housing allowances beware

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 208.
  • strict warning: Declaration of date_handler_field_multiple::pre_render() should be compatible with content_handler_field_multiple::pre_render($values) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/date/date/date_handler_field_multiple.inc on line 185.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.

Hi

Just a tip for anyone coming new into Hong Kong.  At the moment rents seem to be rising, and apparently, since a certain investment bank is about to send another 100 families here (apparently they show them Beijing, then the show them Shanghai and then they say, well, if you really refuse to live in China, what about HK, and it's a breath of fresh air in comparison) it will be rising more.

Most of my friends who've been here around 2 years are seeing the rental re-negotiation period, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them are having to move, since the rents are going up by on average about 30%.  One even has seen a 60% rise.

 The worst is - surprise surprise, the companies refuse to meet the rental increase.  But worst of all, I know of one case where the company not only refused to meet the rental increase, but also would not meet the HK$50000 house moving fee.

 So the tip is, when you're negotiating to come here, and you negotiate your rental allowance (assuming you get it), also negotiate that they pay the local moving costs if you have to move during your time here in HK.

Spoilt expats - yes maybe, but you have to cover yourself. 

is food from local market safe?

my husbund is in the process of nigociating the salary with company in hong kong. i have been searching info and read your blogs which are really completed and helpful.but would be grateful if you give me a clearer view to prevent mistakes.
husband will be working in kawloon, kids have to go to french school in happy valley, but flats in HV is too expensive. flat allowance not more then 20k,we prefer hang around with locals that do not hate foreiners, with 24 hours local coffee shops and food around, quiet but safe hiking life in new territory or outlaying island.but ferry fees for 4 everyday will cost us a bomb.company might provide a car but hate to drive in hk.unfortunately my husband is at 24 hrs on call basis, fast accessibility to kowloon is important,
# which location do u suggest to live?
#prefer to buy food from local market, but worry most of the food r imported from china which is bad reputated causing cancer, read your comparisons of cost of food, is it silly pay high price for the so called organic food that might not organic? how do we know? sorry , but it really worries me since i hav 2 kids.
tks very much

Husband working in Kowloon - kids going to French Int'l

Hello,

You write:h

"*husband will be working in kawloon, kids have to go to french school in happy valley, but flats in HV is too expensive. flat allowance not more then 20k,

*we prefer hang around with locals that do not hate foreiners,

*with 24 hours local coffee shops and food around,

* quiet but safe hiking life in new territory or outlaying island.

*company might provide a car but hate to drive in hk.

* unfortunately my husband is at 24 hrs on call basis, fast accessibility to kowloon is important,

* prefer to buy food from local market, but worry most of the food r imported from china which is bad reputated causing cancer, read your comparisons of cost of food, is it silly pay high price for the so called organic food that might not organic? how do we know? sorry , but it really worries me since i hav 2 kids".

*******************

Well, there's no easy answer.  Better question to ask - who should have the longer commute, kids or husband?

If you think, "husband" then you need to find a flat near Happy Valley area. Have you looked at "Go Home Com?" http://www.gohome.com.hk/english/

I typed in a rent range of 15-25K and location Happy valley and there are some flats between 600 sq. feet and 1000 sq feet for that type of rent.

If you want quiet hiking & peaceful - then you'll have to endure a horribly long commute on the weekdays for both husband and kids PLUS - no 24-hour shops and coffee shops.

Quarry Bay might be a good alternative (Taikoo Shing, has OK shopping & there are some nice parks for young children to play in). ~ 800 sq ft. flats in Taikoo Shing & Kornhill Plaza are definitely in your price range. In a location like Tin Hau or North Point, you'll get more space for less $.

If you think "kids will commute" - then there are places in Tai Wai & Shatin that may meet your requirements for decent transporartion for your husband and kids and are also fairly quiet.

Personally, I would prefer to have the kids have a shorter commute.  Will your husband's office pay for taxis instead of a car? Often you can come to an arrangement w/ a taxi driver to regularly take your husband to work each day.

re: food & 2 kids

I have 2 kids too. Born and raised in HK and eat local food and drink local water. It's a bad idea to consider moving to a place where you are afraid to eat the local food and afraid of the water. Use common sense and live like a local (wash vegetables thoroughly; wash and peel fruit; filter and boil drinking water). I don't think that the fresh food in the wet markets is that much more dangerous than fresh food in markets in other parts of the world.

re: "locals who do not hate foreigners"

- I have never met a local HK person who hated foreigners on principle. I think what would more likely be a problem is not being able to share a common language. Most of my neighbors speak *some* English, just like I speak *some* Cantonese. So, if you move into a neighborhood where Anglophones are few and Francophones even scarcer, then you may feel more isolated until you learn some Cantonese.

 Good Luck!

 

Rent Increases

"rents are going up by on average about 30%. One even has seen a 60% rise." This is frightening but then many things in HK are so dynamic. The landlord bets you have settled down and he knows you are one rich expa. So if he thinks another new comer is willing to pay more, how would it be advantageous to move to another place when you will become a "new comer" for your next landlord?
Many years ago, I got a promotion to head an office in another city and they paid my moving expenses. But when I quit, I had to pay my own way moving back. The lesson I learned - make it a temporary relocation and have a job waiting for you back home and they will be required to move you back at company expense.

husband working in kawloon, kids go to french int'l

hello skmama,
thank you so much for the instant response. i think also the same to have the kids have a shorter commute.will head on searching flats in tai wan or sha tin. think my husband could get a taxi fare package from the company.it will be cheaper to send the kids together at the same time in a taxi i believe.but isn't it very traffical in hong kong at such moment? can i hav more advice on this?
trust me, i have no prejudice on food in hong kong, it is just a bit scary when reading so much bad comments about the food from china and the pollution. i travelled and lived in singapore, malaysia, thailand for 10 years with my husband and ate local food everywhere without worries until i got 2 kids.
also, have no prejudice on chinese in hong kong,but just want to make sure to have friendly living environment.becos in some small villages in malaysia and thailand, some r still conservative and look at u angrily,prohibit their kids to play with my kids. it took us years to break the ice by showing ourselves very humble and sincere.
for the language, we speak a bit mandarin and contonese, should not be a problem to mingle around.
can i have more information about flats in sha tin or tai wan? prefer a condominium type for safety,sharing swimming pool and playground. cos i am not going to hire a helper, with 2 kids, think i will not have time to take care of a house with priverb pool, by the way, we can't afford one.
once again, thank you very much!
warmest regards

Hello Loir,You write:"i

Hello Loir,

You write:

"i think also the same to have the kids have a shorter commute.will head on searching flats in tai wan or sha tin. think my husband could get a taxi fare package from the company.it will be cheaper to send the kids together at the same time in a taxi i believe.but isn't it very traffical in hong kong at such moment? can i hav more advice on this?"

 -- If you want the kids to have a shorter commute, you should NOT move to Shatin or Tai Wai. Instead, you should stay on Hong Kong Island.  As I mentioned before, if you go to http://www.gohome.com.hk/english/, you can search for places fitting your criteria, suing the "power search" http://www.gohome.com.hk/english/search/powersearch.asp

: pool, price range. 

 Doing that I saw flats in developments like "City Garden", "Provident Centre", Beverly Heights, etc.  in North Point and places like Kornhill Plaza and Taikoo Shing in Taikoo.

As for friendly living environment - well, it's big city living. You might never come to know people living on your floor in your apartment building. But, w/ the shared facilities (pool, playground) you can come to know your neighbors more - some will be very friendly and welcoming, some will be so-so; some will be aloof, just like any big city. I've found it easiest to make friends w/ other women who have kids around the same age as my kids - or a bit younger. 

 

Really look in the website for property.

Kids' commute to FIS

Hello Loir,

One other idea for your children is to contact the school and ask if there is a school bus service. Most schools have an arrangement with a bus company to provide a morning pick-up / evening drop-off service between home and school.

You'll likely pay a monthly fee to the bus company. It's door-to-door, so it's convenient, and also a good way to meet other children. On the downside, it can mean a long (eg 1-hour) commute if you happen to be the first child on the bus in the morning.

So, when you have narrowed down to two or three places to live, you could ask the school to give an idea of cost & journey times for the school bus from each of those places. That will give you a more realistic idea of the different commute times.

I'll also echo Skmama's advice about the gohome website and eating food from local markets.

Good luck with your move, MrB

hi skmama, thank u, it is a

hi skmama,

thank u, it is a great website (with good n bad comments from the tenanats)to search for flats.hope to sort it out very soon.
merci beaucoup.

best rgds

hi MrB, many thks for the

hi MrB,

many thks for the advises on the kids' transportation to school. it is a good idea for the children to mix around,as u said.

thanks to all and wish u all a merry christmas and a happy new year.

Unfortunately, many

Unfortunately, many landlords assume that ALL expats are rich bankers.

That means that 30% is the norm, with no qualms of screwing over the expat tenants.

Rather than pay the increases, we've just moved every 2 years! When we factored in the moving costs, it was still cheaper to try a new district.

renting costs

Hi,

I'm thinking of moving out HK with my wife in the next couple of months to work for 2-3 years for an international company with a big office there. I've seen your note about rent rises, and the "cost of moving" at 50,000HK$ - that's about 3,200GBP, in London money. Is that really what it costs to move from one 2 bed flat to another one? The rental increases are for continuing the contract I presume - or are prices on gohome typicaly rising at that kind of rate at the moment?

Rental agreements here are typically 1 year - from reading a number of the posts here, I get the feeling that a 2 year rental contract is more typical, is that right? And what level are deposits typically?

Thanks,
Ross

Contracts are usually on a

Contracts are usually on a 1+1 basis. One year fixed, one year with the option to give notice. If you have any negotiating skill, you can usually get the notice period to work to your benefit.

In our last place, we had the option to give 1 month notice, while our landlord had no such right. So effectively, we had a 2 year contract.

Moving costs will vary drastically depending on the quantity & quality of your possessions. Our last moving company, which brought 2 trucks and 6 very professional movers, charged around 4,000HKD. Of course, we don't have terribly much furniture, valued antiques, etc.

Thanks

Thanks, grover. 4,000 HKD sounds much more reasonable, and I can't imagine we'll have that much, and certainly no antiques.

We're coming out to Hong Kong for a week next week to check the place out, so thank you for putting my mind to rest on this. I'm pretty excited!

Ross