Indonesia Inquiry

House Hunting

July 15, 2011 Communities and Cultures Travel & Living Abroad Travel Advice 0

Finding appropriate housing in Indonesia can be a challenge, especially if one is new to the country.  The general tips in this post are meant to ease the process. 


  • The housing process can be time-consuming and aggravating at times – be patient! Let as many people as possible know about your house hunt. It may help to hire someone to assist with the search. Be specific about what you need and what you may be flexible about concerning prices, space, location, transportation access, nature, facilities (e.g., toilets, hot water, shower or bath), and the like. Check the place in person before making any commitments.
  • Make sure you obtain a very detailed written/typed contract. The more details the better! For example, who will take care of repairs? What happens when there are pest problems? Who will take care of the utilities? Are there restrictions on visitors or overnight stays? What will be done if there is flooding?  Make sure to have extra copies of the contract.
  • You often need the full rental payment in advance (e.g., you pay the whole year in advance), but try to negotiate to pay monthly.
  • Make sure that there are secure locks on doors and windows, especially to prevent crime.
  • Avoid places if you see water stains on the walls. This is a sure sign of leaks and flooding during the rainy season.
  • Negotiate to have the place really cleaned before you move in. Specify what “clean” means to you.
  • It may be the case that one or more househelpers (pembantu) “come with the place” (e.g., stays there or visits on a regular basis). If this is the case, determine the details of service and payment in advance and in writing.
  • For boarding houses in particular, tell everyone you know that you are looking for a place and specify what kinds of things you are looking for (e.g., air conditioning, private bathroom, location, price range, laundry, etc.)
  • Insofar as your budget permits, spend time at a hotel while you conduct your search. You’ll want a nice place to decompress after a long day of running around.