Renting in a Hutong, what should you be careful about ?

You are looking to rent an apartment or a part of a traditional Beijinbg courtyard inside a Hutong. This is a great idea but you have to be aware that there is some things to be careful about.

 

First of all, the Hutongs, these traditional housing places in Beijing, are now roughly of two types: the renovated ones and the non-renovated ones. The renovated ones are great but with a new interest for them from Chinese people that used to flee them 10 years ago, prices have skyrocketed. This is actually a big new rend for very wealthy Chinese people to buy a whole courtard and renovate it in a luxuruious way. Within a few years, this type of accomodation has become almost impossible to rent, but you might still find great places and never regret it, there is no better way to enjoy Beijing than to live in a Hutong.

 

The second category are the non-renovated Hutongs. In this category, you have all kinds of standards, from rather correct to non-livable, unless you are attracted by a kind of shanty-town way of life. Still, with perseverance and curiosity, you have some very good opportunities there and many expatriates live happily in their nice Hutong.

 

What should you care about: first, of course, the general state of the dwelling. Is it in an overall good state or not, does the door closes, including the apartment door and the oustide doors of the courtyard? This is quite important since robberies are more likely to occur in Hutongs than in large compounds that are more secured.

 

You should check the bathroom as well, and most basic of all: is there actually a bathroom ? Some apartments in Hutongs don’t have them and you have to go outside with very little confort. Check the water pressure, the hot water and the kitchen.

 

It is advisable as well not to rent a place too far inside the Hutong, for simple parctical reasons that taxis won’t want to drive you in there and that it will mean a lot of walk every day. At least check where the subway station is.

 

Have a look in the surroundings, some layouts in Hutongs can have very little protection from the neighbours, have a look on how the neighbours look like and f you can protect your intimacy.

 

There are important bug treatments that the Hutongs should have passed, especially on the roofs and some check-up can be advisable.

 

Eventually, everything is a question of balance. There is no golden rule there but you shold be careful on not making your life in the hutongs a hell when it could be one of the best things you ll do in your life.

 

And enjoy Beijing, wherever you live.

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