- 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.
Most expats opt to rent property in Indonesia, rather than buy. This may be because it's technically illegal for foreigners to own land in Indonesia. Foreigners can purchase a house or apartment without owning the land it's 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.
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.
Finding accommodation in Indonesia
It is advisable to use a reputable 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
Signing a lease
Lease agreements are usually negotiated directly with the owner of the property. We recommend that expats have a trusted friend or colleague that is fluent in Indonesian look through the contract to ensure a clear understanding of the agreement.
Expats will usually need to pay a year's rent upfront, as well as a deposit of one month's rent. It's difficult but possible to find landlords willing to accept a smaller upfront payment, such as six months' rent along with the standard one-month deposit. Expats going this route should be prepared for the fact that they will have far fewer options to choose from and significantly less bargaining power when it comes to price.
Utilities like electricity, water, gas and internet are usually an extra cost on top of the monthly rent.
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.
►For information on getting around in the country, visit our page on Transport and Driving in Indonesia
"Being a city of contrasts, housing standards obviously vary a lot. However, as an expat, with an expat salary, you will have no problem in finding an apartment or a house that suits you." Read more about Lidia's experiences as a Spanish-Swedish expat 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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