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Finding and renting accommodation in Jakarta is a reasonably straightforward process, with a wide variety of options to choose from. Expats will likely find prices reasonable compared to Western European and North American cities or other Asian cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore. Indonesian law makes it complicated for foreigners to buy property in the country, which has led most Jakarta expats to choose renting over purchasing.
Best areas and suburbs to rent in Jakarta
Depending on their needs, there are several ideal areas and suburbs for expats to rent in Jakarta. In the city’s pulsing heart, Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD) emerges as a prime choice for expats seeking to live near their workplaces. The area is known for its high-rise apartments replete with modern amenities, nestled amidst a hub of commercial activity, shopping malls and exquisite dining spots.
A stroll through Kuningan reveals a tapestry of tree-lined streets, painting a serene picture amidst Jakarta’s bustling milieu. Its strategic location around Jl. Rasuna Said provides easy access to popular shopping destinations like Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia, just a 15-minute drive from the central area. The historic precinct of Menteng exudes an aura of prestige, being home to numerous embassies, museums and government edifices. Its proximity to Sudirman and MH Thamrin areas makes it a viable choice for those working nearby.
Further south is Cilandak, a district embraced by the local middle-income and expat families. Notably, the vicinities near Jalan TB Simatupang, Pondok Indah and Jakarta Intercultural School are favoured, although they come with a higher price tag. The district, mostly low-rise and infused with a typical Indonesian atmosphere, offers a quieter respite from the city’s clamour, with more affordable options away from the premium locales.
Read Areas and Suburbs in Jakarta to learn more about the city’s neighbourhoods.
Types of accommodation in Jakarta
Expats will find an extensive range of options for accommodation in Jakarta. Apartments, detached homes and villas are widely available, depending on the neighbourhood in which expats prefer to settle.
Expats in Jakarta’s Central Business District will find that apartments are the most practical solution, especially to avoid spending hours every day stuck in traffic while commuting to and from the office. Many apartment buildings have been constructed in recent years, so there is plenty of choice for new arrivals, from simple and small apartments with only basic facilities to large, luxurious, fully serviced apartments.
Most apartment buildings offer 24-hour security and other facilities, including swimming pools, laundry services and sports facilities.
Expats willing to venture into Jakarta’s suburbs will have more options for larger houses and villas. Some of these areas also offer easy access to some of the city’s many excellent international schools, making them an ideal choice for expat families.
Many rentals in Jakarta come fully furnished, but expats who prefer to ship in their own household goods should be able to negotiate for most properties to come unfurnished without too much difficulty.
Finding accommodation in Jakarta
Expats in Jakarta generally find their accommodation through their company or online through property portals. The language barrier can pose a problem for new arrivals, so it’s crucial for expats to have a reliable local contact who can translate for them when necessary.
When looking for accommodation in Jakarta, expats should keep in mind that location is one of the most critical factors. Expats will be able to save a lot of time by living close to their places of work and their children’s schools. Jakarta suffers from significant traffic congestion, and this situation is continuously worsening.
Renting accommodation in Jakarta
Making an application
Initiating the rental process in Jakarta begins with a rental application. Expats can either navigate through this process independently or secure the services of a reputable real estate agent. A real estate agent, well-versed in local protocols, can significantly streamline the application process. Documentation such as proof of employment, identification, and sometimes, references may be required.
It’s prudent to enlist a local contact or a translator, ensuring all communications, especially contractual agreements, are accurately understood. Expats should be aware of the prevailing laws and regulations governing rentals in Jakarta to avoid any legal entanglements.
Leases, costs and fees
When looking to rent property in Jakarta, expats will find that signing up for more extended rental periods and paying upfront will often work out cheaper. Rent can occasionally be paid month-by-month, but landlords tend to offer more favourable prices to those willing to pay for a year or several months upfront.
Leases are usually negotiated with the owner of the property. Expats should be sure to have a reliable local contact available who will be able to help them negotiate and understand the terms of any new rental contract.
Additionally, the payment of a deposit is a standard prerequisite, which is refundable at the end of the lease term, provided the property is left in good condition. Besides the rent and deposit, expats should also factor in agency fees if a real estate agent is engaged. The overall costs can be negotiated, and having a local contact can aid in securing favourable terms.
Utilities in Jakarta
The provision and payment for utilities such as electricity, gas, water, and internet in Jakarta typically fall on the residents, over and above the cost of rent. Expats moving to Jakarta should budget for these expenses.
In Jakarta, the electricity supply is relatively stable with infrequent power outages. The city operates on a 220-volt system; hence, it's vital for expats to ensure their electronic devices are compatible or to purchase voltage converters if necessary. The state-owned company, PT PLN (Persero), provides electricity in the city. Residents can opt for prepaid electricity tokens which help in managing consumption efficiently. Payments for electricity can be made online through various platforms including the provider's website, banking platforms or authorized third-party payment platforms.
The electricity cost varies based on usage and the type of accommodation. Residences with extensive air conditioning and other high-energy-consuming amenities will naturally incur higher charges.
It’s advisable to adopt energy-saving practices to maintain electricity bills within a manageable range.
Gas for cooking and heating is usually supplied through refillable gas cylinders. It's crucial to ensure safe storage and handling of these cylinders to avoid hazardous incidents. Several providers in the city supply gas, and refills can be obtained from local vendors or delivered directly from suppliers. Payments can be made in cash upon delivery or through online platforms.
Gas is relatively inexpensive, but prudent usage is advisable to manage expenses effectively. Establishing a regular supplier and understanding the refilling process is part of settling comfortably in Jakarta.
The water supply in Jakarta might not meet the drinking water standards expats may be accustomed to. Therefore, investing in a water purification system or purchasing bottled water for drinking and cooking is advisable. Water bills are typically modest, and checking whether they are included in the rent or billed separately is essential. Payment for water can be made online or directly to the provider.
Adopting water-saving measures is both economical and environmentally responsible, aligning with global sustainability efforts.
Bins and recycling
Waste disposal and recycling services vary across different areas in Jakarta. Some residential complexes have established waste management and recycling systems, while others might require private arrangements. Understanding the local waste disposal regulations and engaging with community recycling initiatives can contribute to maintaining a clean and eco-friendly living environment.
Internet connectivity in Jakarta varies, with high-speed broadband available in urban areas. Several ISPs offer different packages, and it's advisable to choose a reliable and reputable one to ensure stable internet connectivity. Payments for internet services can be made monthly through online platforms provided by the ISP or authorised third-party platforms.
Mobile internet solutions also provide a viable option for on-the-go connectivity or as a backup.
What do expats say about housing in Jakarta?
"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.
►For a more comprehensive overview of accommodation options, see Accommodation in Indonesia
Image credits: Kuningan Bus Stop by Afif Ramdhasuma on Unsplash
Are you an expat living in Jakarta?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Jakarta. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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