The prices for luxury apartments are predicted to continue rising. If your company is arranging your accommodation, be prepared to negotiate to get what you want.
Taiwanese measure floor space in a unit called a ping (phêng), where 1 ping = 3.3m2. Expect to pay around NT$1,000 (US$34) per ping in Taipei, and less in other cities.
Most of the housing in Taiwan’s cities are apartments in secure blocks. Elevators are rare, and found only in the luxury apartments, so be prepared to use the stairs if you live on the upper floors.
Apartments of 13 floors and above are strictly regulated and built according to earthquake safety measures. Buildings of 12 floors and under aren’t so strictly controlled and are therefore less likely to be safe in the event of an earthquake (a fairly regular occurrence in Taiwan).
Houses are found as you move out of the city centre into the suburbs. As to be expected, rent decreases the further out of the centre you go. A house is still likely to be more expensive than an apartment.
You can choose from furnished or unfurnished housing, and most newer apartments will come with air conditioning.
Tap water is considered unsafe throughout Taiwan. In some cities, such as Taipei and Taichung, you can use the water after boiling it. In Kaohsiung, however, some people don’t use the tap water even after filtering or boiling. Potable water is dispensed through petrol-pump like devices at convenience stores - just bring your container and fill it up.
Most expats pay for a filter to be installed. This purifies the water coming out of the tap and makes it safe to drink. Make sure you buy your filter from a reputable company. Expect to pay around NT$250-375 per month for the service.
Natural gas or propane are used for heating water and cooking. Many homes in cities are connected to the main gas supply, and you will pay a monthly bill to receive gas. Smaller, older apartments may not be connected to the gas supply. In this case, you can buy refillable propane bottles from your local gas delivery man.
Taiwan produces 10% of its electricity needs through four nuclear power stations. The Taiwan Power Corporation runs a monopoly on the electricity supply and imports the remaining 90% from other countries. Despite this, electricity costs (payable bi-monthly) are relatively low, but do vary from season to season. The cool winter season will bring lower bills, but in summer you will pay much more due to greater use of air-conditioning and electric fans.
Most homes in Taiwan come already connected to a broadband line. If this is the case, your landlord will usually have included the cost in your rent. Should you need to set up your own line, visit our Telephone and Internet section for advice.
You can pay your utility bills at convenience stores, post offices, banks or through your landlord. Alternatively, most banks will allow you to set up a direct debit to pay your bills.
Rubbish (trash) is usually collected once a day. You will either have to put your rubbish in your building’s designated collection area, or run out when you hear the truck coming (it usually plays a jingle or announcement) and throw the bags in the back of the truck yourself.
Taiwan has strict recycling guidelines. You will need to separate your rubbish into cardboard, plastic, aluminium, and glass. Each type of recyclable material should be bagged up separately and put in the correct collection area, or section of the truck.