Expats moving to Taiwan can expect to find plenty of accommodation options available to them. Although accommodation in Taiwan can be relatively expensive, there are so many properties on offer that with a little patience and ingenuity, new arrivals are sure to find a comfortable, reasonably priced place to rent while in the country.
Some Taiwanese employers will provide foreign employees with a housing allowance over and above their basic salary, while other companies may provide free accommodation. Considering the high costs, it's worth trying to negotiate this as part of an employment package, especially if relocating specifically for work purposes.
Types of accommodation in Taiwan
Most expats tend to live in apartments. Houses aren't very common, although they can be found in suburban areas on the peripheries of Taiwanese cities. The most commonly available type of apartment is the small, studio-style variety. Generally, accommodation and room sizes are smaller than some new arrivals, especially those from the US, may be used to.
Most apartments have air conditioners installed (Taiwan is very hot in summer), but central heating is not common. It's possible to find apartment blocks with indoor swimming pools and gyms, but these are very expensive.
Although some apartments are furnished, most apartments in Taiwan will come unfurnished. However, it is also relatively easy to buy second-hand furniture and appliances when in the country.
Taiwan is a very safe society. Expats can rest assured that home security won't be an issue during their time in the country. Some apartment blocks do employ security guards in apartment block foyers (a cost which is included in the rent).
Finding accommodation in Taiwan
The process of finding an apartment in Taiwan can be difficult, especially if one doesn't speak Mandarin. Foreigners can search for accommodation through online property portals (some of which have English postings) and through expat social media groups.
Otherwise, new arrivals should contact a local real estate agent directly. Many Taiwanese estate agents won't be able to speak English, but there are some agencies which cater to the expat market.
Those looking for accommodation should ensure that they are able to view the property in person before committing to it, as the quality of many listed properties may not match what is presented in the listing.
Renting accommodation in Taiwan
Typically, rental deposits in Taiwan are equal to one to three months' rent. This deposit is refundable at the end of the rental contract provided no damage has been done to the apartment.
Year-long leases are common. If securing a lease through an agent, expats must pay an agent's fee which typically amounts to one month's rent.
Sometimes rental prices in Taiwan will include utilities such as building maintenance and garbage disposal. Tenants must pay their own water and electricity bills, but these are relatively low. Most Taiwanese apartments already have internet connections installed. In these cases, the landlord would usually have included the cost of internet in the rent.
Utilities and bills can be paid at convenience stores, the post office, the bank or through the landlord. It's also possible to set up a direct debit at the bank.
Bins and recycling
Taiwan has set up strict recycling guidelines. Tenants need to separate their trash into cardboard, aluminium, plastic and glass. Each group of materials needs to be bagged separately and placed in the corresponding collection area.
Trash is typically collected daily. Many buildings have a designated area for collection. However, in some cases tenants need to run out when they hear the rubbish removal truck coming and throw their trash in the truck themselves. These trucks usually play a jingle that makes it easy to identify.