Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Renting a Unit in Sydney

Is the hardest thing in the world! At least it will be on the top of the ten hardest things in the world.Getting a Unit in Sydney that is.For the uninitiated,in Australia, an apartment or flat is referred to as a Unit. Two months after landing in Sydney we moved out of my cousin's Unit as they needed privacy and we needed ours.We moved to a room in a boarding lodge which thankfully had an attached bathroom which was a big blessing.It had a common kitchen where we could cook and a common TV room and a pool table etc.I being the hardcore Indian I was, helped the manager in moving some stuff the day we moved in.I didn't have to help him,what with my bad back,but I did and I asked for a small TV in our room as compensation for my back.That was another blessing.We stayed there for almost a year and as the noise in the night by fellow boarders got unbearable we started shopping around.Hope everyone remembers what shopping around is? We went for many inspections and to many real estate agents.We didn't leave a single agent.We had heard some of them were racists and its probably true to a certain extent,but then ignorance is rampant and Australia being cut off from the rest of the world its understandable.The prices for rental were very high and the units were not that great and some of them were dumps.Let me tell you that at this point we both had jobs, and that topic I will discuss in another blog,but yes if two people are staying then two jobs are required.When I hadn't found a job many shop owners wanted to help out and said they would testify saying that I worked at their establishment.But the agency wanted to see pay slips or bank statements.It was nice of these guys,but we had to wait till I found a real job,the one with pay slips or money deposited into bank a/c. Once we had jobs the hitch was that we hadn't held jobs for a year or that we didn't have rental history.There were places where the agents or owners didn't care about all these prerequisites but then those areas were shady.I didn't want to stay with my partner in such areas,as security was important.

Agents kept calling and telling me that our application was unsuccessful and we were getting really disappointed with the rejections and with our stay at the lodge.Sleeping at night was becoming a big hurdle as some people loved messing up our sleep.

Then one day my wife saw a nondescript advertisement on the Internet for a unit inspection in a suburb called Dulwich hill.We had heard relatively good reviews about this suburb.But me being a person who can do one thing at a time only was hassled that the inspection was at 10am,we had to take the bus since the trains were not running,it was raining and we had a lunch appointment at 1230 at the house of a lovely Australian couple from church.All these were doing a ping pong match in my head and I had a big pow-wow with my partner and then she said that we would skip the inspection as anyway the unit would be given to some cash rich Chinese or some person with more rental history.I then thought of what my dad always accused me of.In his words "You will always give up when success was lurking in the corner".So, I decided to rough it out.Took the bus in the rain,got lost and wet,and finally landed up at the unit with some guidance from the owner on the phone.We had a nice chat.The owner was very jovial and he said the reason why he kept the timing as 1030 am on Sunday was to keep the Riff Raff's away.He knew most people would've got piss drunk on Saturday and would never make it to a 1030am inspection.He wanted dedicated and disciplined people who would brave the rain and come for an early inspection.We were all drenched.We went back to the lodge,changed and went for our lunch which was just down the road.The lunch was lovely and it was nice just to sit and have meal with people.In our lodge we didn't have any tables to sit and eat.The owner did the checks on us the next day and on Wednesday we had paid him an advance and had the keys to our unit.Can you believe what going an extra mile can get you?That was a lesson for both of us,to never give up.

Now we have been renting for a year and a half and boy it feels good to have an address.We have an excellent landlord and we are thankful to God for that.So my advice to all seeking to rent a place is to keep looking and attending inspections and applying.You might get lucky.I personally would go for a direct arrangement with the landlord as there's a more personal touch involved in it.Happy hunting mate!

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