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A valuable piece of advice for renting a property in Bali

In my How to Retire in Bali information guide, I wrote a few tips for what to look out for in renting a house or villa in Bali.

Reading this letter to the editor in the Jakarta Post, it reminded of one of those tips. While a house might seem great during the day, it is a good idea to go back late at night to see if there are any problems with noise levels, like from nearby bars or night clubs. This is particularly a problem in some residential areas in Sanur, where there are a number of “cafes” or karaoke bars, as this poor person found out after it was too late:

“My wife, two kids and I moved into a very nice neighborhood in Sanur and thought we had the perfect new home. But, the noise from the “café” down the road seemed to get louder as the night went on. At 3 a.m., it still hadn’t stopped or gotten quieter but had actually increased in volume. And so it has gone for the past week. Each night, the café gets louder and louder and doesn’t stop until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m.

The other residents in our street tell us that they found it hard for a week or so but learned to sleep through the noise, kind of. As I ponder this predicament, I wonder what on earth we can do.

Moving again would be costly and inconvenient. Sound proofing against the incredibly loud and out-of-tune singing is not realistic. My mind continually returns to some sort of legal action or collaborative complaint by the people residing in the area.

And yet I have been in Indonesia far too long to expect anything but people to tell me to just put up with the situation. I thought I would move into this lovely neighborhood for many years and assumed that as my house is well over 500 meters and two streets away from the café, it wouldn’t be a problem.”

Generally rent in Indonesia is paid for one year in advance, so later if you find out there are any problems with the property, it can be near impossible getting any kind of refund and don’t expect owners or agents to be too forthcoming with any problems with the property!

Have you ever had problems renting a property in Bali, tell us about it here in the comments.

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7 Responses to A valuable piece of advice for renting a property in Bali

  1. Johnny Cool August 24, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    I have found myself in this same situation a couple of times and tried everything I could think of to find an amicable solution without success. It seems that some of these bars are run/owned/linked to powerful locals who are, for all intents and purposes, “untouchable”. That also includes two main so-called “mafia-like” groups in Sanur.

    Even locals who hate the noise would rather put up with it than make any waves. In one place I rented, the locals had been suffering for YEARS. In one of three visits to the owner/manager of the offending bar, I was offered an “opportunity” to invest in it! Unbelievable! Later the same guy said I could have three free large bottles of Bintang every time I came. Explaining to him that I wasn’t interested in free beers, just the opportunity to be able to sleep properly came to zero. In the end, I packed up and moved elsewhere, with five months still left on my contract.

    I completely sympathise with the person above. He wrote that “My mind continually returns to some sort of legal action or collaborative complaint by the people residing in the area.” I’m not sure how that could be achieved without potential unwanted repercussions later.

    There are “noise pollution laws”, but like most “laws” in this country, they are subject to very loose interpretations. I thought long and hard about making a formal complaint to the office of the Bali Governor but chickened out. I have little faith in police enforcing anything, especially when I suspect that some of them have vested interests in these places. I also didn’t want to get stabbed in the back by somebody.

    Until the local government addresses this issue, nothing will change. One could also ask why certain banjars seem to turn a blind eye to this problem. “Share-holders”, too, perhaps?

    • Bypass Bob August 25, 2012 at 3:16 am #

      Ok. I have now lived in Sanur for over 10 years now and up until now had not a problem. I have seen so many new expats come here to Sanur looking for the better life. One thing l have noticed is that the majority of these people want to and do want to live on the beach side of the bypass and mostly on the southeren side near Jl Danau Poso or around Jl Bumi Ayu, where the local Banjar does own and run everythng in the way that they want. You just have to look at the new hotels going up in these areas and the lack of services like storm drains etc . I have and alway will live on the west side of the bypass in what is actually (old) Sanur where there are more local markets, people, community ares etc etc. I for one am happy living here in Sanur. All l put up with are the roosters local dogs etc but hey that is why l came here in the first place!
      Cheers

  2. Tony Byfield August 31, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    That is a very interesting situation you found yourself in. I wan tot move to Bali with my wife and 2 of my 3 kids. I am not interested in the loud noise on a daily basis. Did you move far from the madding crowd or just to a quieter part of town? I am looking to move to a 4 bedroom house (not villa). Do you have any ideas as to where I should be looking.

  3. Kate September 12, 2012 at 1:53 am #

    I have had a bad experience but a little bit different than the above. One that could have been avoided if I had visited the property at night as suggested in this post!!

    We paid a year up front for a lovely villa in Canggu – when we arrived for the first night in our new home it was right on dusk and there were a couple of bats inside the house (open living so we thought this as pretty normal) but as the night went on more and more kept coming. The house was infested with bats – every night, and they wouldn’t leave until morning. I don’t mean one or two – i’m talking 30 – 50 bats that fly into your heads. We couldnt leave bedroom doors open for more than one second, if we did we would have bats in our room that we would have to shoo out with the pool scooper! I have 2 small children and they were too scared to go to the bathroom at night as the bats also invaded the bathrooms. Not cool! We tried EVERYTHING to get rid of them – pest control, ceremony, smoking them out, mirrors hung from fishing line – everything! The owner wouldn’t do a thing so we had to leave a couple of months into our contract, loosing all the money.

    We are now very happily paying monthly in a home we love, I was glad to see more and more owners taking monthly payments – even if you end up paying a little bit more, I think its worth it at the beginning until you know its the home for you. Also, you don’t really know a house thoroughly until you have lived in it through a wet season! A home can be lovely in the dry season and an absolute mess from November on!

    Kate

    • Linda September 13, 2012 at 9:10 am #

      Hi Kate

      Was just wondering how you went about finding a rental in the first place. I have had a look on a couple of sites, but some of them seem rather exxy. How did you pick where you lived now? Suburb wise etc. I love Legian, but sure won’t find a cheapish villa to rent around there.

      Grateful if you can give me any advice.

      Thanks
      Linda

  4. Chris April 22, 2013 at 4:36 am #

    I have been able to negotiate with our housing agent to pay rent in increments. It sounds like many house owners and agents are more firm on the issues of paying a year in advance. But it doesn’t make sense for everyone, particularly if you are not certain you can stay beyond a six-month Social Budaya. I don’t think I could commit to a year upfront without having lived in the house for several months to get used to the quirks (and let’s face it, every house has its quirks, no matter where you live). How to spread a greater sense of flexibility among housing agents and house owners in paying for a rental?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Living long-term in Bali: Part 2, rental housing | vegiterra - April 22, 2013

    […] Mike Henry’s blog Bali Expat (different than the next link) is a fantastic and very honest guide to living long-term on the island. Check this along with reading Cat’s book. A good, recent starting point to along with this article would be his article “A valuable piece of advice for renting a property in Bali.” […]

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