In comparison to many expats’ home countries, the cost of renting a home in Taiwan is generally quite cheap. Having said that, rent in Taipei is usually much higher than anywhere else on the island. In the capital city it’s much harder to find good deals, and quite often central apartments are compact.
Whether it’s a colleague or a friend, having a local person help out makes the entire process run a lot smoother. There are local notice boards where landlords post their properties as well as a myriad of rental websites with no English options. For those with no Chinese reading skills or local friends, there are several expat forums and Facebook groups that are easy to find online where newcomers can ask for assistance.
If possible, check apartments on a rainy day. Any leaks in the windows or ceiling will show up, and if it’s on an old street or alleyway, the area outside can be checked to ensure that there are no problems with drainage. There are some areas in Taiwan that flood quite often during typhoons, and if the street is full of puddles on an average rainy day, then it will likely be swamped during a typhoon.
The park or school by the front door might look like a real plus point, but light sleepers beware. The parks are often full of people working out to music at first light and schools are busy from 7am. On the other end of the scale are night markets which are a hive of activity until well past midnight.
Choosing the size of apartment, how many rooms, balconies, etc. will help narrow down searches a great deal. Decide what is absolutely essential and only view those apartments that fit the requirements. This will save an incredible amount of time and effort spent traveling to and viewing unsuitable places.
Expats throughout Taiwan will attest that there’s seemingly always a better place to rent just around the corner. There are in fact a lot of places available so unless an apartment checks all the necessary boxes, hold off on a decision no matter what the landlord or realtor says.
Usually, landlords will require one month’s rent as a deposit and one month’s rent in advance. This is the accepted norm, and anything more is generally thought of as unreasonable.
Rooftop apartments are available all over the region and Taipei has its fair share of rooftop bars and restaurants, but when renting there are couple of things to be aware of. A rooftop apartment usually has more space and quite often an outdoor area which sounds like a great deal. But the disadvantage is that many are added illegally to the top of older buildings and aren’t as structurally sound as they may look. If there is a tin roof, this can add to the already oppressive summer heat.