Everything in the contract will be in Chinese -DA! Bring a knowledgeable Chinese literate person with you who you trust. You can be very unpleasantly surprised at what could be in there. E.g. You paying fees and other cost the advertisement specifically attributed to the landlord.
If its in the contract you signed “to bad,so sad, you’re screwed!”
Items not working when you viewed the apartment will invariably still not be working when you moving in. Regardless of the promises of the landlord, smart renters confirm its fixed before the hand over the cash.
Even if you are renting in the winter, check for screens. If you don’t see them now, you won’t get them when the mosquitoes are thick. In the summer look at the weather stripping no the doors and windows. Is there any? Is it worn out? The wind in Taiwan is like winter, in Chicago. You will spend all your money trying to heat your apartment just to have it all blown into the back yard, the first time someone opens the front door. I spent a lot of time and money resealing the doors and windows in my apartment. Many seals I had to make myself because the gaps were so large the seals in the store weren’t up to the task. In the summer time that gentle breeze will carry mosquito’s and roaches into your apartment from around and under your doors.
There are people in our building who think nothing of leaving the front security door open at all times of the day and night. (must be some ignorant men, no women would be careless about security). Aside from those concerns the hallways fill with mosquito’s and other bugs. I once left my terrace door open to catch the breeze, (screen door closed). The resulting draft dragged 20 mosquitoes under the front door into my apartment in less than 30 minutes.
If you are thinking what’s the big deal, I’m handy, but you aren’t in Kansas any more Toto. There is no home-depot at the corner with a wide variety of products at warehouse pricing. If you find it all, it will cost you dearly. Screens and weather stripping aren’t luxuries in Taiwan, with dengue fever and wasps that can kill, they’re a necessity!
I couldn’t understand why the lease showed the dates and amounts when the utilities were paid. When the first bills started arriving, I quickly realized I was expected to pay for utilities I never used. In some cases a full month of usage, before the lease was even signed.
No proration, read your lease!
I’m not saying all landlords are crooks but from my experience and those of my friends, many certainly are. Remember that in Chinese " yes" doesn’t mean yes - you agree, it just means " I hear what you say! I’ve gotten smarter in my old age, everytime my chinese wife says “yes darling” I always confirm, “is that a Chinese yes”. We laugh about it now, but training the " fang" took a lot of time.
Make sure you take pictures as you do your walk-through before taking posessoin. Let the landlord see this. It will put him on notice not to try any funny business when its time to get your deposit back.
Keys, make sure you get a key for every lock and door. If you don’t, when it comes time to get your deposit back, you will be paying for new locks for each key you can’t produce, even if you never received a key for that lock in the first place. Funny how memories fade with time. It also very inconvenient and costly to call out a lock smith when a visitor inadvertently locks a door in the house you didn’t get a key for. The Landlord might be very apologetic, but he’s not going to pay the bill.
This list of things to look out for is far from exhaustive but I will add more as time permits That’s all for now!