Need advice on renting a "ding lou" apartment

Dear all

I’m currently looking for a new place to rent and I found a place I really like for a decent price. The only problem is its a top floor 顶楼 apartment. So I would like to know if anyone has any advice on how hot it can get and how much it costs to keep these places cool in summer.

The walls are brick, not metal like some rooftop places and they seem pretty thick. The sloped roof is made of metal sheets but there is also an additional layer of those sort of dropped ceiling square panels. Everyone I’ve spoken to has warned me about how hot it will get, but the AC seems to work pretty effectively. When I saw the room it was set on 22 and that’s how it felt. Don’t know how much it would cost to run an AC in a relatively poorly insulated room though. It’s a ten ping apartment. The agent also said it wouldn’t get that hot because it was only a third floor rooftop apartment so the taller buildings around it would keep it in the shade. That sounded a bit dubious to me though.

Any tips?

My advice is “don’t.”

Honestly? It’s not even the heat, or the fact that it’s illegal, or that it’s tiny and shabbily built, or that it’s a fire hazard. It’s that every other resident in the building is free to access the dinglou and stare at you like you’re a monkey on exhibit.

Fuck all that noise.

Also, this post shouldn’t be in Forumosafieds.

Perhaps the OP is an exhibitionist and doesn’t care?

Seriously, though, here’s what I pay, for comparison: I live in a 套房 that’s about 8 ping, on the fifth floor of a 12 floor building, and the electric bill I just got for the past two hot months was $3,500 (normally my bill is about 900-1,200). My a/c is a Kolin window unit set between 26 and 27, and I pretty much had it on the whole time I was at home during that time. This is in Taoyuan.

you might want to read @tacokederui 's thread and his love affair with living on a roof of an apartment and having a camera on the roof across from him filming his every move


It’s not like that’s typical. Good to be aware there may possibly be some usage conflicts/friction though. Then again, I can’t recall hearing many major complaints about it.

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I rent an apartment that has a rooftop. I like it because I like going outside for a coffee, tending plants, glass of wine with a sunset or BBQ. It gets hot but in the winter, it is fantastic. Most locals don’t like sunlight and the only thing on their balconies are drying clothes. The neighbor dog watches me when I BBQ.


Does the place have independent meter for electricity? Probably not as an illegal structure, but if it does, you can control power usage. Otherwise, you will be at the mercy of whatever the owner charges you.

Moreover, remember rooftop is «public» property, anyone can walk on you.

Finally, consider safety. Do you have exits in case of fire? Other than the door, I mean.

Sorry for putting it in the wrong place. Thanks for the reply. Maybe I’m misusing the word dinglou then (although that’s what the guy described it as). It’ the top floor, but there isn’t really any public space. It’s just a one room apartment with a balcony that’s only accessible through the apartment. They would need to have the key to my door to get in. Is that what happens with these places? Everyone has a key for the top floor apartment and can come and go as they please?

Thanks, yes they showed me where the meter was. Only one exit. Guess i could try and jump from the balcony if I needed to.

Yes that’s exactly why I thought a balcony would be really awesome in Taipei. Not sure it’s worth it if the neighbours can open my door and walk through my room whenever they want though.

Highest floor here in Taiwan means leaks and overheating due to poor construction quality.


No no, not the apartment itself. But the roof is open to all residents, so they can still mosey about up there to watch fireworks or set up to BBQ without your permission.

It sounds like it’s just an apartment, and not an actual accessible rooftop space, so privacy wouldn’t be an issue. But the points still stand about its illegality, shabbiness, etc. I just think dinglou is a bad idea, period.

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This isn’t all that common, maybe more so if the shack has a lot of space around it. I’m a died-in-the-wool rooftopper and I’ve very rarely had to deal with rubberneckers. The heat though is pretty brutal when there’s big blue pre-typhoon skies. Your living space will superheat over the course of 14 hours and you will be praying for the sun to go down.

The huge plus for me is I’m literally looking out on a hillside of trees as I write this. Birds, butterflies, huge hornets, oh and there’s a big huntsman spider sharing the room with me I noticed last night. :grimacing:


I dunno how you do it. I don’t consider the rooftop shacks livable. Maybe I’m just too persnickety.

I sometimes ask myself the same question. But I’m past the age I can live with other people, I can’t afford a whole apartment to myself and I can’t live in a shoebox taofang.

I lived in a rooftop for years.
They have significant pros and cons .
My rooftop also did not give access to tiehr residents, many aren’t that easy to access as they belong to the top floor apartment owner actually.
I loved it for a few years , typhoons were fun , when it rains it can be loud but I got used to it. Worst was the heat but with air-conditioning it’s doable.

I’d recommend everybody to try it for a couple of years. I didn’t even have a great outdoor balcony space but I was paying 10k a month for a massive place which was shared so I was effectively living rent free almost ! The part that annoyed me the most was climbing five or six flights of stairs actually. The gf, now wife, wasn’t a fan of staying in the ding Lou on her own due to security being less tight. Somebody can wait for you at the top if there is an open area…The place next door got burgled but we never did.

I also avoid living in top floor apartments because they get really hot too in Summer, you will often find top floor apartments being rented out .

I’ve lived in a few different rooftop apartments here and there in my 23 years in Taipei. If you like the place overall, and the area, go for it. It’s hot no matter where you choose to live in Taipei. Just expect to budget a bit more for your electricity bill in the summer months. No biggie honestly.

if there is no other route that residents on other floors can access to the rooftop and the door at the only route is locked and they don’t have a key, they can sue you if they like.

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See? Right there is a huge reason not to take the place.

Then make sure the air con is one of those newer frequency conversion kind. Otherwise the electric bill won’t just be a little bit more.