Category Archives: Sharehouse FAQ

Spacious sublease for expats avail. in Kuningan/Menteng (house)

Yes, we have vacancies.

Monthly lease rates range from Rp 5 – 6 million with minimum 9-12 month lease including unbeatable location near Four Seasons, wifi broadband, newspapers and coffee on breakfast table, clean laundry in your wardrobe, hot showers, good pressure, cold AC, full kitchen, CCTV and on-premises security, and a microbrewery!

Email: sharehouse.jakarta@gmail.com 

Expatriate demand sends condo rentals, Sharehouse enquiries soaring

Wah, I knew this was going to happen. Kemang’s played out! It’s not worth living that far away from the office anymore — and there just aren’t that many suitable houses near the CBD. 

The Jakarta Post article in question says that all the action is in or near the CBD (that’s us, unless you’re talking SCBD) and “growing demand from expats to rent upscale apartments [is] a sign for the government to allow foreigners to own condominiums in Indonesia.”

Since that’s not going to happen anytime soon,  we’ve got a couple suggestions.  The first one is closely linked to our recently updated FAQ & Vacancies. Otherwise, if you’d like to be part of or in charge of your own Sharehouse in this part of Jakarta, we can help, pursuant to a rent outfit management (ROM) arrangment.  

Please email sharehouse.jakarta@gmail.com for more information.

Expate, outsource, automate and disappear: how to spend less and live more in Indonesia

Here’s what we’ve heard over the years about why single expats find that sharing a house near the business district with other expats makes sense in a city like Jakarta.

“I like the fact they’ve got a micro-brewery on board. It’s social, but in a focused way. The Jakarta serviced apartment thing was convenient, but ultimately alienating and boring. There’s just not that much going on in Jakarta on the 26th floor.”

— Development consultant, Madrid

“The kost thing was fun for a while. Sure you meet a lot of people, including Indonesians. It’s almost like a family experience. But then if your boyfriend comes to Indonesia or something . . . or you want to throw a Halloween  party, you may as well be in a hotel . ”

— Tech journalist, Palo Alto 

BNI/46

“My company offered me a big kontrakan [rental house]. But there were a lot of questions about who was going to look  after it. I’d just as soon not have a pool if I have to clean it.”

— Expatriate GM, Melbourne 

“I’m having enough trouble with my driver so I wasn’t really keen on having more people [maid] to manage.”

— Hydro engineer, Montreal

“Once I got the gym membership and located a few good swimming pools, there was really no reason to stay in the apartment.”

— Intern, Helsinki 

Continue reading

Jakarta expats ask: What can we do about the garbage situation ??

This post provides the background of how the Sharehouse took interest in Jakarta garbage culture and — most recently — the following two fun and easy-t0-read whitepapers:

  • Jakarta neighborhood waste management a recent study with a practical bent  and specific Menteng focus co-authored by an engineering team with members based in Australia and Indonesia; and
  • A slightly more dated paper based on research done in Menteng over a decade ago by Rafealla D. Dwianto — this is a good grounding in Jakarta Neigborhoods and How They Work  and thus provides indirect light on local garbage. This paper is also fun because it compares the two different “sides” of Menteng

Anyway, if you live on the fancy side of Menteng, you may very well have no idea what happens to your trash after you throw it on the floor or wherever. This, of course, is a very good thing. And you should stop reading now!

Immigration services Jakarta

On the Jl. Guntur side of Menteng, where the Sharehouse is located, even before the BBC did their mind-blowing  video report on local trash culture, we had a hunch. Almost anyone who’s ever driven to the far end of Jl. Guntur  — to where it abuts the filled-in wetlands that are being developed for office towers — has a good shot at witnessing a vast pile of garbage, stinking to high heaven, being attended to by bare-hand, barefoot workers using pushcarts and no other technology whatsoever to deal with the rubbish of a society that becomes palpably wealthier and more consumptive every single day.

Although when I first came to this part of town I used to enjoy mountain biking the ganglia of little footpaths that criss-cross the city and are especially important to the gerobak proprietors and those that use their freelance hauling services.

I noticed that in the lots between Menteng and Kuningan (then mostly vacant, now mostly not) there were a lot of obviously staging areas for things as specific and varied as abandoned mirrors (to be resold) and empty Mama Lime dish soap bottles (to be recycled).

