house hunting in Jakarta

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1. House Hunting Tips

2. Issues to be aware of when choosing a house

a. Flooding
b. General Condition of the House
c. The Water Supply
d. The External Environment

 

1. House hunting tips
Following are some tips and information that may be helpful for those who have recently arrived. The information is mainly geared to people who will be staying in Jakarta, but some of the info can be useful also if you are settling in other parts of Indonesia.

If your company does not arrange housing for you, you will have to spend some time finding a suitable place to live. Foreigners can not own real estate in Indonesia, so the vast majority rent a home. In Jakarta this can be either a house or an apartment - in other parts of the country there are not yet any apartments. Apartments are a new thing here – the majority of them were built since 1998.

When renting a house, you are expected to pay the rent up front. It is common that the landlord asks you to sign a lease for 2 or 3 years and you will have to pay the rent for that period in advance. It is also possible to find houses that you can rent for one year (and pay one year’s rent in advance), but these are usually a bit harder to find, and the monthly rent will often be relatively more expensive than on the longer leases.

Utilities, such as electricity, water, telephone, Internet connection, cable or satellite TV are paid monthly. The same goes for garbage collection and neighborhood security. None of these expenses are usually included in your rent.

In Jakarta, the easiest way to find a house or an apartment is to use an agent. Alternatively, you can find ads for houses and flats for rent in the Jakarta Post newspaper. You can also find a lot of homes for rent (through agents) at the website  [  www.rumah123.com ]. If you are on a limited budget, finding a home on your own and negotiating a lease directly with the house or apartment owner, may cost you less, as the owner saves the fee that the agent usually gets.  Small towns around the country will often not have property agents, and oftentimes also not many houses for rent, but the people in your workplace can help you find a place. In most cases the rent can be negotiated - whether you find your home through an agent or on your own.

Issues to be aware of when you select a house
Flooding is an annual occurrence in Jakarta and many parts of Indonesia. In Jakarta it seems that the annual floods have been getting worse in recent years. As a general rule it is better to avoid houses that are located in very low-lying areas. When you find a house you like, don’t just trust the owner’s assurances that it is flood-free – do your own checking: ask people who live in the area whether it floods, ask people in your office about that area, or ask other Nordic Club members.

The condition of the home should be good and everything (water, electric outlets etc) in good working order before you pay the rent. Also, check that any improvements you have agreed with the landlord as a condition for your lease, are done to your satisfaction before paying. It is often difficult (sometimes impossible) to get the landlord to fix any problems once you have paid your rent in full. And (of course) ensure that all agreements are spelled out in your rental agreement (contract).

Water-supply is sometimes from a well (“sumur”), sometimes from the public water supply (PAM), sometimes from both. Some wells are too shallow and run dry at the end of the dry season. If your only supply is a well, you should check that it is deep enough. Also, be aware that well-water in some areas easily get polluted by seepage from septic tanks (Jakarta is very densely populated and has no sewer-system).

External environment: Noise can easily be a problem, for instance if you live by a busy street or if your road is used as a shortcut for motorbikes or if a mosque is located next to your back yard. Make sure that the noise is not more than you can live with. Air pollution is extremely bad in Jakarta and some of the other major Indonesian cities. The highest levels of pollution are usually close to major thoroughfares. A house located on a small street, further away from major roads may get less of the air pollution than if it were on a main road. Burning of garbage, including plastic, is also quite widespread and produces some very noxious smoke. Make sure that you don’t move into a place where garbage collectors live behind your back wall, or very close by, as they will be likely to frequently burn garbage.

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