What are the standard lease and payment terms in Yangon?

Times are changing fast but make no mistake, landlords will still always ask for a minimum contract period of 12 months, with payment made upfront and in full. However, it is possible in the current market to easily negotiate payments in 6-month blocks or even less with the right landlord, some tenants have even managed to secure monthly payment terms but still working on an annual lease contract.
Most landlords also retain a strong preference for cash for payment, in parts because people remain wary of banks. Make sure this last question is handled during negotiations – the last thing you want is to suddenly need to scramble money together to make payment. Set the agreement during negotiations and plan accordingly.

Where should I live in Yangon?

There is no easy answer to this question. We suggest that families with children prioritise schooling: nobody wants to have their child or children spend 45 minutes in a bus or car to school each way.
For everyone else, we’d suggest a careful consideration of work versus lifestyle. Plenty of offices are downtown and it is convenient to be able to quickly walk to work but if you need peace and tranquility in your life, downtown might not be ideal.

Should safety be a major consideration?

Generally speaking Yangon is a very safe city but it is worth being prepared. In fact, your daily commute to work is probably the most dangerous part of the day. But do secure your property – lock windows and external doors and do buy a safe to hold valuables.
If you have a standalone house or villa, it’s worth hiring a guard and/or gardener for several reasons: a) it doesn’t cost too much, b) things will invariably break and a good helper can more easily get them repaired, and c) having someone around the property all the time dramatically reduces the chance of burglary.

Do I need to do pay stamp duty on my lease? Is there other paperwork I need to do?

Yes. Stamp duty is a tenant responsibility and it needs to be paid on the day the lease comes into effect. It is charged at 0.5% of the value of the lease, with an additional 2% charged on security deposits, if they are included.
Stamp duty can be paid at the township’s Internal Revenue Department office or at the central office in downtown. However, the challenging part is that payment needs to be made to a government bank, in Myanmar Kyat. We can assist tenants to handle this process.
Another challenge is immigration-related paperwork, specifically the Form C registration process. This is something that your landlord should be assisting with, especially since requirements vary from place to place.

What about pets?

There’s no simple answer to this: some landlords are happy to accept pets, while others do not. Basically in a house this should be no issue at all but if you have a large dog, please do let the landlord know. In an apartment or condo please inform the landlord that you have or plan to have a pet before you sign a lease.