Once I became a self-employed house renter I had various opportunities to hang out at home and observe the interface between the house I lived in and the other houses in the neighborhood network. I learned that it’s not OK for blossoms from my side of the wall to fall onto the neighbors’ side — and that invariably identify that as a  “garbage”  problem. I was particularly keen on one particular port, which I’ll call the “garbage hole.”  Into it the Sharehouse maid (and occasionally other known and unknown third parties) deposit trash and  through it the city-paid garbage man (and various other freelance refuse workers)  fish for our trash using sticks in the early morning hours.  (“Our” guy is Udin and he prefers to access the trash from the inside (after you open the gate for him) and moonlights doing gardening work . That kind of stuff is good to know.)

With the assistance of Sharehouse including maid and front-gate security, I began to monitor the garbage hole (no longer in use closed) which is something most Jakarta houses also have in order to facilitate the passage of kitchen and other trash from the inside to the outside of the property.  Very recently we began inspecting and weighing garbage, as an intermediate step to reduction and recycling.

I didn’t really have in mind anything like Imam and Wilbur’s BBC video essay as an option for learning about and experiencing the organization of local sanitation activities. That was kind of jolt, but a good one. If you’ve got questions about how trash collection works around here, then swing by tonight and ask Pak. Imam (who teams up with London bin man, jazz singer and amateur journalist Wilbur Ramirez  in the BBC video). He’ll be here to demo the local sanitation team’s motor-gerobak  and chat with neighbors about trash culture.

 

The event is was a benefit : funds raised go to purchasing a 1st aid kit for Jl. Guntur sanitation team. If you can’t didn’t come you can still donate.

1st Media cable internet is Rp 378,000 (3mb) & ideal for Kuningan, Menteng

For this area, FastNet from First Media is ideal because it’s almost never down or noticeably slow.

Why do we mention it? Well, just to update our previous consumer satisfaction posts about Lippo-owned First Media FastNet broadband service, including comparisons to Indonesian government-owned  Telkom Speedy DSL.

OK, I’d be a little  surprised to hear that First Media customer service won awards recently, since in the past (including before it was called First Media) the customer was so reliably always wrong. Nevertheless, I have not  heard any complaints recently from the Sharehouse finance department; so it seems they’re managing to get the bill paid without a phone brawl.

Certainly we try not to abuse our hookup since — who knows — if everyone decided to download movies on the same day, that would presumably suck bandwidth and —  if you tried hard enough — you could probably even “screw over” your ISP to some degree.  But that’s just never been an issue here. I’m sure speed does vary for us here and I’m sure the connection has gone down for a spell a number of times. (It has. And each time we call First Media immediately and then continue reporting the outage on a regular basis. They often deny any problem on their end while — I must assume — simultaneously resetting the connection so it works ; )

But not very often. And the rest of the time it’s simply “fast.” Don’t know how it works in your naked woods, but ’round here it’s cruisy.

(Sadly, we did cancel our First Media cable TV service, again. First, it seemed like there were less and less good channels all the time. Surprise, surprise. Second, one of the cable boxes was broken and they didn’t seem very enthusiastic about fixing it. Third, we hated the way we got strong-armed into investing  more in a service we didn’t really like. It seemed to us we had been given crappy service so that we’d complain, so that they could cut a deal with us to vastly improve the service for not too much money. The first time we mentioned the possibly of canceling our cable subscription it was casual on our part. But First Media was so adamant that we not cancel it. But we persisted, even as they pretended like they would be forced to cancel our broadband, too. You just have to patiently rip into the rep again and again on the phone. Eventually they’ll quit playing dumb.

Seems like we’d probably qualify for a special offer if we decided to sign up again for cable TV from First Media. So why not cancel?)

Costs and Kosts: Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta

~~This is the second post in a series of on kosts. Kebayoran Baru: What’s in It for You? is the first~~

A post at Living in Indonesia forum a few months ago said, “Three merciless days beating the streets and nothing.”

Right, because that’s how it feels, even though you come away with a much clearer idea of what you’re looking for – and maybe it’s a house or office location, not a kost – and what’s out there.

It took S. and me a lot longer than three days. A couple weeks and, yea, some exhausting footwork. We ended up going with the very first place we saw and we found that one by asking the very first guy we saw on the street corner outside target location (where I would be every day for work).

He wasn’t wearing shoes, which suggested to me that he was pretty much localized. Three hours later I was still skipping merrily along behind him, soaked in sweat, reminding myself every five minutes that a workout is a workout and I wouldn’t have to go to gym the next day.

