Fri, Jul 27, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Taipei rentals out of reach for low-wage earners: labor group

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Minimum-wage workers in Taipei can only afford 5 percent of the places for rent in the city and most of them are single rooms in shared apartments, research conducted by the Taiwan Labor Front (TLF) found.

Taipei has the least houses for rent that people earning a NT$22,000 per month minimum wage can afford, followed by New Taipei City at 18 percent, TLF director of research Hung Ching-shu (洪敬舒) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Tainan, at 60 percent, has the most affordable accommodation, he said.

The researchers defined monthly rent of NT$6,600 or below as affordable for minimum-wage workers, because it is generally considered reasonable to spend no more than 30 percent of one’s income on rent, Hung said.

Of the houses that are affordable in Taipei and New Taipei City, 80 percent are single rooms in shared apartments and 23.8 percent are rooftop structures that were added onto buildings after construction, he said.

Contrary to the belief that rooftop structures are cheaper, the study found them to be more expensive and less safe due to the materials that are often used to build them, he added.

For the same price, renters in Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung are likely to be able to afford a studio apartment, he said.

While Taipei and New Taipei City are more expensive to live in, cities in southern Taiwan tend to have more restrictions, Hung said.

For examples, landlords are more likely to require their tenants to be women, employed and without pets or to ban them from cooking in the apartment, he said.

The findings highlight the need for the government to improve the way it determines the minimum wage to improve people’s quality of life, TLF president Tsai Pei-yuen (蔡培元) said, adding that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) promised to pass such a law when she was running for president in 2015, but the Ministry of Labor has not yet put forward a draft.

Ensuring that workers have a decent place to live would improve the quality of their work and benefit the economy, Tsuei Ma Ma Foundation chief executive officer Lu Ping-yi (呂秉怡) said.

The government should curb soaring housing prices by increasing transparency in the housing market, and introducing tax reforms and other measures, he said.

The research was based on places advertised on the housing and property Web site between April 24 and May 11, TLF said.

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