Saturday, 26 September 2009

flat frustrations

We´re beginning to understand why so many young (or not so young) Spanish couples tend to remain living with their parents for so long - finding a flat in Madrid is a frustrating and time consuming enterprise.

It´s not that there aren´t flats available - there are loads (one website - - lists over 9 thousand) - it´s just that getting an appointment to view one and then actually putting pen to paper is a process that makes the Byzantine bureaucracy look straightforward. Despite our best efforts to arrange viewings by e mail and text message, it took the intevention of our good friend Cesar, who kindly made some phone calls on our behalf (after only 24 hours back in Spain our spanish wasn´t up to it) to get us some viewings. Meanwhile we sat around in Kirsty and Juanmi´s lovely new house, getting increasingly frustrated at our inability to do anything and more and more horrified at the lack of taste so many of the photos of flats to rent demonstrated. Some of the floor patterning would have induced migraines and, possibly, brought out any latent epileptic trends, while the Spanish obsession with massive sideboards seems to know no limits. These are by no means the worst examples we´ve seen!

I wonder if "Changing Rooms" could be tempted to do a Madrid espisode?

Anyway, after the third viewing (after being pipped to the post at the first flat we saw) we thought we´d found a flat and a barrio we´d be happy with. A reasonably spacious 2 bedroom apartment, not too pricey, with a very sympathetic landlady who just wanted us to complete a few financial tasks before we could sign. As well as a deposit and a month´s rent in advance, she wanted us to have a 6 month Aval with our Bank. On inquiry at our bank the following morning, we discovered to our horror that this essentially meant tying up 5000 euros in an account we couldn´t touch for a year, with a bank fee of 400 euros for the privilege. Ouch! So we´ve kept looking. We saw two more flats last night that we liked, the second one in particular, though unfortunately it´s an agency let and the office is closed until Monday 9am. We´ve now got a nervous weekend ahead hoping nobody else has beaten us to it.

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