What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?
The search for accommodations in Taipei can be long. Many buildings are older and the weather is very damaging, so the facades are often not inspiring. Plus, landlords do not paint or clean until they have a new tenant, which is good if you have a particular color in mind, but can be discouraging if you have difficulty seeing past the surface.
That said, older apartments can look very good once they are repainted and cleaned, and they tend to be more centrally located and are more convenient. There are also many new buildings going up in
Taipei, though they tend to be far out of the city. Because of the new building code, these have a greater public-to-private space ratio.
Area measurements are given in ping, a unit of about 36 square feet or 3.5 square meters. Areas given for apartments will include that apartment's portion of the public space, or the landing, hallways, elevator, lobby and parking, if applicable. Older buildings can have a little as 10 per cent public space, and new ones can have as much as 30 per cent.
Older buildings also do not always have parking available, while newer ones generally do.
What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?
Taipei is divided into north and south by the Keelung River.
The most popular neighborhood on the north side is Tien Mou. It is where most expats with families traditionally live. That is because the international schools are located there, and Tien Mou itself is quite a green and convenient area, with many shops and conveniences located within walking distance. Most accommodations in this area are apartments, though there are also a number of houses with gardens and pools. The outside garden areas generally tend to be quite small.
To the east and west of Tien Mou are Yang Ming Mountain (Shan) and Wellington Heights, respectively. Yang Ming Shan has two gated communities with houses, and a number of houses are strung along its main road and on several smaller roads that run off it. Houses there tend to be larger and have bigger gardens, and this area in particular is closest to the European School. Groceries and some amenities are available, but greater variety requires trips into Tien Mou (about 20 minutes away during the day). Public bus transportation is available: large ones that use the main roads and smaller light buses that serve the smaller roads and link up with the MRT. Wellington Heights is a single gated community with houses that range in size. Groceries are not far, but other amenities require trips to Tien Mou. Public transportation is limited to calling for a taxi.
The most popular area to the southeast is Hsin Yi. This is the newest area of the city with the greatest number of new buildings, including the Warner Village and Taipei 101, and is popular with expats for this reason. Public transportation is available, including the MRT and buses.
Good accommodation is available in all other areas of the city, however, and anywhere you might choose to live in the downtown area will be close to one popular area or another.
Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?
Expats will almost exclusively rent their homes. Property is so expensive that it is generally prohibitive to buy.
Typically, will I be required to pay additional money up front (such as a deposit) before moving into leased housing? If so, how much is common?
Deposits are always required and are repaid without interest at the end of the lease when the utilities have been paid. Generally, deposits are equivalent to two or three months' rent, and depend on what each landlord wants. A deposit of three months' rent is a little more common for properties that come furnished or cost over 200,000NT/month to rent.
Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?
Utilities are always excluded from the rental price, as are management fees for apartments. Also excluded are gardening, pool, maintenance and security fees for houses.
Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?
Very few parts of the greater Taipei area would be considered unsafe. In particular, the downtown or Tien Mou areas are viewed as very safe. Of course, general safety precautions apply for apartment living.
Those who live in houses should ensure that there is a security system in place and in good working order, as break-ins that do occur usually happen on landed properties. Only very wealthy people in Taiwan own or live in houses, and this makes them better targets. On the positive side, thieves are not interested in anything other than money or portable valuables like jewelry. Violence and/or property destruction are extremely rare.
I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?
The electric current is 110V and HZ is 60. The plug shape is the flat two-pin (as in North America), though adapters and transformers are available for three- to two-pin plugs.
Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?
Utilities are not expensive for the region. While generalizations cannot easily be made here, it is well worth it to remember that electricity fees per kilowatt hour go up with your consumption. This is intended to encourage people to be careful with their air conditioners in the summer. If you arrive in the summer, try to keep your consumption on the lower side until you receive the first bill. This will help you avoid any particularly unpleasant surprises.
Management fees depend on a few factors: whether or not there is a security guard in the lobby, if there are facilities like a pool or gym in the building, and how many apartments in the building share the fees. These fees can be as low as 600NT per month and as high as 20,000NT. Gardening fees will generally depend on the size of your garden, and what the maintenance schedule is. A full day will be about 2,500NT and may or may not include pool cleaning. Gardeners generally come once a week for a full or half day, which works out to approximately 10,000NT/month for full days. Security fees are paid monthly, and are about 3,000 to 4,000NT/month, depending on the system and the coverage.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.