popular with expats. Others prefer to become immersed in the city, and choose the area they want to live in accordingly.

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