- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Indonesia Guide (PDF)
Expats have a wide variety of options when it comes to finding accommodation in Indonesia. Those moving 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.
A 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.
Most expats opt 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.
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, cleaner air, and close proximity to international schools. Expats can usually choose between a freestanding home and a house in a development or security complex.
Another popular option for expats is a townhouse. This offers a compromise between a city apartment and a suburban house. Renting or owning a townhouse is a low-maintenance option with extra security and amenities. Townhouses 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’ databases, internet searches and newspaper classifieds to aid them in their accommodation search.
Renting accommodation in Indonesia
Lease agreements are usually negotiated directly with the owner of the property. Rent will often be quoted in US dollars and is fixed for the period specified in the lease.
Expats will usually 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 generally possible to rent a property on a three-month lease which can be renewed.
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.
Buying property in Indonesia
A good tip for expats thinking of buying an apartment in Indonesia is that they should think of purchasing one within a building which also contains serviced apartments. This means that the building will be very well maintained to attract short-term tenants. Expats who purchase an apartment in such a building will then benefit from this good upkeep.
As mentioned above, it is illegal for a foreigner to own land in Indonesia, unless they are an Indonesian citizen. However, foreigners can purchase a building on the land without owning the land itself.
It is possible for expats to lease a piece of land for up to 70 years, effectively owning it until their death; however, the rules and regulations surrounding this are vague.
►For information on getting around in the country, visit our page on Transport and Driving in Indonesia
Are you an expat living in Indonesia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Indonesia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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