Taiwan Life – How to…find a place to live

1 Sep
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Finding a place to live can be daunting anywhere.  But if you have just arrived in a country where you don’t speak the language it can be near impossible.

There are a few English websites that have listings on – TEALIT always seems to have a few places (though mostly shared) and occasionally the unreliable Taiwanted does, too.

A lot of people recommended a Taiwanese site TMM (Tsui Ma Ma) to me, but I found that their website wasn’t that easy to use and the places they had were usually very low-end.

The best website I have found is 591, which is entirely in Chinese.  But don’t let that put you off.  Here is some basic Chinese below that you can use to find what you need (remember you can always use google translate to find Chinese place names).  At the bottom of the page you will also find a basic template E-mail you can use to respond to adverts to save you having to ask Chinese friends each time.

Ok, the first thing you need to do is click ‘出租’ which means ‘for rent’.

rent 1

Then on the next page find the dropdown box with the characters ‘縣市’ (this means county/city) and choose the one you are looking for.  Taipei City is usually the first and Taipei County (Xinbei City) second.


Then you will be given the option to choose a district.  If you don’t want to specify a district, click on the ‘guanbi’ button.

rent 3

Next, look at the left-hand column.  These are your requirements.

rent 4

‘租金’ – monthly rent

‘房屋格局’ – number of bedrooms

‘坪數’ – size in pings (one ping is roughly the size of a tatami mat)

If you have other special requirements, scroll to the bottom of the page and see the translations for the other options.

If you selected the size and budget you should now be able to see a list of places that match your requirements.  Click on house to read more information.

Perhaps the most important information on this page is the number of rooms in the house.  Under the monthly rent, you will see something like this…

4 房 1 廳 2 衛

This simply means 4 bedrooms, 1 living room and 2 bathrooms.

rent 5

If you would like to view the house, simply call (or ask a friend to help) or use this as a standard e-mail.


I saw your house for rent on www.591.com.tw.  Would it be possible for me to look at it sometime?  I am a forienger and I don’t speak Chinese, but I can speak English.

Thank You


我在www.591.com.tw的網站看到您的房子。 請問什麼時候方便我來看? 我是一位外籍人士,我不會講國語,但是我會講英文。


Most people, even if they can’t speak English themselves, will know someone who can and will be happy to help out.

A couple of general pointers

  • Most landlords ask for two months rent as a deposit.
  • If you need an ARC make sure that your name is on the lease (especially in a shared house) and that your landlord has stamped it.
  • Most landlords will want a minimun of a one year contract.
  • Check if they allow pets, a lot don’t.
  • Ask about building/management/security fees.
  • Ask about car parking spaces if needed.
  • There is generally room for some negotiation in price so don’t feel you need to agree to the initial rent they suggest.

Good Luck!

Extra translations…

電梯 – elevator

中介 – agent

性別要求 – some landlords will only accept females (女)

冷氣 – AC

洗衣機 – washing machine


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