Confessions of a Tenant: the Trials of Flat Hunting

People like to say that buying a home is like finding your own private Heaven. They must be right because being a tenant certainly feels like very long and stressful Purgatory. Much like this mythical place, tenancy has its own way to determine whether you are going to earn your ideal suburban house without too much trouble, or you are going to go through various ordeals, and eventually burn in tenants’ Hell. Unfortunately, I did my time in the latter group, and in spite all the different troubles I had, constant search for the new flat was the worst.

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Living the Life of Uncertainty

Do not get me wrong, there is nothing particularly bad about changing a flat. As a matter of fact, change for the better is something you should always strive to. According to Kupatana, all you need to do is to take all the time you need, follow few simple rules, and you will find your ideal home just around the corner. The troubles arise when you are forced to change flat quickly, and not always under favourable conditions.

Why People Move so Abruptly?

And boy, are those situations frequent. From my personal experience I can count at least four (new flat owners tried to raise the rent, landlords’ cousins moved into the city, owners were constantly refusing to make repairs, owners were spying on me), but all of them pale in comparison to the situation my friend, the IT-guy, had, when his flat was cocooned by electrical distributors because the owners have not paid some ages-old bills.

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What Are You Losing in the Process?

To put it simply, you are losing the right to choose. Given the fact that you are renting for so long, the chances are that you do not have some permanent employment, and you are not able to get the housing loan, or to raise the mortgage. To make things even worse, most of such employments do not feature fixed salary. If you are forced to endure yet another flat hunt during some slower period, and you are not able to quickly gather the deposit money and the agent commissions, the choice of the flats you will be able to rent will be very limited.

How to Ease the Pain

While there is no existing fail-proof method to make these situations pleasant, over time, I learned that there are quite a few things to make them less painful. Here are few of them.

Be the first to pull the plug. Moving to another flat is a matter of routine; do not put too much emotion into it, especially out of obligation to your landlords. Both you and they are protected by the notice period. The truth, however, is that it is much easier to find a new tenant than a new flat, so if you have to part the ways, be the first to pull the plug.

Always keep some “flat-hunting money” on the side. It is much easier to find the right flat if you have enough money. You should always keep enough on the side so you do not have to worry about commissions, and deposits. Ideally, you should have enough to pay even one overlapping rent so you can cancel the current flat only after you find the new one, and make the transition as effortless as possible. Sure, it will cost you few pleasures here and there, but it will save you a lot of headache in the long run.

Do not think for too much. Do not get me wrong, impulsiveness is not one of the traits you should brag about, but once you find some flat you like, and you see no obvious drawbacks, rent it. If you wait too long to find “the ideal” flat, you may lose this “good enough”, and end up with “subpar”.

No matter how good your flat-hunting skills are, being a tenant has never been very pleasant. Do not worry, it is just a phase. If you always look after yourself, and get the most out of any situation, you may live to see your “light at the end of the tunnel” with your nerves intact.

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