I didn’t used to. In fact, I always liked the part where I got to see what the inside of different buildings looked like and all of their little quirks.
But now that my landlord decided to be greedy and raise my rent by 112EUR, I have been forced into this apartment hunt, only in Düsseldorf this is apartment-hunting on steroids. Tomorrow, I will have seen my 18th apartment, followed only hours later by my 19th, and then hours after that my 20th. Happy fucking Saturday.
The thing is, I would be able to pay the extra 112EUR, but…why should I? Nothing has been done to this place to make it better. I live on the 5th floor with no elevator and a 30-year-old heater that makes more noise and has to be repaired more often than a junky old car. And when I tried to negotiate with her, she sent me an email littered with unnecessary exclamation points telling me how wonderful of a landlord she is. When I tried to call her about a question, she was super unfriendly to me, as if *I* were the one putting *HER* out, and told me she would call me back the next day.
She never did.
I pay my rent on time every month without fail, and have done so for the entire 3.5 years I have lived here. In fact, most times I pay early because my boss usually pays me at the end of the month. I don’t cause problems. I don’t blast loud music. I keep to my fucking self with my little fucking garden and live my fucking life in a polite, considerate fucking fashion. I’ve even helped her son, who lives below me, move stuff a few times.
Most likely, she’s buying into the gentrification that has been going on in this neighborhood for the last 3 years. I’ve noticed existing businesses getting new paintjobs and new, sleek businesses popping up, while older places have disappeared. My favorite corner Greek place, run by a really nice Greek family, just up and left one day without warning. Now it’s an upscale Italian restaurant run by hipsters.
Hopefully, the Transylvanian grocery store survives the upheaval. I’ve always really liked that place.
So now I’m searching for a place, which is a fucking expensive pain in the ass in Germany. Not only do I have to hand over 3 months rent PLUS the first month (luckily, I happen to have that right now, and with my Sonderskundigungsrecht I don’t have to give her a full 60 day leave notice), but every single apartment I go see has 10 other people there to see it as well, and then they work the applications like a lottery. There was one I really liked, but at the last minute the landlady said she wanted to give it to her friend. Another one said that it had been down to me and another person, but the other person had been at their job longer so they got it. Then there was one that was a lovely location, and the agent hosting the showing was super cool, but both the inside of the building and the place itself was ghetto AF. I almost took the place just for that location and the price, but then I realized that I’d never be able to leave the house or go to sleep without worrying about someone breaking in.
Carlos has been amazing through all of this. He deals with my stressed out episodes of crying and wanting to throw my computer off the balcony in my frustration with the various real estate websites. He comes to almost every appointment with me to make sure people don’t take advantage of my clunky German skills. He’s driven me all over this city. He fixes things and helps me clean and reads over applications to make sure they’re on the up and up.
We talked about moving in together, but with the COVID crap, he’s on kurzarbeit, short working hours, so the crushing expense of moving in Germany just isn’t in the cards for him right now. As for me, I have no choice. So here we are.
The sad part is, I love my neighborhood. I love the nice people who work at the grocery store, walking to REAL whenever I need something American, and having 10 different modes of transportation around me.
I also love my little apartment, my very first real home here in Germany. I love grilling and watching the trains go by at night on the back balcony, and sitting on the front balcony with Carlos to watch the sunset. I love being comfortable enough to leave the doors to both open at night during the summer, knowing the only intruders who might dare to enter are insects.
I’m going to miss this place, and I’m worried that my next one will be some shithole I have to take out of desperation to not become homeless.
Homeless, with a full time job, a positive SCHUFA score and plenty of money for rent. What the fuck kind of problem is that, anyway?
Hopefully, I don’t have to find out.