Unitech Housing

Unitech housing varies depending on the level of appointment.  As I was a female living on my own, my house was located along the main road.  Raskol activity is found on campus and they tend to prey on houses which are little more out of view.  Images of my house are available by clicking on the highlighted link.  The style is pretty much the same throughout the campus, maintenance tends to vary.

While most contracts will state that housing is included in the contract there are a few fees which will be deducted from your bi-weekly paycheck.  To the best of my understanding this is based on the value of the house (high, medium, low) and a government tax (which is why it is charged to you and not to Unitech).  In my experience the deduction was roughly K40/paycheck, so fairly minimal.

Other costs will include electricity, gas, water, and miscellaneous items which at the end of my contract (December 2012) were roughly:

Electricity:  K120/month – (based on kilowatt usage) I ran fans, lights, fridge, basic electronics.  If you have an air conditioner and use it regularly your cost will increase.  You can purchase ‘top ups’ in Foodmart, Andersons, PNG Power, and with the credits on your phone.

Water:  +/-K20/month – based on usage – you will receive a bill every month or so, most people probably pay every several months.  You can pay at PNG Water in Top Town, current office is located in an orange building where the Post Office is.

Gas:  the first bottle is provided for you.  A full large bottle (45kg) lasted over a year for myself.  The large refills (45kg) are ~K450, although smaller amounts can be purchased.  (You can get them delivered to your house with an additional delivery fee – you will have to pay this in cash).

Yard maintenance:  You will have to provide your own yard maintenance.  A mower-man for my yard cost k15 each time the grass got cut.  I also hired someone to look after my yard, typically k15 to k20 per day (it really took a little more than half a day), depending on quality and amount of work.  Once a week is plenty, however, the individual would be grateful for more work.  Some people have their haus meri do the yard work as well.  If yard work is your thing – go for it – just look out for malaria…

Haus meris – Typical rates* start around K20/day, get a recommendation(s) through someone you know and trust.  When you are first moving into a new house people will notice and you will probably get several offers from people you see along the street.  Still preferable to go with a recommendation (although not full-proof).

Housing Maintenance is provided through the housing office (free).  Go to the housing office and fill out a form.  Repeat weekly until the issue is addressed (or talk to the bossman and bug him personally).

Housing will not necessarily be ready for you when you arrive on campus for your appointment.  It is very common to be put in temporary housing or the guest house for several days to several months.  Also for some the term ‘furnished’ might imply that Unitech will provide you with more than it does…The only furnishings will be table, chairs, beds and mattresses (most likely foam but you can request a real mattress).  You will need to supply EVERYTHING else, from toilet paper to white goods (i.e. curtains, shower curtain, bedding, sheets and all kitchen supplies).  It is not unusual to be dropped off at your house for the first time and realize that you don’t have a glass to drink out of.  That’s ok, you also don’t have t.p….

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*rates – for local staff rates can really vary…  What worked for me with my last Haus Meri was to start with a price I felt comfortable with so that I could increase it from there, plus provided money for her transportation and food for her lunches/tea breaks.  After a while I increased her rate mostly because she does such a fantastic job.

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