Thursday, June 2, 2011

Renting Apartment in Taipei, Taiwan

One of the very first thing you are probably going to do when arriving to Taipei city is to look for a place to live (unless, of course, you are traveling, but that is for another post.) Finding apartment is very easy, and below I will give you some details how to find an apartment, what to look for and watch out, and how much you will need to start.

Before starting your hunt for apartment, you need to decide few basis things:
1. Location - very important, you would want it to be not too far from work or school and to be convenient.
2. Size - how large apartment will you need. Will a studio be enough? Do you need kitchen and balcony?
3. Your personal needs - well, you will be living here for some time, so thing about your personal needs. For example, do you have a pet? Can you keep it in an apartment you just checked? Do you like take a walk in the park and you notice that there is park in neighborhood? Do you need constant supply of beer yet there is no shop to be find? Would you prefer to live alone, or can have a roommate?
4. Your budget - how much you are willing to afford per month

Finding apartment is actually not difficult at all.
First, you can check online resources for foreigners in Taiwan, such as: Forumosa or Tealit. Check the classified section and also see if there are people who are looking for roommates if you don't mind that.
Second option is to check newspapers such as Taipei Times and China Post and call the agents that advertise there. There are also lots of agency that offer selling/renting apartments.
However, the best (and often the cheapest way) of finding apartment to ask locals to help you with that. So if you have a friend who is Taiwanese (or know Chinese) or a coworker, classmate, it will help you a lot. First, they can check online resources to find thousands of apartments that will sue your needs and for much lower price by omitting fees to agents.

When you finally start to check apartment, remember few things that might come in handy:
1. Does the landlord offer furniture?
2. How long is the contract and what is the deposit?
3. Is there any security fees?
4. Any other fees you need to be aware of other than water, gas, electricity.
5. Does the place have Air Conditioning - trust me, you will need it.
6. In case of any damage that is not your fault - who is responsible for fixing it.
7. Check water pressure - sometimes it will leak, other times there is not enough pressure to enjoy your shower.
8. Ask for other things you might find important, like access to internet, having pets, etc.

Once you find an apartment that you like, you will need to sign a contract. It basically says you will leave there for how long and pay how much and when, as well as how many months deposit will you provide.

Your costs will be in the neighborhood of:
NT5000-NT8000 - sharing apartment as a roommate in Taipei City or living in a studio around Taipei City
NT8000-12000 - small studio in Taipei City, 1 bedroom apartment outside city
NT12000-NT15000 - small furnitured studio in Taipei City, 1-2 bedroom apartment (can be furnitured) outside city
NT15000-20000 - nice studio in Taipei City or small apartment (furnitured) - or 1-3 bedroom apartment outside the city
and cost will go up from here.

First time you will need:
Usually 2 months deposit and 1 month rent. So if you rent an apartment for NT12000, first day you will need to pay NT36000.
Security fees: usually from NT500-1500 a month
Water bill: NT200-500 a month
Electricity: NT800-NT3000 a month (during summer when you use AC most of the time)
Gas bill: depends if you cook at home, but about NT300-NT600 a month
Stationary phone bill: NT70
Cellphone: Contracts start from NT200. You will probably pay about NT600 or more if you use it a bit.

So in this example, if you planning to rent an apartment for NT12000, expect each month to spend about NT15000 for place to live with all bills included. This is going to be your largest expenditure when living in Taipei, so take your time and decide how much you can afford to spend.

Quick note: If you are a student in university, you can apply for a dormitory. As a foreigner student, you will have priority in assigning dormitory space. They run very cheap - about NT5000 per semester

Apartments in other cities in Taiwan are relatively much cheaper (some places have cost lower by like 60% than in Taipei.)