Accommodation in Indonesia
Expats have a wide variety of options when it comes to finding accommodation in Indonesia.Those moving there with an international company should ask their employer for assistance in finding accommodation. Employers might be able to recommend a good estate agent or assist expats in exploring various neighbourhoods to find out which one would suit them best.
Most expats tend to rent property in Indonesia, rather than buy. This may be because it is technically illegal for foreigners to own land in Indonesia. Foreigners can purchase a house or apartment without owning the land it is built on, but this is quite often still a difficult process.
Cost of accommodation in Indonesia
Accommodation in Indonesia is inexpensive when compared to Western countries, but luxury housing in popular expat areas can be expensive. Housing prices in Jakarta tend to vary greatly and largely depends on the standard of living required.
Expats should bargain with landlords before coming to an agreement on the rental price. Landlords will often inflate the prices when dealing with a foreigner; a local could get the same house or apartment for about a fifth of the price.
Types of accommodation in Indonesia
There are many upmarket apartment blocks in Jakarta offering good locations, excellent amenities and stylish interiors. Apartments are well suited to expats who work in the city centre. Securing accommodation close to one's place of work can save hundreds of hours of commuting time per year.
Apartment blocks are also usually close to restaurants, shopping areas and other entertainment facilities, ensuring an exciting expat life for those who seek it. Expats will be able to find anything from a small studio flat to a spacious five-bedroom apartment in Jakarta.
Houses in the suburbs
Expats with families might prefer a more suburban lifestyle. The suburbs south of Jakarta offer spacious homes, clean air, and close proximity to international schools. Expats can choose between a free-standing home, and a house in a development or security complex.
A popular option for expats is a town house. It’s a compromise between a city apartment and a suburban house. Renting or owning a town house is a low-maintenance option with extra security and amenities. Town houses are semi-attached and are usually in a gated estate. Many of the complexes have garden areas and a pool.
Housing estates/security complexes
Housing estates in Jakarta are usually situated on the outskirts of the city and further out into the suburbs. These estates are secure and, because they are outside the city, the air quality is much better, making them suitable for expats with children. Housing estates provide excellent amenities such as golf courses, parks and walking trails.
Finding accommodation in Indonesia
It is advisable to use an estate agent to find accommodation in Indonesia. They will be familiar with all the rules and regulations and will be able to advise on the options that most expats choose. Those who are receiving help from their employer to find accommodation might not need to go through an estate agent.
Expats should use estate agents’ data bases, Internet searches and newspaper classifieds to aid them in their accommodation search. The Jakarta Post has a good classifieds section.
Deposits and leases in Indonesia
Lease agreements are usually negotiated directly with the owner of the property. Rent will often be quoted in US dollars and it is fixed for the period specified in the lease.
Expats will need to pay the rent upfront for the entire lease period; however, if the lease is for two or three years expats will probably only have to pay one year upfront. It is also possible to rent a property on a three-month lease that can be renewed.
Deposits are usually equal to one month’s rent. This can either be used to pay for rent in advance or can be returned at the end of the lease period as long as the property has been returned in an acceptable state and the tenant has not broken any rules.
Utilities and home security in Indonesia
Security can be an issue in Indonesia but crime is usually limited to theft and is not often violent or serious. Most apartment buildings will employ security guards and have extra security measures such as surveillance cameras in place.
Apartment buildings will also be insured for damage to property from fire, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters. The interior of the apartment and the tenant’s belongings, however, will not be covered by this insurance.
Utilities in Indonesia are not expensive but are not usually included in the rent.
Factors to consider
There are various things to consider when deciding where to live in Indonesia. One of the most important things for working expats is proximity to the workplace. Traffic in Jakarta is a nightmare and is only getting worse. Expats need to make their commute time as short as possible to avoid daily frustration in the traffic.
Another factor for expats with children to consider is how close they are to a good international school. Proximity to public transport for children to use to get to school is also important.
Lifestyle should also be a consideration. Expats should choose their accommodation based on whether they would prefer a fast-paced city lifestyle or a more relaxed and quiet suburban life.
It is also very important that expats feel safe in their new home in Indonesia. If safety is a concern then expats should ensure that they find accommodation with extra security.