Renting an apartment in China
When you’re going to China there might be a couple of things you’re wondering or worrying about, especially when you’re not a very experienced traveler or expatriate. Of course you focus first on the job, its pros and cons – is it worth it for you to move to the other end of the world?
Once you decided to go to China you start looking at other aspects of your year abroad. For example: what are the local living conditions?
The environment you will normally spend most of your time in, next to your job, is of course your house. It’s understandable if you want to know what your accommodation will look like, and how renting a house in China works. Let us describe your housing experience by answering the 5 questions mostly asked by our candidates.
1. What does my apartment look like?
Expect a decent apartment, normally in a flat building. Don’t worry too much about the state of your apartment. There are guidelines for expats when it comes to the standards of apartment. You will at least have a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom. If you share the apartment you will have two bedrooms. Sometimes you’ll have a small balcony or a conservatory.
2. Do I have to pay for my apartment?
There are pretty much two ways. The first one is that the school pays for your apartment and it’s ready for you when you arrive. You don’t have to worry about anything and normally you’ll live on the campus or close to the school.
The second option is that you will receive an allowance to pay for your rent. This mostly applies to teachers teaching in a private school. The standard allowance is 1800RMB, which is equal to £210 or €240. This is in almost every city (more than) enough to rent a decent apartment from. Exceptions are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Your apartment will cost a lot more here. Normally your housing allowance will be 3000-4000RMB in these cities – again enough to rent a decent apartment.
Please check our video below with houses in Chengdu and Kunming (quite representative cities for the whole country) to see how apartments of different teachers for different prices in China look like. It will give you an idea of what you can expect.
3. How do I rent an apartment? Do I have to find one myself?
You might wonder how to rent an apartment in China in the first place, in case it’s not ready for you once you arrive. The answer is quite simple. In that case you normally spend your first days in China in a hotel (paid by the school) and someone from the school will search for an apartment for you based on your preferences. You can have a look at one, or several apartments within a couple of days and decide which one you’d like to rent.
Sometimes the landlord asks a deposit of a (couple of) month(s). If you don’t have the funds to pay for the deposit just ask your school, they will help you out.
4. Do I share my apartment? Can I live together with a friend or my boy- or girlfriend?
This depends on your preferences. Please tell us, or your new employer, what your prefer before you go to China. Both options (sharing or not sharing) are possible since finding housing is not as difficult as in for example the UK or the Netherlands.
If you receive a housing allowance, it’s often very advantageous to live together with someone, since you can rent a very spacious and nice apartment for 3600RMB (1800 for both).
5. Is my apartment furnished?
Yes. In the apartments you’ll find all the basic things you need. A bed, curtains, a sofa, a tv, a table, a washing machine, a cooking device in the kitchen, a fridge, a watercooker, etc (all the basic things you need). Make sure that if your assistant asks you for your preferences you make sure they search for an apartment with a Western toilet if squatting is not your thing.
6. Where is my apartment located?
If your apartment is not on the campus, it’s maximum a 20 minutes walk from your school.
7. Can I stay in my apartment during my holiday?
Yes, you can. In some schools you might have a holiday for up to two months, during that time you can still use your apartment.
8. Is there Wi-Fi available? Do I pay for it?
This depends on the landlord and the school. Normally it’s paid for or arranged for you. If not, normally you can, with a little bit of assistance, quite easily install a WiFi connection in your house. Check if there is internet available and if not, arrange the WiFi connection together with your Chinese sim card, it’s often a lot cheaper this way.
9. Would I have to care of my own bills for electricity, gas and water?
Again this depends on the landlord and the school. However, if you would have to pay for it yourself, it’s very cheap. It should never be more than £10-15 a month.