From Senopati to Bangka, he knows every house and what the story is. Turns out he’s supports a large family repairing shoes. Which would explain why he did his best to wear holes in mine. He was pleased when I finally gave him Rp 10,000 and collapsed into a taxi. I think I know where to find him, so holler if you must.

So yes, it helps to use an agent. Just watch your costs. On follow-up trips we chartered a BBG-model “new Bajaj” and traveled by scooter. The right Bajaj guy knows his way around, including who’s got what for rent. On another occasion a neighborhood unit chief (AKA the “Pak RT”) took us for a spin around his block. House hunting goes a lot faster that way. But eventually you have start over by hunting down a new place to hunt and new hunting partners.

So here’s what we were looking for in a Kebayoran Baru kost and here’s what we found.

Our target Kebayoran Baru kost:

• Rp 2 mil/month
• Max freedom of movement
• AC
• Suitable for working at home
• Internet or some good reason for not having it
• Can park a motorbike; don’t have to squeeze past a bunch of cars to get in

And the table below shows more or less what we’ve found, decisions made, and why.

(Sorry, we entirely failed to keep track of addresses. Just kind of going on feel. Post a comment to request add’l info. I’ll do my best.)


Kost type

Look & feel 

Facilities

Price/mo

Decision

 

The General

A high-ranking dude ends up with more land than money and turns a good 25% of a massive house into very solid little rental units

Despite being a kost, still looks like one of those chunky, wrap-around-the-block Kebayoran Baru houses. Totally swish neighborhood. Suitable for Silver Bird pick up/drop off.  

Fast broad-band/wifi; really crappy bed;great closets/ shelves; un-hot hot water; laundry done by the front gate security (sucked bad)

 

Rp 4 mil

(but they have rooms that are (much) smaller for Rp 3 mil).

Yes. This turned out to be one big-ass studio with fast wifi across the street from work. So we doubled our budget and moved in (after two weeks of trying to find something better). And after one month we moved out. Why? Well, it turns out kost culture matters a tiny bit.  Cops were nice, but not fitting in – even for those few minutes when you’re coming and going — is a drag. But I can recommend this place for short term kost near Blok M.

The Auntie

A friendly, quirky  Indonesian woman spends most of the time in Holland. Her old-school, one-storey house has two or three bath/rooms rented out. No communal area. Retail focus: No matter how long you plan to stay, they always do things the same.

Fortunately, there are two larger units with private entrance (i.e, pavilion/paviliun  mother-in-law, etc). This is minutes from SCBD and stays full. Best part is the attractive semi-antique wooden furniture carefully assembled over the years.  Bars on the windows but light coming in. Nice

You get a key. Aunty scoffed at the idea of installing Internet.  “Kitchen” an unfunny joke. House dingy except for rental units.  

Rp 2 mil

No. It fell through. Management is as funky as the furniture. We tried. Deal breaker: You have to pay a surcharge for running the AC during the day. Which smacks of unwritten rules and hassles. Auntie spends most of the time in Amsterdam; too bad Holland isn’t further from Jakarta.

Road house

A commercial commuter kost located precisely at one of Jakarta’s worst traffic bottlenecks. In a way strategic: bad traffic, but at least you’re “home”

Minimalist,  urban, thing ( raw, corrugated cement with a splash of red paint). Pretty much what most commercial, commuter kosts look like. Private entrance.

Things are bound to work, including laundry and wifi.  They have to at commercial kosts like this. Otherwise, the  itinerant office folk take their rupiah next door.

Rp 2 mil (see if you can get Rp 1.8)

No. It was full. Plus, didn’t like the front yard carpark look, an uncomfortable echo of the choice to live all stacked up in cement boxes.

The Mates

A normal one-storey house has been aptly remodeled as a kost (by someone who’s lived in one). Located on a narrower lane in an otherwise “good” area and looks like a house on the outside. Friendly, young live-in owner/manager. Brochure available.  

 The gang was chilling at the kitchen table when we walked in. A bunch of (Indonesian) guys/girls who probably share a lot in common in terms of career, interests etc. It all made sense.  No private entrance.

Hot water. Large bed and bath in each room – like a hotel. Broadband, wifi, kitchen, and TV area very much in evidence.  Obviously they want the place to work. Likely it does.

Rp 3.5 mil

No. Didn’t fit in. Culture was friendly but a bit overwhelming (like the cigarette smoke). This gang would be happy to have you move in. And you’d probably find commonalities. But you’d have to pay your social dues, learn how to hang with the gang, maybe learn to smoke. A good way to learn Indonesian. Proves that you can’t judge a kost from the outside.  

