If this is not the case with your contract, it is advised that you contact utility companies before making your move to Korea and arrange such services to be turned on the day before you arrive.
Also, if there are particular services that require more time for installation bear that in mind and plan accordingly. Extras such as cable TV and Internet will not automatically be provided by your landlord. English teachers or tutors living in a pre-arranged residence should already have the basics set up by their employer.
Setting up utilities
Villas and high-rises usually have regular service providers for the entire complex so getting in contact with companies may not be necessary.
As a part of their own policy, many real estate agencies in Korea will automatically provide such services as helping you open a bank account or getting in contact with service providers prior to moving in if need be. Others may simply offer you some assistance but it will be up to you to get things finalized. As getting these things done involves some work, make sure you find out in advance what sort of assistance you can expect from your agent.
Getting utilities, such as water, gas or electricity set up in your flat is usually a straightforward procedure in South Korea. Required documentation includes:
- a copy of your passport and
- a credit card or bank account number
Your utility bills should be between 50,000 and 200,000 won a month (approx. $55 USD - $210 USD), depending on the size and number of people at your residence. For those who live in high-rises or villas, your utility bills may be calculated as a building total and then divided by the number of apartments.
For some, this may seem unfair especially if your neighbors are not conserving resources. Therefore, make sure you understand how bills are calculated prior to signing a lease. The duration of your contract should not be a problem since the landlord manages utility bills and knows the amount of time you will be occupying the residence. However, for extras such as Internet and phone, you will need to clarify contract duration with the company before signing.
South Korea's heating system is actually very characteristic of its culture and history. Unlike many other countries that utilize a central heating system using air or liquids, Korea is known for its use of an under-floor heating method called "ondol".
Traditional ondol utilizes warming stones underground that heat the whole room starting with the floor (this goes along with the custom of removing ones shoes once inside a residence). More modern ondol has exchanged the stones for pipes in which warm water, heated by gas or oil, passes through to heat the ground and ultimately, the whole room. Although the average temperature used by Koreans is about 30 degrees Celsius, you can adjust the floor temperature to your liking.