Shanghai real estate companies (english-speaking)

Discussion in 'China' started by Kongenavtys, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. Kongenavtys

    Kongenavtys New Member


    I´m soon moving to Shanghai and need an apartment. My boss has given me a monthly budget of 15,000,- RMB, which should be plenty for a 1-bedroom apartment in Pudong area.

    I have checked out different rental companies (for example Townscape Housing and the Shiny Housing), but I can either find none or only bad reviews when I do my Google searching.

    So - does anyone knows anything relevant?
  2. 4amigos

    4amigos New Member

    have you tried looking on Smart Shanghai, Shanghai Expat, or CNNGo websites? This websites offer good information on looking for apartments in Shanghai. By the way, have you tried searching for apartments on Xuhui or Huangpu areas?
  3. Kongenavtys

    Kongenavtys New Member

    I´ve tried Smart Shanghai, but not the two others. And I´m mainly searching for an apartment as close as possible to the Huangpu River.
  4. GallyArturo

    GallyArturo New Member

    I agree the Pudong area is the best option as it's located right in the center of Shanghai and within walking distance of tourist attractions such as Century Park, Lujiazui, the French Concession and Nanpu Square Park.
  5. Kongenavtys

    Kongenavtys New Member

    Based on the map, I can see that the French Concession is a bit far away by walking distance..? I´ve heard so much about this area - especially that it is perfect for foreign expats with a budget on more than 10,000,- RMB.

    Anyway; I´m going to work in Pudong, so I might be able to find something there first and maybe move later.
  6. Traveler1

    Traveler1 New Member

    I agree that SmartShanghai is a good source. You can also try using Craigslist. I would give you the name of a landlord in Minhang District, but you are looking at Pudong. As for Shiny Housing, yes, they are awful. This is a copy of a review of them I posted:

    DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT rent a room with Shiny Housing. From living in a Shiny Housing apartment for 4 months, I, along with many other poor souls, have learned the hard way that we could have done so much better.

    Shiny Housing is a Chinese-run apartment agency in Shanghai (and maybe other places). They make profits by ripping off ignorant foreigners and providing poor service. They also say they do visas. However, whenever I asked the visa lady for help, she just sent me somewhere else (so, they don't really do visas).

    To start with, Shin Housing posts fake pictures on They DO NOT always match your room. Shiny Housing will probably require in the lease that, if you wish to move out early (that is, before 1 year), you must find a replacement. Like me, many expats have thought, "Well, I don't plan to move out early," or "I can find a replacement." I actually thought both. In my opinion now however, signing a lease that requires you find a replacement is always a bad idea. I ended up moving out early, and was unable to find a replacement. I lost my 2 months rent deposit as a result (it's no use trying to get it back--they'll just call the police on you (who don't speak English)).

    The representatives do speak some English. Like most people in Shanghai, they speak the English necessary for their job, and not much more. Therefore, the language barrier is real.

    Shiny Housing apartments are aimed at foreign renters. As a result, they often are more modern and come with a dryer (rare in China). I rented a small room in a shared apartment with 4 other individuals. When you sign the lease, they will probably make you pay about 400RMB for a maintenance. My rent was 2700 for the first 2 months, and then 2800. This did not include the internet fee of 60RMB, utility fees that you split with your roommates, and the small amount of your room number, which they do not tell you about. If, for example, your room number is 340, then you pay an extra 3.4RMB, so they know they that you paid the rent. DON'T pay rents this high. Shiny Housing's apartments are overpriced. Most of Shiny Housing's apartments are in the Jing'an area, the most prosperous in Shanghai. The area was always noisy, and very expensive. Look on sites like or Craigslist for other options.

    All right, the (real) negatives:

    1. To put it bluntly, SERVICE SUCKS! It is such a hassle to get a hold of the office. You have to contact them via Wechat (they often don't respond to e-mail), and keep bugging them until somebody replies. Something was broken every few weeks in our apartment. So, they sent maintenance many times. Maintenance DOES NOT speak A WORD of English. So, communication can be frustrating. One time, over Tomb Sweeping Festival, the regular maintenance man was out of town (the contract only said he would be out of town over Spring Festival--a total lie), and the water in our bathroom would not drain (as usual). We had to wait for days until he came. I personally went to the office (a good technique by the way) and demanded they find a substitute. The bitchy girl refused, but since somebody else in the office knew me, he asked her to do it. The substitute was useless, and did not fix the water problem.

    2. Your room will probably be filthy. Mine was, and I didn't notice there was as hole in the window. It was the middle of winter and the heater was not working too; so I froze until somebody came.

    3. Communication is terrible. The ayi (maid) they send (more money every week) does not speak English. I speak some Chinese; so I did not have problems, but you might. One time, the office accused her of not cleaning the bathroom of the master bedroom they were trying to rent (which she actually did clean). When we said she did, they demanded money from US for her to do it again (does this make you laugh or what?). Also, our apartment building started locking the doors on the ground floor. Only after we bugged the office for weeks did they get us 2 (not 1 for each person) keys. Also, after you pay the rent, they might text you the next day asking, "Did you pay the rent?" The office may hassle you about a lot of things that are their problems (not yours).

    4. They will not care about roommate problems (even though it's in the contract). One roommate brought 4-5 friends who were staying a week without paying the required rent. A roommate who didn't like this contacted the agency--they never responded. Obviously, these things can be worked out by talking to roommates, but my point is made.

    5. If there are still rooms to be rented in your apartment, agents will walk in with potential customers at any time during the day. This was SO annoying. It's makes you feel like you have absolutely no privacy and it's not your home.

    In sum, Shiny Housing was extremely unprofessional and unreliable. Often, when I contacted them for help, I got the reply "I'm busy now." Try other agencies or apartments with the websites above. Don't be a sucker.

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