The Rental Agreement
Information about the rental agreement in Taiwan; what it should include and what to check before signing a lease...
Prior to signing a lease or rental agreement in Taiwan there are a number of things to check or consider:
- Confirm the landlord's identity and check whether they are the owner of the property or a tenant intending to sublet. A prospective landlord can be asked to show their identity certificate, a housing tax slip or proof of real estate registration. Before agreeing to sublet a property it is advisable to see the original lease to confirm that subletting is allowed
- Rent often only covers the cost of the accommodation, although sometimes some utilities, such as rubbish disposal and upkeep of the building, are included. In some cases there is an additional monthly or quarterly fee to pay for maintaining the apartment block and any communal areas. Water and electricity have to be paid for on top of the rent. The exact details of what is included in the rent should be clarified with the landlord before signing a lease
- Confirm how and when the rent is to be paid
- Discuss what furniture is provided with the property. It is advisable to photograph any furniture which is not in good condition to avoid disagreements at the end of the rental period
- Discuss any limitations with the landlord, for example rules on having pets
- Discuss termination of the contract. A tenant wishing to finish their rental agreement early should give their landlord thirty days' notice of their intention to leave; a penalty of one month's rent will need to be paid
All of these points should be outlined in the lease contract (which can be in English and Chinese). When signing a lease both the tenant and the landlord should get a photocopy of the other's identification; an identity card, passport or alien registration card. Once signed, both parties should keep a copy of the agreement.
- For an example of a sample tenancy agreement: Click here
When renting property in Taiwan it is usual to be sign a one-year contract, though some leases are for shorter periods of six months or a school semester. Some landlords ask for a Taiwanese citizen to act as a guarantor and co-sign the lease. Most landlords require a deposit to be paid, which is refundable at the end of the lease term provided there is no damage to the property and there are no outstanding bills. Deposits are usually around one or two months' rent, although it can be three. Some landlords may ask for six, 12 or 24 months' rent in advance.
The unit of measurement for properties is the ping. This works out at approximately one ping = 36 square feet.
Obligations and Rights
A landlord can take back their property in the following circumstances:
- The owner decides to live in the property or build on it.
- The tenant sublets the property without permission.
- Rent is not paid by the tenant for two months.
- The tenant uses the property for illegal purposes or damages it without paying compensation.
Landlords are obliged to give their tenants written notice seven days prior to evicting them.
Tenants are obliged to leave a property at the end of their tenancy agreement, though this is not always insisted on in practice. The rental market is very informal, and many landlords allow a tenant to remain in a property provided the rent is being paid.
- Information for Foreigners page on renting: Click here