So you’re thinking about life as an expat in Taiwan, and are wondering what it’s like to rent an apartment in Taiwan. I’m here to share my process of apartment searching from Taipei city to New Taipei, share some pictures of my own apartment, and share my tips along the way.
If you’re new around here, I recently moved to Taiwan to travel and teach English for the next year. Ironically, it all came to fruition as the coronavirus started to take hold in Europe, with only a few isolated cases in the U.K. Talk about fortunate!
My apartment search in Taipei City
Originally, I wanted to live in Taipei city, the centre of the action and was looking specifically for an expat shared apartment. I felt like this would be a great way to make friends outside of work, and really give me that exciting first-hand experience of living abroad.
I went as far to look at a few apartments on my own accord in expat areas like Da’an, and on the outskirts of Xinyi, but a lot of the apartments just didn’t have the social vibe I was looking for. Also, apartments here get snapped up super quick. You could view one on one day, and the next day it’s taken. Things move fast in Taiwan, it’s a competitive space. So the moment you find an available apartment, get viewing as soon as possible.
The best way to find new apartments on the market is on Facebook. Expats moving out of their apartment will usually post on there on behalf of their landlord. You will also find a lot of agents posting on there too, something to keep in mind as you may have a higher deposit fee to pay due to their inclusion in the process.
Apartment viewing in New Taipei City
My manager kept insisting I should live out in New Taipei City, close to work and have my apartment. Reluctantly, I went along to apartment viewings he set up and honestly disliked a lot of them. They were very old traditional buildings, most were very hot and dark, and one had horrendous hot pink floral wallpaper I couldn’t get past, emotionally.
But admittedly, finding an apartment in New Taipei is a little better for the budget and you can get more bang for your buck. It’s also only a short train journey to the centre of Taipei, and with trains being less than 40 NT, there’s nothing to complain about.
Eventually, we viewed the apartment I’m in now, a super modern, new apartment only a 15-minute walk to work. My Taiwanese coworkers would argue this is too far (which I still don’t understand, but convenience is the heart of culture in Taiwan!)
My apartment in New Taipei
Welcome to my apartment in Taiwan! My studio apartment comes with a small kitchenette, including a sink and induction stove as well as basic storage. It was minimal to what I wanted but I knew I could improvise and extend this. It was also bright and spacious.
It also included:
- A dehumidifier
- A brand new air con
- Washing machine
- An induction stove
- Fridge and freezer (energy efficient)
- Flat screen TV with channels
- All basic furniture
My Taiwan apartment costs 15,000NT per month including water, so around £400. And after putting down my deposit (2 months worth), it was officially mine. So I moved all my stuff from my hostel in Ximen straight into my new apartment in XiZhi. I’ve now been living here for just over three months. You can see what my apartment looks like now by watching my full apartment tour video on my Youtube channel.
My tips for apartment hunting in Taiwan
You can find agents and landlords in Taipei that speak enough English. However, I recommend bringing a local, someone who can speak Chinese and can act as a guide. If you’re teaching English in Taiwan, there will usually be a support to help you find a Taiwan apartment. My manager and the co-teachers at my school were happy to help with this process, and are still really useful when issues arise.
Landlords have been friendly in my experience are a little flexible, so if there’s something you require, you may be able to ask if it could be included. I would usually see if they could upgrade the air con, or include a dehumidifier. But don’t be too cheeky.
There have been some strange things like, having a guarantor in the instance that you should die, or especially commit suicide in the apartment, the guarantor would pay or take over the full cost of the apartment. This has stopped me from signing contracts because, well, buying a property in Taiwan is ridiculously expensive, and I don’t know anybody that would be willing to put that much on the line. I can’t say I blame them. Just something to look out for.
Additionally, cockroaches are a pest. The higher up you live, the less likely you’ll see many. But just remember that heat rises so while you may be avoiding cockroaches consistently, you may be paying for that energy bill. It depends on your priorities.
And last but not least, your first deposit and one months rent add up to a fair bit. I always recommend having more than enough to cover your expenses (at least £1000)