Monday, 11 July 2011

An Apartment at Last!

It’s been 7 horrifying months but I finally found a flat that I like and it has enough room to house me, my child and a guest if I so wish. It was not an easy road to travel but I would say it is very worth it. When I started out months ago to look for a better flat than the rat hole I was living in, I had no idea whatsoever what awaited me. I wrote the start of it here.

Basically it had been more or less the same experience repeated. Friends had told me along the way to report the matter to the authorities as it was illegal to deny a person accommodation on the bases of race, especially if the person in question meets the requirements of the renter (is there any such word?) . I didn’t for the simple fact that I didn’t want to put myself out there as that disagreeable person and ruin my chances of eventually finding a place I liked.

My landlord of course knowing my situation banked on my desperation and kept making outrageous changes to my contract that literally made him richer, by milking me and avoiding tax. I didn’t like it one bit, but with a child that trusts and depends on me to provide and protect her, I didn’t think it was my place to pull the rug from under him just yet.

Eventually my frustration was becoming even more noticeable at work and I had a long talk with my boss who decided to step in and help out. Long story short, I found a real estate agent that were willing to trust me enough (based on my boss’s recommendation) and find me a flat. You’d think that should end it.

I was given a few choices, I fell in love with the third flat and told them I would take it. My daughter was excited at the prospect of so much space and room enough to actually run indoors. Even before we finished the viewing, she was suggesting we drove by the dog shelter and get one now that we have so much room. Good thing I don’t operate on the whim of a child.

As we were heading out of the building with the real estate agent, an elderly man stepped out of an apartment and asked her who we were and she explained to him who, he then started questioning her about the ‘credentials and reliability of this foreigner’s documents’. Apparently they didn’t want to have a coloured person for a neighbour.

She spent the next 15 minutes convincing him that they had checked me out and I was cleared….and they have indeed. I had to show proof that I had no criminal records and that I had steady employment and money in the bank (Thank goodness my mother had sent me some money just a couple of months ago so it gave my bank account a facelift at the right time!)

We spent the next couple of weeks attempting meetings to convince other tenants and flat owners from the building that I was harmless. In the end, I decided I was through being humiliated like that, especially since I would be paying rent if I got the flat anyway, it wasn’t going to be for free.

I told the agent I wanted to move on and wanted my deposit back since they didn’t meet my request as our contract stated (I had paid them 1,008 EUR for their service alone!!). One of the workers there told me if I went to another agent then I would lose my money (I had 3 days to get out of my old flat!) So I gave her those three days to find me a place I like or else she would not only refund my money but pay for hotel for whatever period I stay until I find an alternative.

Long story short, a flat they had offered me a couple weeks before for a monthly rent of 850 EUR, for some reason was available for 620 EUR….so I took it (wouldn’t you?).

It’s totally empty so I shall be decorating. I’ll blog about it with photos.. The good thing though is I have a contract that covers me for the next 8 years.

4 comments:

  1. Oh. My. God. *Digital HUG!*. I am soooooo Happy that you guys have finally found a place. I really can't imagine the emotional turmoil that these people put you through. Your employer is a god-send for going to bat for you and helping you through this rough period.

    I was recently in Terrenia for a few days and I remember the suspicious looks that I got from way too many people in the area.

    Congrats on keeping the faith and keeping strong for you and your daughter.

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  2. Congratulations at last =)

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  3. I'm so glad you and your daughter finally found a place. Do you think this attitude occurs only in small-town Italy or all over the country?

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  4. It is shocking that some people are so narrow-minded! Still, congrats on fighting back and finding a new home. I hope you and S. will be happy!

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