Living in school/boss tour of apt!

Hi folks,

This is my 1st post here. I have a pretty unique situation (I think) and need feedback. Mostly about cultural issues.
I recently stated working at a small buxi in Taiwan (rural). The school offers a super cheap apartment for foreign teachers (basically just utilities, and its very big, so great). The only catch: it’s IN one of the company schools (though not the one where I work). Other then being cold and somewhat noisy, it seems fine,and summer is coming. I would like to stay, and need the cash I save by living here. :2cents:

However I do sometimes have to see my boss on my way in and out of the apt. Last night he talked to me and wanted to know if everything was going ok. (I have not been here long.) I mentioned that the space heater broke and he wanted to see it… Though I tried to keep them out (bringing the space heater to the hallway) he and his assistant came right in and made a huge tour of my space! VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. I did not actually say NO NO NO at any point (I did not know what to do.) It was all polite smiles but–He looked in my spare sink, closet, and told me I should move my hotplate… he said he was looking for wifi in my closet, and was trying to show me how to keep the spare sink from smelling, so there was some sort of excuse… but still… Maybe this is no-big deal in Taiwan, but for me it is an invasion of my space and very hard to handle.

As long as this does not happen again ever I am OK. But I have been living here less then a month. My question is, should I ask for some kind of rental contract that stipulates when they can come in (among other things)? Am I jumping to conclusions here by being uncomfortable? I understand this is a different culture, that is part of why I did not protest more at the time. They gave me a verbal ok that they would not come in when I moved in, and other then this they have not done anything, and have been very nice. Will I embarrass them if I ask for a contract?
Also – they hired me and are currently applying for my ARC. But that means I am working under the table till it comes through. Is this a red flag, or pretty normal?

Thanks all! :slight_smile:

Not really normal but they were probably just validating their “foreigners do this…” gossip topics. Do go and find a way to change the locks on your doors though. Don’t ask your landlord/boss to do it for you, you do it. Don’t worry about the ARC thing either.

This sounds like small-town landlord to me. I’ve had landlords who would just show up and walk in whenever they wanted to.

It might be a good thing to simply go to your boss at some neutral time and say (or write a note – many Taiwanese read better than they understand spoken English) something like you’d be happy to welcome him at your home at any time, but you would appreciate having some notice beforehand, because it makes you feel just a little uncomfortable since it is not a custom in the West for landlords to simply walk in. I’m not sure just changing the locks is the answer. And anyway, you chose to take this accommodation within a school owned by that company – you will probably have to expect some of this sort of thing. It’s one of the reasons why schools offer that sort of deal – to keep an eye on the teachers.

guess you won’t be having a boyfriend on company property either. Check for hidden cameras.

They’re just nosy and don’t really see it as a big deal unless you call them on it. They can be intensely curious about how foreigners live.

I’d let it slide and get a different place with AC.

I’d let it slide. Next time he asks if everything is OK just say it is fine. If you do have a problem go to see him in a place which is not near your apt. Otherwise you are just creating a potential for him to feel loss of face by telling him you don’t want him round again. It’s small town behaviour, but not necessarily a major problem.

There are plenty of other things to get pissed off about in Taiwan. Focus on some of those instead. :smiley:

Thanks all!
My boss gave me a new heater and some other stuff today… which was very nice. :thumbsup: No one came in my space either!
So for now I will just let it slide. : )
Hopefully it wont be a problem and I can continue to stay- its such a good deal for space (huge place) and its almost free. Also it has AC. But yeah, no overnight guests… its in the contract! I thought of hidden cameras too! PARANOIA. For now I will take things as they come, and try to avoid conflict. Worst case, if there are problems or weirdness I will just find a place in the city. (Where I might just have OTHER landlord issues, you never know!) Staying in the school is mainly a way to maximize my income. Thanks for the feedback! :bow:

By way of agreeing after the fact: I read it as him making a big effort to show that he’s concerned about your living conditions. Unless he’s going in there when you haven’t explicitly given him a reason to, he’s probably just being nice.

It’s reasonably normal if you’re living in a small town but it’s unlikely to keep happening. Although it is possible that you may have someone checking up on things before or after a typhoon.

He wants you to be as comfortable as possible and to make things as convenient as possible due to the reasons Ironlady stated.

When I lived in an apt above the secondary location for a school, the landlord/boss never came in except when I requested it(some standard maintenance things).