Tuesday, February 5, 2008

There was an old lady that lived in a shoe...

She did, it's true. And if the fairy tale was set in London, the shoe was probably described as a 'Cosy home, complete with open plan kitchen/lounge, separate loft bedroom and good ventilation.'
It would probably also have cost her about £1000 a month to live in it. I mean, come on! A shoe! Those laces add all kinds of value! You can... umm.. you can... TIE YOUR BIKE UP WITH THEM! Yes, that's right they're the built-in secure bike storage facility. Rent is now £1100 a month. Payable immediately.

"That's right sir, it's your 3 bedroom dream home. No they're not 'holes' they're nature viewing portals. You wanted a door too? Why didn't you specify this earlier. Christ. Actually I've got another place that would be perfect! Oh, wait you're probably gonna tell me you want a roof now aren't you?"

That's right folks, it's house hunting time.
The lease on our current hovel is due to expire at the end of February and there's no chance we're staying any longer in the exorbitantly priced cellar we call home.
As such, I've been tee-ing up inspections with people all over London. We're actually going to move across the city to the the Eastside as it sucks serious ass travelling over an hour each way to get to work.
We had some inspections last night. One place was decent and bearable, the other, not so much.
I hereby declare, people, that there is no such thing as a normal house/flat in London. Unless you're a family that has settled in the suburbs somewhere or you're someone that works in magic and can afford to spend the average person's paycheque on rent.
Needless to say, I'm not a family and I don't work in magic anymore... So options are limited.
Actually, no. They're not completely limited.
If you're into mould/mildew/cramped damp space/funky smells/insane flatmates/zoos then there's tonnes of places you'd adore!
The problem here is that there's no regulation of the real estate industry in the UK. Well none I can see anyways.
So if you have a spare bathroom cupboard, you can rent it out as a single bedroom.
In all of the approximately 15 viewings we've made since we've been here, I'd say very few, if any have been normal dwellings.
The problem is descriptions rarely match reality and as such a these places which sound amazing turn out to be rubbish.
As a service to mankind, I'm going to cut through the jargon for you. I'm just that nice.

When they say...

- Located in pleasant suburb

- Small bathroom/toilet

- Double bedroom

- MUST BE CLEAN AND TIDY. Will not stand for plates/cutlery to be left on sink, any items not labelled in fridge will be thrown out.

-Dossers ok

- Spacious flat

- 2 minute walk to tube, but can also catch bus out the front of house.

- Flatmates like to cook

- 37 year old female flatmate

- Refurbished Edwardian Terrace

- Basement unit

- Super happy housemates. Always up for fun and laughs and going out and even sharing meals.

- WiFi access

-Phone plan with free overseas phone calls to landline

- Sharing with 6 others

- Quaint, but needs some work
What they really mean is...

- Pack heat. Shit gets stabby out here.

- We tiled the space under the stairs and put a tap in there.
- Technically a double bed would fit in there. But not a single atom more.
- I'm a psychotic, anal, control freak. You so much as sneeze on a surface and I'll fucking cut you.

- Many people vomit/fuck/piss in out lounge room.
- Oh by fuck, it's tiny!

- You can walk to the tube if you want but you run a high risk of being shot/mugged/raped.

- Our unwashed dishes support a family of mice.
- Cats. Lots of cats.

- Skinny, falling-apart shack.

- Subterranean dungeon of the damned.

- You'll want to extract our eyes with a fork shortly after moving in.

- Dumbass upstairs door has unsecured connection
- Fat homesick girl won't get off the fucking phone.

- Your shower day is: Tuesday

- Do you have any matches?

The list could go on... In fact, we could make this a definitive list... Anyone got any more to add?

PS: Next post will be the meme The Girl tagged me in... Promise!


Fever Dog said...

Hmm... how about "up for a laugh" means "goes out drinking every night, and forgets/loses keys", "loves animals" roughly translates to "brings home strays instead of friends" and "ethnically diverse neighbourhood" equating to "gangland warfare".

Good luck with the hunt though!

D'Jen said...

"Shit gets stabby out here", GOLD!

I hope I can be half as funny and entertaining while I house hunt in London, what a helpful guide :)

Amanda said...

HAHA. Having just been through this myself, I'm sure I can think of things to add.

A big one on the site I was using to find a place was the middle aged men looking for "girls in their 20s, preferably students" translates to "dirty old man who, if he doesn't hit on you, will at least try to cop a look up your skirt".

"Must be good with animals" translates to "I have two dogs, and they're antisocial little shits".

One of the best I saw was for a pretty cheap place, with something to the effect of "Can negotiate reduced rent (even though it was already cheap) for extra housework. Not looking for housemates for the financial side of things, more for safety" translates to "I'm a single woman living in one of the dodgiest suburbs in Perth, I've been broken into three times this month already, and I need some big tough miner types to protect me."

Good luck!

jiminycricket said...

FD: lol... exactly. In our old place we actually had a flatmate that we'd never met before that came tapping on our window at 5am one morning after having lost her keys. She started on some sob story, but i was like, shutup and let me go back to bed, fool.
D'jen: Hi! The entertaining side of it all will probably be replaced my much anger in about a week! Hope your house hunting goes well though. Non blondie and I are working on our guide to getting sorted in the UK... It'll be much more helpful than this nonsense, I promise!

Amanda: How creepy are those guys!! I've seen so many gumtree ads like that... Scary dirty old men. I'd be up for the reduced rent for extra housework thing. Provided I didn't have to wear any French maid's outfits...