Generally speaking, the lease term is one year and the landlord prefer to collect all the one-year rental fee in advance, or if not possible, every half year. You certainly can negotiate the payment method being made on a monthly basis. However, given that the landlord needs to worry about collecting their rental fee every month, they may claim a higher rental fee. So you need to weigh the pros and cons of different payment methods against the rental fee.
Given that Construction in China is everywhere. A tranquil leafy street may soon become a noisy construction place crowed with cranes and piling machines. So you need to be careful for a longer lease term and the future construction plan around your apartment.
You may discuss the terms of breach liabilities to cap your potential loss in case you have to make a decision to move before the mature date of your tenancy agreement.