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Living in Bali: Renting a House/Kos/Apartment
Tips on renting a house, kos or apartment in Bali
First of all, let me start by saying that this post is for those of you who have either decided to move to Bali or found work here, it is not for holiday or short-term rentals!
So, now that you're definitely coming to Bali, you will need to find somewhere to stay - this is not as easy as you may think mainly due to the lack of reliable websites providing such information.
Most local people who work in south Bali live in what's called a kos, or boarding house. These are generally small rooms with just a space for a bed and have an adjoining bathroom (often no sit-down toilet or hot water). They usually come unfurnished but can be as cheap as $50/month. You can find them furnished, and usually will be advertised as kos lengkap or kos komplit (both meaning 'fully furnished kos'). These will usually start from $100/month before bills. If you want a kos with air-conditioning, expect to pay around $20/month extra. I should add that furnished kos usuallly come complete with hot water (air panas) also but it's best to check with the owner first as this is not a given.
The main advantages of kos are that they are very affordable, there are plenty of them everywhere in Bali and you can pay monthly (unlike with most houses).
The main disadvantages of kos in Bali are that they are usually small, it is very hard to find one with a kitchen and they often have poor light and very few windows due to security fears - this can make them stiflingly hot in the afternoon as airflow is severely restricted by this.
If you have a bit more money, you might want to consider renting a house as they are much bigger than kos and have much more privacy and usually a decent kitchen. There is a catch, however - due to south Bali being a year-round tourist mecca, it is very difficult to find houses that are both affordable and available for monthly rental in Bali - most landlords either want a minimum of a year's rent paid upfront in cash as a lump sum, or a much more expensive monthly rate. In short, if you don't have the cash for a year's rent upfront, you won't be able to afford to rent a house in Bali. Although this may sound terrible, a year's rent on a house isn't actually that expensive - most nice houses start at around $2,500/annum, which is comparatively low, but quite a lot to pay at once.
In summary, the main advantages of renting a house long-term in Bali are that it is cheap, the most spacious option and grants you much more privacy than a 'kos'.
However, the main disadvantages of renting a house in Bali are that you need a year's rent upfront, if you have problems it can be difficult dealing with the landlord and it's hard to know how well sealed the house is against leaks and rodents (think tropical downpours in the wet season - there's only one way to find out if it is sealed, and it is often too late by then!)
I hope this helps and happy house hunting!
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