If you are planning to rent a house or an apartment in Korea, you might be surprised by how different the rental system is from other countries. In this blog post, I will explain the two main types of rental agreements in Korea: jeonse and wolse, and their advantages and disadvantages.

Jeonse (전세)

Jeonse is a unique rental system that is only found in Korea. It means that instead of paying a monthly rent, you pay a large lump-sum deposit to the landlord at the beginning of the contract. This deposit, also called “key money”, is usually between 50% and 70% of the property’s value . The landlord can use this money for investment or other purposes, but has to return it to you in full at the end of the contract. The contract period is usually two years, with an option to renew for another two years by law.

The advantage of jeonse is that you can live rent-free for two years while saving up more money for your future housing plans. Many Koreans see jeonse as a stepping stone to homeownership. Jeonse also gives you more bargaining power and stability than wolse, as landlords prefer tenants who can pay a large deposit upfront.

The disadvantage of jeonse is that it requires a lot of capital upfront, which might be difficult for some people to afford. Jeonse also carries some risks for both tenants and landlords. For tenants, there is a possibility that the landlord might not be able to pay back the deposit at the end of the contract, especially if the property value drops or if they invest poorly. For landlords, there is a risk that they might lose money if they have to return more than what they earned from investing or borrowing with the deposit.

Wolse (월세)

Wolse is a more common rental system in other countries. It means that you pay a monthly rent and a smaller deposit to the landlord at the beginning of the contract. The deposit, which is usually one to three months’ rent, serves as a security for any damages or unpaid rent. The landlord returns it to you at the end of the contract minus any deductions. The contract period can vary depending on your agreement with the landlord.

The advantage of wolse is that it requires less capital upfront than jeonse, which makes it more accessible for people who don’t have enough savings or income. Wolse also gives you more flexibility and mobility than jeonse, as you can move out more easily if you find a better place or if your circumstances change.

The disadvantage of wolse is that you have to pay rent every month, which might be burdensome for some people depending on their income level and living expenses. Wolse also gives you less bargaining power and stability than jeonse, as landlords might increase your rent or terminate your contract if they find someone who can pay more or offer jeonse.


The rental system in Korea has its own characteristics and benefits depending on your situation and preferences. Before renting a house or an apartment in Korea, it is important to understand how jeonse and wolse work and what they entail. You should also do some research on the market value of properties in your desired area and check out different options before making a decision.

I hope this blog post has given you some useful information about renting in Korea. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.