I often get emails from people thinking of moving to Bali remarking how expensive properties are to rent, and they don’t know how they can afford to live in Bali. One of the problems of looking for properties on the internet, using English based websites, is that they are generally targeted towards foreigners. They may also be marketed to holiday makers looking for a short to medium term rental.
Broadly speaking, there are three categories for housing: villas, ordinary houses and “kosts”. Villas are the high end of the market. They typically have western style facilities with a modern open design. They usually feature: pools, multiple AC units, open living areas, western style kitchens and landscaped gardens. Owners may let them for short or long term periods. They attract the attention of the government, and owners may be required to get a license to rent it out, like a small hotel and pay higher rates of tax. Villas may also come with a gardener, maid, pool cleaner, or security staff, which add to the cost.
The typical local houses that I have seen, have one large living space with bedrooms and a bathroom going off from the main room. The kitchen often comprises of one ceramic covered, cement bench top, with a sink, and a two burner gas “compo” for cooking. Sometimes you even see kitchens outside of the back of the house, under a kind of verandah. The bedrooms tend to be on the small side, and the bathroom may have a toilet, shower, “mandi” all together, maybe with a space for a washing machine. This type of house is usually rented for a minimum of one year, with the rent to be paid one year in advance. Most of the land space is taken up by the house and there might be space for a car.
If you are on a budget, then this is probably the best kind of house to look for. While they might not have all of the amenities that you are used to, you can make a few simple modifications to make them more comfortable. A house might not come with a hot water for example, which would be a deal breaker for many people. You can however purchase a hot water heater for around a million rupiah.
A kos is basically just a single room for rent, usually with an attached bathroom and shared kitchen. Kos rooms can vary from a single windowless room, to something which resembles a budget hotel room. They are used by students and transient workers. Prices vary depending on the facilities, some may even come with a shared pool and wifi internet.
Many people recommend not using an agent as they believe it will cost more, than renting directly from the owner. However, there is no guarantee that the owner will pass on the savings of not using an agent to the renter.
To find houses marketed towards locals, you can try looking on these sites:
You can also just Google “rumah sewa Bali” and you will get a tonne of results.
Also check out the many property related Facebook groups:
Do you have any tips for renting property in Bali? Please share them in the comments.