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sunyata

looking for student housing in Beijing...

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sunyata

Going to 北京语言学院 this coming semester. If anyone can suggest some affordable housing options (other than the dorms), please let me know. Also, if anyone is looking for a roommate, feel free to contact me :wink:

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jaydub

I am headed to Beiwai 北京外语大学 for the spring semester. I am interested in feedback on apartment housing options around that part of Haidian. A one bedroom or shared housing.

thanks,

Jeff

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maxham

In 2002, I lived in the 东王庄 (Dong Wang Zhuang) housing complex, about 2 minutes walk from BLCU. It was Y2200 a month for a 2 bedroom flat, it had one huge bedroom and one reasonably sized one, although quite a small living area, but decent sized balcony, kitchen, bathroom etc.....with fridge, TV, washing machine.

We found it through an agent which was rather pricy (I think Y500) but we were quite desperate - and we found this place and moved in on the same day we started looking. I think we paid him Y100 upfront - the deal was that he would show us three flats, then if we took one we paid the remaining Y400. This middleman can probably be avoided if you have time on your hands or somewhere to stay in the meantime - we had neither!!

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roddy

Unfortunately, the best 'how-to' I know for finding accomodation in Beijing is still what I wrote up for an old site almost two years ago - Here

Only things I have to add to that is . . .

1) the thats beijing (shanghai / guangzhou) websites seem to have died as a result of the recent management coup - hopefully something similar will be up and running soon

2) I think agents can be worth it, just make sure you get a decent one. Stay away from agents where you don't either a) have a personal recommendation from someone reliable or B) see evidence of a 'real' business - a storefront office (我爱我家 has offices all over, for example).

3) Sort out a short-term option for when you get here, and be prepared for a few days of stress and hassle - but it should only be a few days.

4) To get ideas of what is available in the areas you are looking at, try wuwoo.com (used them once, very effective) - only the expensive stuff is in English though.

Roddy

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roddy

Bumping this one up to the top for the new influx of students. Couple of notes . . .

Websites you need to be aware of

Thatsbj.com (probably most active. Many, if not most, accomodation ads are placed by agents, but they may not always make that clear. Actually, that's quite possibly true for all of these sites.

Asia Expat BeijngMuch more aimed at the Ex-pat area, but classifieds may be useful.

City WeekendBeijing's other English language magazine. Don't really use it myself, might be handy.

If you get here in time, this month's Time Out has an article on flat hunting. I don't think it's a particularly good article as there's very little practical advice on where to find the flats, no recommendations / reviews of agencies, etc, but it's worth a look for the pictures of what you can expect. Without wanting to boast, my own write up that I link to in my first post in this topic is still the best 'how to' guide that I know of (and I know it's still quite lacking, and would love some better recommendations).

Couple of comments:

Don't rush into anything - I've seen people make really bad accomodation decisions because they've been desperate to get the flat-hunting over and done with. An extra few days in a hotel looking is better than taking a flat hours away from where you need to be.

On contracts - it's quite normal in Beijing to pay a one month deposit, and pay three months rent in advance (押一付三). I've seen places asking for a two month deposit and / or six-monthly payment. This is feasible, but I wouldn't do it personally, and certainly not with a landlord you don't yet know - my own landlord brings the prospect of me paying half-yearly up now and then, and I claim poverty and she goes away mumbling about the kids schools fees, but never mind. Some landlords will let you pay monthly, but not many. Do not pay 12 months rent, whatever anyone says, unless the landlord has a halo and a signed letter of trustworthiness from your mum (not his, your) - there's a warning on here from someone who's friend did that and lost it all.

Utilities are usually paid by yourself. When you sign, get something written in that says gas, water, electricity, whatever, will be paid by you, and all other charges will be paid by the landlord - that covers you against various fees that might crop up - cable TV fees, rubbish collection fees, stair cleaning fees are all ones I've been asked to pay, although they're never very expensive. Rules on checking meters when you move in and getting the details written on the contract are the same as they are anywhere (though as a man who hasn't paid a water bill in two years, I shouldn't be giving advice). If your landlord is paying them for you, make sure you see the receipts.

Roddy

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etcetera24

cheers roddy! :clap this is very useful and practical information, especially about how bills/ contracts generally work. I'm sure lots of us going to Beijing are grateful.

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roddy

This thread also has useful info, although it's focussing on the area around BNU.

Roddy

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