Most Kost

Built to share, the husband/wife owner/managers know kosts. A relatively small structure but with a comfortable apartment feel, in the sense that everything has been thought out.

An unexciting but solid-looking building on a narrower but typically lovely, green Kebayoran Baru street with great gardens and a mix of older and remodeled. houses. Quite  a few kosts, too. 

No windows to speak of, but excellent use of space. Tons of storage. Very well- thought out furniture, most of it purpose-built. No Internet

Rp 4 mil for singles (surcharge for couples)

No. Too expensive. And why no Internet? Doesn’t make sense. Guess I’m not the target market. Plus, here was offhand comment of a kost resident (encountered lounging curb-side during previous visit): Yes, this is a kost for Islam only.  Random comment, random dude, maybe. Not representative of our experience. What he probably meant was: No, you can’t live here with your girlfriend [sic]. Whatever, though. Just tell them you’re married.

The Out Back

No matter how  developed and overdeveloped Jak becomes, scattered throughout there’s always going to be dirt roads leading to a vacant lots with little frontier homesteads. So around the corner from the ambassador, here’s a woman with a dozen babies, running desktop publishing outfit and renting rooms.

It was relaxed. I don’t specifically remember poultry, but I don’t think they’d really mind if you came home with a couple chickens. Plenty of space back there.

You get a fan

Rp 2 mil, firm

No. We needed AC. Rp 2 mil for a fan? This must be Kabayoran Baru. She was willing to install AC, but it was going to take time and would have increased the price. The open space was nice. We would have done it.

Wanna Be Apt

Featuring all the downsides of an apartment, and none of the advantages. Works great for whoever owns it, I bet, with a truly impressive body count/m2 ratio. Nice part of Kebayoran Baru with security, parking, brochure, whole thing.

Like an apartment on the outside, wardrobe on the inside. Think Indonesian university dorms.

Convenient motorbike parking. You get to smoke all you want

Rp 3.5, if I’m not mistaken

Never. Rooms were too small. May well be locally popular. Doesn’t translate cross culturally.

 O my, Oma

Oma (Granny) is probably a widow. Her two-storey  house is potentially funky in a good way, but alas, falling apart all over. Grandma is very nice, lucid, and apparently a good cook. (Padang food). She’d probably look out for your ass all right.

The Indonesian version of one of those places you lived as an undergraduate for like two months before taking out more student loans.

The water goes down the drain (sometimes), if you take the hair out

Rp 2 mil

Not. And this place was nearly full, too. Just goes to show that it’s not that easy to find good kosts in Kebayoran Baru. (One place we saw was even more unlikely –you had to walk down a nasty dark hall to a tiny dark room at the end – also Jt 2) 

First Media Fastnet: How many times would you like to pay your March cable bill Ma’am?

While we’ve logged and blogged Telkom Speedy as slower than Fastnet here and even whined about Telkom customer service in general, it’s fair to add that over the many years we did the Speedy thing, Telkom rarely overcharged. Like anyone, they would raise the rates. But if you complained, you could even get a “waiver.” There was never any need to save the bank transfer carbon copy or the wispy ATM records. (In fact, every month you’d receive a proper bill printed on normal paper in color. Telkom Plasa customer service reps recently told me that was service was no longer available.)

It was always enough to simply pay the bill. If you failed to pay, they would shut down the Internet. Almost immediately after paying, they’d flip the switch. Telkom does the same with it’s fixed line customers and — in our experience — paying the Telkom bill is always relatively easy and hassle free.

First Media is pretty much the opposite. They’ll bill you just as many times as they possibly can — and apparently let you pay, too. For good measure, they’ll even send you bills for the folks who used to live at your address, even though they know those folks have gone. Unlike Telkom, most of the time you can’t really figure if you’ve paid your bill or not.

When in doubt, the customer is  always wrong and they’ll ask you over the phone to read out the details printed on the ATM receipt you (should have) received when you paid your Internet bill via the ATM (on time). In our experience over the first year of service it has been very much necessary to track and document our payments each month. But it’s not sufficient. We still receive a steady steam of E-mails saying “You haven’t paid your Internet bill; and if you have, please ignore this E-mail.” But that’s not an easy E-mail to ignore. No one wants to wake up to a broadband blackout.

Call customer service? OK, on the good side, you’ll be able to get through easily. On the bad, much of the time the rep will be not particularly polite and in fact a bit manipulative (forcing you to “prove” you’ve paid the bill before providing any encouraging words.