As Taiwan’s two largest cities, Taipei and Kaohsiung attract high numbers of expats. Whether you choose to live there, or in a smaller town, the property search process is essentially the same.
Types of rentals
Rental properties in Taiwan are the same as you would find in other developed countries. In cities such as Taipei, space is at a premium. Rental prices are very high and apartments tend to be smaller. Houses are rarer unless you are living in the countryside.
Many single expats coming to the country choose to rent a room in a flatshare. This is a good way to adjust to the country and to use your roommates as a source of information about life in Taiwan. There are many online ads and notice boards in places such as universities which advertise room shares.
For families moving to Taiwan who don’t have accommodation arranged through their employer, larger apartments are available in every city. Houses can be found in the suburbs and more rural areas. In Taipei and, to a lesser extent, Kaohsiung, rental prices for larger apartments will be very high.
Finding your rental home
Finding a property is possible without knowing Mandarin. Further down the line, however, if you deal with real estate agents and landlords, you will need someone with you who can speak it confidently.
The easiest way to find housing is to talk to other expats, or check the areas where they congregate. Some international schools will have notice boards with apartments advertised, and sometimes it comes down to word of mouth - someone is leaving and you can take over their lease.
An option for people who know Mandarin is to go to the neighbourhood you wish to rent in and then look for the notice board that red and yellow notices. These signs advertise property for sale or rent. They are found on telegraph poles and walls, as well as the notice boards. It also doesn’t hurt to check if a property for sale is also available for rent.
There are several property portals in English for Taiwan. You can use them to research your options, check prices and choose neighbourhoods before you arrive.
Here are some useful links to rentals advertised online:
- www.forumosa.com/taiwan/ - a forum for foreigners in Taiwan. It covers every aspect of living and working in the country and includes some rental listings.
- http://rentals.classifieds1000.com/Taiwan - this site is a classifieds portal with many short-term and long-term rentals advertised.
- http://foreigner.esldewey.com.tw/taiwan-classifieds/day-to-day-taiwan/house-rental/ - this website has ads in English for rentals in various cities.
- www.tealit.com/ - a popular online community for foreigners in Taiwan. Advertises jobs, language exchanges and housing. You can search for roommates or your own apartment here.
If you choose to go through an agency, take a Mandarin speaking colleague or friend with you, or hunt around for an English speaking agency. In Taipei and Kaohsiung, there are several estate agents who speak English and are used to dealing with expats.
If you do go through an agency, expect to pay one months rent as a fee. Usually this is split 50/50 between you and the landlord. Most landlords also charge one or two months rent as a deposit which you get back at the end of your contract providing there are no damages etc.