HOUSE FOR RENT
The Guide To Renting A House in Bali.
Renting is somewhat different in Bali where, if real estate agents and landlords are to be believed, people are clawing at each other to fight it out for the best properties, often regardless of the price.
The house owners have got it all sown up it seems when it comes to protecting their property rights, and that seems fair; why sell your land when you can rent it for almost the same price and then get it back, often with a fab villa on it? When it comes to renting, they have a unique approach that is as foreign to most of us as eating a roast pig that has sat in the sun all day.
So here are a few tips for the house hunter.
1. Do drive around endlessly looking down gangs you never noticed before and ask people if there are houses for rent. Expect to get a slack jawed response or a helpful person who will show you lots for a good commission. Beware, they aren’t real estate agents, they’re locals with friends who have friends who have friends.
2. Don’t expect the house will be livable. If you are looking on a budget then you can expect leaking roofs, dodgy electrics and possibly a couple of rabid dogs you are expected to live with, they’re the security. In some cases you will be expected to fix everything yourself.
3. Once you have agreed on a price don’t be surprised if it changes. The landlord knows you are interested enough to ask and go through the lengthy negotiation process, so you’re fair game. Don’t lose your cool because that is very uncool. You can try to brave it out through this process but don’t expect the house to last long, as if its cheap enough to live in, someone else will want it.
4. Once you have agreed on the price don’t be dismayed to find out that you are expected to come up with ten or twenty years rent in advance. Sometimes this occurs. And they’d prefer it in cash, that day. But everything is negotiable, just check the details.
5. Fully expect construction to begin next door the day after you signed the contract. Even living in a tiny gang will not protect you from the construction bug, the tiniest space is now worthy of development – and apparently day and night.
6. Don’t be surprised after you move in to find that the electricity connection and water supply is via a neighbouring house. Your neighbor will soon realize someone else is using their electricity and water and shut it down.
7. Expect a long wait before additional phone lines and cable TV connections are available in your area. This isn’t the landlord’s problem, its yours.
So what protection can you expect once you have rented the house? Very little sometimes, renting is a little like closing your eyes and going on a walk, anything can happen. However, not all landlords are the same so check the details before you sign.
It seems though that as fraught with difficulties as it is, how many suitcases of cash you are expected to deliver and how little assistance you get when you have moved in, people are still doing it. According to the landlords they are falling from the trees. New settlers and old time expats are still investing enthusiastically in their Balinese lifestyles and the price and length of contract continues to rise. In twenty years time, having been a fully paid up member of the family, investing heavily to build a beautiful home on a formerly empty block of land, you may find, like many others that the new price is way out of your reach. Oh well, that’s life, says the happy landlord. Oh, and thanks for the house. [Sarah Dee]