Upon arriving, looking for a room or your own apartment in Taiwan can be a rather difficult or time-consuming process. Unlike nearby countries like Japan, there aren’t many easy-to-use apartment or ‘sharehouse’ companies that cater well to foreigners with a large choice of places to stay. This is especially the case if you plan to rent somewhere for a matter of months, rather than a contract of a year or two.
You can use a local website such as 591.com.tw, but below are some better options for foreigners looking for a few ways to make the process as stress-free as possible. It’ll take a bit of time searching, probably requiring contacting various landlords and agencies, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
Apartment and shared housing agencies
Here are our recommended choices for finding a shared house room or apartment in Taiwan:
This Japanese monthly ‘sharehouse’ company is a safe bet for those that have just arrived in Taipei. The initial fee is NT$6,500 (NT$5,000 returned at check out), then the monthly rent pays for everything, apart from the electricity fee. Prices are sometimes higher than if just using a Facebook group or a less established agency, but using Borderless House is such a pain-free experience, it comes highly recommended by tenants. Big thumbs up for customer service and support too, plus as about half the tenants are Taiwanese, it’s an awesome way to make friends with locals.
One of the few agencies in Taipei run by a European, Taipei House does not charge a ‘foreigners premium’ price like some. Sharehouse rooms, as well as apartments are available, with monthly contracts on offer. The apartments offer basic facilities and appliances, such as a fridge, but tend not to have any cooking facilities. Taipei House usually runs buildings that are a tad old, but they are well maintained, and as mentioned, the prices are very fair and reasonable.
Catering more to foreigners that plan to stay a year or more, Mangoroc has a diverse range of apartments across Taipei. They are therefore an excellent option if you have a fixed contract at work, and know you’ll be able to stay for the whole year, as well as families looking for larger apartments in the quieter suburbs. Some apartments can be rented for less than a year, but prices will increase in such cases.
Many foreigners in Taiwan tend to find a room or apartment on Facebook, as it can be easier to find a good one via one of the groups. The most popular Facebook group is Looking for Roommates or Apartments in Taipei and Taiwan, but Taipei Taiwan Apartment Rentals is also worth giving a try. If you plan to live in a city outside Taipei, such as Kaohsiung or Taichung, try searching for groups for your specific city or region.
Things to consider when renting an apartment or room in Taiwan
- Many apartments don’t have cooking facilities, or don’t allow you to cook. This is because most Taiwannese people eat out or get takeaways, so all they need is a fridge and possibly a microwave.
- Older buildings have toilets that cannot flush toilet paper down them. In such places, you are supposed to put your toilet paper in a bin. This is usually not an issue with newer buildings, but check before viewing if this is an problem for you.
- In relation to the above, many apartments and sharehouses have been refurbished and remodeled to look modern and clean on the inside, but the actual buildings, and their exteriors, are quite old. This may mean that while the apartment looks great from internal photos, it still might have issues with plumbing and cockroaches. When viewing such places, be sure to check the hallways and such to make sure the building is properly cleaned and maintained.
- If the landlord does not speak English, or the contract is just in Mandarin, don’t feel shy to bring a Taiwanese friend along to view the room. This should help avoid issues such as unwelcome maintenance costs.
- Check whether trash collection is included, or you will have to take your trash out yourself when the garbage trucks make their runs around your neighborhood.