For some people, especially foreigners who have just entered a new area, even a new country, looking for a place to live is a concern. I want to make this article a forum to share my experiences with readers who may have experienced the same thing.
I am a doctoral student at a university in Taipei City. I arrived in Taipei around the end of March 2021. After completing the 14 days quarantine and 7 days self-health management process at Airbnb, I had to find a permanent place to live to spend my days in Taipei.
I had to immediately find a place to live because the proof of the contract agreement between the owner of the house and me would be used as an attachment to apply for an ARC (Alien Resident Card). This document is also a requirement to open a bank account as a medium for channeling my scholarship funds.
There are several things you need to pay attention to when looking for an apartment and consider them. The points that I write below also concern me when considering one apartment with another.
How to start looking
There are several websites that you can use as a starting point for finding apartments. I will write it down from the platform that I recommend the most.
The 591.com.tw site is the starting point that I recommend the most because it is the flagship for landlords who want to publish their own houses. One annoying thing is, this site does not provide an English interface. You have to translate it manually. (A few tips: you can use google chrome or a translation plugin to make it easier). Once you have found a suitable candidate, you can contact the host by calling him from the Line application (you must have Line messenger to live in this city). You can call directly (most likely, your landlord does not speak English). If your landlords still can’t respond to you because they don’t speak English, please ignore them. There are still many other landlords that can speak English.
You can see several groups that have many members on Facebook (link here). Taiwan is a country that quite often relies on Facebook and its marketplaces for transactions.
My Room Abroad
My Room Abroad is one option if you’re looking for a website with an English interface and offer a written contract in English.
In determining the location, in addition to the distance to the place of activity (office/campus), you also need to pay attention to accessibility to the nearest MRT station or the nearest bus stop. You can use google maps to measure the distance (walking) from the candidate where you live to the nearest MRT / bus-stop station. Also, pay attention to the nearest MRT line.
Taipei has many MRT lines, red, blue, green, brown, purple, etc. Youbike shelter is also one of the things you need to consider regarding the mode of transportation. On the other hand, you need to consider the proximity of your candidate home to mini markets such as 7–11 or family mart, or even carrefour markets and traditional markets.
The cost of renting an apartment around a big city like Taipei is undoubtedly very different from those who live in the area. Moreover, suppose you choose to live in the city center, in offices, or close to large campuses, most of which have many international students, of course. In that case, it will increase your rental price. The average for a single studio ranges from 10,000 NTD to 16,000 NTD. All depends on accessibility and facilities
If you rent an apartment through an agent, you will be charged an agent fee. Most of the apartments offered on the internet result from uploads from the agent because homeowners are reluctant to deal with other people. Agency fees generally range from 50% of the cost of one month’s rent. The agent will get 50% of you as the tenant and 50% of the house owner. Don’t worry, this is normal.
The primary electricity tariff in Taipei is quite affordable and relatively the same as other countries in Asia, such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. However, when you rent a residence, most homeowners will charge electricity above the introductory rate issued by the government (Taipower Rate).
Usually, residence owners charge around 4–5 NTD per kwh andkWh6 NTD per kWh, especially in the summer season. This is normal. You will pay the electricity money along with the monthly rental fee. You will be asked to take a photo of your electricity meter and calculate the difference in kwh and multiply it by the rate charged to you.
The duration of the contract for each occupancy varies. In general, they only accept long-term contracts (6–12 months). However, it is not uncommon for some landlords to allow short-term contracts (3 months). And almost no one gives monthly or even daily.
There are also some accessible facilities that you will usually get. Most residences will provide free internet (usually in the form of WIFI or LAN cable) with speeds of 10–20Mbps. Washing Machine, drying area or a dryer machine, cupboard, bed, refrigerator (private or sharing), study table, shared kitchen, post box, etc. All back again to the monthly fee you pay. The more expensive the rental price for your house, the more facilities you will get.
This is an essential concern for migrants to Taiwan. It is challenging to find public trash bins or trash bins in Taiwan, especially in Taipei. Taiwan is known as a country that is very skilled in waste management and waste recycling. You must carry your trash independently to the pick-up points by a particular time. You can find instructions and a schedule for collecting your trash through this website.
You need to know that the trash bag you use must be official and has a hologram. You can’t just use plastic or ordinary containers to make a trash bag or garbage bag. You can buy these trash bags at convenience stores around your house or at supermarkets. The price charged for these bags is quite expensive because the government charges garbage fees from residents by purchasing these unique trash bags.
The trash bags above are for general category trash. However, the government really hopes that you can classify recycled waste into categories that have been determined by the government, as you can see in the image below.
Garbage collection does not operate on Wednesdays and Sundays. So, prepare for that.