This is a new experience for us - we've never rented before. Mrs Wang is fussy about details like the bathroom design, the shape of the bedrooms and whether the aircon is working. I'm fussy about details like the term of the lease, and whether amenities are nearby, and how the kids are going to get to school.
I also learned that landlords can be very fussy about their tenants.
Some of the things I'm going to write about next will sound offensive to some people. Well, these are not my personal views. I'm just describing life as it is in Singapore (the warts and pimples and prejudices included). These are things that I've recently learned, heard and encountered:
1. Some non-Indian landlords do not accept Indian tenants. They feel that Indian families might make their apartments smell funny. (A property agent told me that).
2. One landlord wanted to investigate my religious beliefs. Being a Christian, he was firmly against accepting any tenant who might bring "false idols" into his apartment and set up an altar there.
3. One landlord refused to rent his place to three single Australian expats who had come to view. That landlord feels that ang-mohs like to hold wild parties, get drunk and damage the furniture. A previous ang-moh tenant had left stains on his designer sofa. Alcohol, semen and ... vomit?
4. One evening, I went to view an apartment. At the same time, three young PRC ladies in scanty clothes and heavy make-up also came to view. In the kitchen, I overheard the owner angrily telling the property agent not to bring any prostitutes to view his place.
(I don't know why so many PRC prostitutes are in Singapore these days. This particular apartment was not close to Geylang or any other traditional red-light district, by the way).
5. Landlords are interested to know what kind of job you have, and whether you're rich. They don't want troublesome tenants who end up being unable to pay. It helps to tell them that you're a lawyer or a doctor or an accountant (if you are).
6. Interestingly, I met a security guard at a condominium who was moonlighting as an unofficial property agent. When I told him that I had come to view an apartment, he promptly brought me to view another apartment. The owner (who had already moved out) had given him the key. I gave the security guard $10 for his kind assistance.