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Renting an Apartment in China: Useful Chinese Words and Phrases

发布时间:2020-10-22 16:38:17

Renting an apartment is one of the first things that foreigners would need to take care of when they decided to settle down in China.


First and second tier cities have English-speaking agencies that can help you find the best place to stay (contact us if youre moving to Chengdu), but it's always better to know some basic vocabulary. It might help you navigate and even get you a better deal.


Let's learn some phrases and words which can come in handy when looking for a place that will suit you best.


Who is who?

Looking for a new place? There're 2 must-know words in Chinese when it comes to apartment hunting!


Who owns the apartment? (fángdōng) = landlord

Who do you ask for help if you need to find a place to live in? 中介 (zhōngjiè) = agent


So, first, you will ask 中介 (zhōngjiè)to find a pace that fits your needs, then you sign a contract with (fángdōng)and will be dealing with him/her from that time on.


Rental requirements

The first thing an agent (or 中介 zhōngjiè) will ask is the requirements you have. 要求 (yāoqiú) = requirements


What does your dream house look like? 

Do you want to live in a quiet compound, or is it more important for you to live close to the international community, with places you can hang out in with your friends after work?


Let's choose a neighborhood first.

Here we have a few examples of the requirements you can tell your 中介 zhōngjièabout:



·Lídìtiězhàn jìn

·Close to the subway station



·Ānjìng yīdiǎn er de

·In a quiet neighborhood



·Xiǎoqū lǐ kěyǐ pǎobù

·Allowing residents to jog in the compound



·Pángbiān yǒu yínháng, chāoshì, děng děng

·With banks, supermarkets, etc. nearby

After you decide what kind of neighborhood you'd like to live in, you can tell your agent the requirements for the apartment. 


Types of Apartments

整租 (zhěngzū) or 合租 (hézū)


If you want to live alone and have an apartment all for yourself, then you should be looking for 整租 (zhěngzū) - whole (private) apartment.


If you're looking to share a place with other people, which is a cheaper option and gives you a chance to make new friends, then, 合租 (hézū) - shared apartment - is a perfect option for you.


Cost of Rent


租金 (zūjīn) = rent


The agent will definitely ask you about the rent. It's the price you expect to pay for the apartment. It's always helpful to narrow down the possible options when you have a specific price range. 

You can say that you're looking for a place with a rent price less than...  [price] + 以下 (yǐxià).


Number of Rooms

How many rooms would you like to have in your apartment?


一室一(yī shìyī tīng)literally translates as "one-room-one-living room", and 两室一(liǎng shìyī tīng)stands for "two-room-one-living-room". If you have a big family, you might ask for 三室一sān shìyī tīng(three-room-one-living room) or even 四室一 sìshìyī tīng(four-room-one-living-room).


Deposit and Future Payments


押金 (yā jīn) = depostit


押一付三 (yā yī fùsān)is literally translated as "deposit-one-pay-three", meaning that the landlord wants you to pay a 1-month deposit and 3 months of rent in advance. These numbers may vary upon the landlord's requirements.


Some landlords might ask for a 2-month deposit or even a half-year rent payment in advance. You can always try to negotiate. It's possible to find a 押一付一 (yā yī fùyī)option too!


Types of Electricity Bills


电费(diànfèi) = cost of electricity


Electricity bills are an important thing to discuss with your agent in advance. This way you won't get enormous bills for electricity at the end of each month. For more information about paying your utility bills in Chengdu, please check out:


There're 2 types of rates in China for different types of places:


民用 (mínyòng) or 商用 (shāngyòng)

民用 (mínyòng) is a residential type, which means there are rates for residential buildings, while 商用 (shāngyòng) is a commercial type, which goes for buildings officially claimed as being used for commercial purposes. The electricity rates for the second type will be much higher!



有阳台 (yǒu yángtái) = with a balcony

梯 (yǒu diàntī) = with an elevator




Pet-lovers, this option is for you. It's frustrating when you just found a perfect apartment that suits all your requirements, and then, when you're about to sign the contract, the landlord suddenly says "no pets allowed". And you actually have a cat!


物友好 (chǒngwùyǒuhǎo) = Pet-friendly

Always mention this to your agent in advance. Some landlords don't allow pets at all, as they think they might damage the furniture. Some of the landlords might allow cats, but not dogs. Be prepared!


Signing the contract

Once you've listed all our requirements, the agent will bring you to see potential apartments. Pick the one that fits you the best, sign the contract (合同 qiān hétong)... and move in!


Hope this helps you to settle down in China!


For more information about finding an apartment in Chengdu, please contact Chengdu-Relocation: