Newcomers wanting to be cautious of expenses or those who have limited budget can settle in Hong Kong without dealing with huge upfront commitment costs associated with renting out a two-bedroom or larger apartments. Hong Kong has plenty of options for single people willing to share rooms in a flat.
Long before the concept of airbnb was conceptualized, people have been engaged in flat sharing. It must have its own share of benefits (and disadvantages) that are worth exploring.
1. You pay less accommodation costs. For a student or a newcomer living alone in Hong Kong and wish to minimize expenses, sharing flat is one sure way to cut costs. Even as we all value privacy and we are unwilling to share our private lives with strangers we met only at AsiaXpat or other flat share websites, the costs of renting an apartment can be prohibitively high. But if you rent one two-bedroom flat, and find a taker for a room to defray the cost of monthly rent, it may not be a bad deal after all. You get a proper kitchen, an adequately sized toilet and space enough to welcome another person to take the other room while you take his share of the rental expense.
2. You share utility expenses. If you are renting the room, you not only save on rental expenses but also utilities such as broadband and cable TV subscription, energy and gas bills. If you were to live on your own in a new flat, initial costs are also high as you need to deposit a certain amount to get these utilities installed. But when you apply to be a flatmate, you likely don’t have to worry as you’ll only be collected your share once the monthly bill arrives.
3. You maintain privacy. Although you share the same flat, same kitchen or bathroom, you likely have your own room which is restricted to your access as you have your own key. While you compromise your privacy on other spaces to save costs, it’s the exclusive use of a bedroom to yourself is the most important thing — and plenty of people are fine with such arrangement.
4. You have someone you can talk to. You have the right to choose who your flatmate will be — whether you are looking for someone to occupy a vacant room in your flat or you looking to respond that flat share ad posted online. Hopefully, this will develop into lasting friendships not just short-term flatmates. Having a flatmate means you have another person to talk to when seeking advice, seek (or return) favor for errands and possibly, someone to cook your food when you are sick.
5. You share the work. When you’re alone, it’s not just the costs that you are dealing with. It’s also the effort: cleaning the bathroom or cooking dinner. If you have a flatmate, you can agree to divide tasks. This lessens the workload as both of you will be responsible for the upkeep of the flat. If you’re alone and too busy to do housework, you might as well pay someone to do it, adding up to costs.
6. Additional security. When you live alone, security can be an issue. If you go on vacation, nobody’s going to look after the flat. When you accidentally forget your key inside the flat, you have to be clever dealing with it without destroying the doorknob or padlock. If you have a flatmate, these issues are minimized as you can both agree to keep an eye on things inside the apartment.
7. Less hassle if you have pets. If you have a poodle or goldfish, you need a more complex arrangement in feeding them when you are away. A flatmate who doesn’t mind these pets — agreed prior to moving into the flat — can be invaluable person to lend a hand in times like these.
8. Get to know more about Hong Kong. A flatmate can be a wealthy source of information about the neighborhood, or Hong Kong in general if you are a newcomer. Where to find fish food, where to buy cheap Halloween costume, how to go to a Ocean Park from Wan Chai or which clinic in the neighborhood has the best doctors. It’s like you have a know-it-all reference without going to Google.
There are also disadvantages of sharing a flat with someone. But let us leave the discussion for another article.
Photo credit: J Aaron Farr / Flickr
Where to find flat sharing listings in Hong Kong: