Contracts & Housing when teaching in Taiwan

Canadians occasionally have contractual disputes with their employers. In Taiwan, a contract is sometimes viewed as an infinitely flexible working agreement, subject to further negotiation. Keep in mind that an oral agreement with an employer can be just as important as a written contract. It benefits all parties to have a clear understanding of their contractual obligations.

A non-Mandarin speaker searching for low-cost accommodation should consider sharing an apartment with another foreigner or an English-speaking Taiwanese. In Taipei you can check several notice boards on Shida Street or at the Mandarin Training Centre of the Taiwan National Normal University. For those able to speak some basic Mandarin, the non-profit housing service called Tsui Mama is a good option. At a nominal charge, Tsui Mama offers listings of apartments for rent around the city to suit all budgets. Tsui Mama is located at 76 Wenchou Street.

A room in a shared apartment will cost NT$5,000 to NT$10,000 a month. Although living in central Taipei is exciting and convenient, cheaper options are becoming available in more distant locales now that the subway serves areas such as Hsintian and Yung-has. Newcomers who don’t speak Mandarin will probably have difficulty finding an apartment outside central Taipei. Most convenient is to share an apartment with someone who has been in Taiwan for some time. You may be asked to sign a contract of a few months and give a deposit, or pay in advance by the month.

Newcomers renting an apartment themselves generally have to sign a one-year contract and give at least one month’s rent as deposit, which they will forfeit if they don’t complete the contract. Electricity, water and gas are usually paid separately. Apartments come both furnished and unfurnished. A good place to shop for inexpensive furniture in Taipei is on Chungking South Road, close to the intersection of Tingchow Road. Only a resident of Taiwan can apply for a telephone line, so you will need to find a Taiwanese or a foreigner with an ARC to sign for you.