Finding Housing Means Beating My Head Against A Wall
No — haven’t dropped off the face of the planet, but I have been firmly beating my head against a wall whilst trying to find us a place to live for a minimum of a year or so when we will qualify for a French mortgage or we find some cheap-as-chips property to buy for cash and subsequently renovate (while living in construction rubble — again!.
It’s a VERY good thing that I am feeling all bright and perky and healthy right now because I think I would have gone back to bed this morning and pulled the covers over my head otherwise. And I’m trying to deal with this 90% on my own since the darling Mark is off at work every day and it wouldn’t help him one little bit to cope with that PLUS this.
We didn’t get the house we interviewed for on Saturday. The owner rented to another French woman and in case you mistakenly think that I am feeling persecuted or discriminated against — no, I am not. It’s just one of those things and I’m not feeling dramatic about it.
This picture below is the view through each of the three French doors onto the balcony, the scene that would have been presented to us each day. It was a perfectly splendid large house and it even had the lock-up garage Mark needed and a separate office-library for me in addition to the 2 bedrooms, large kitchen, and large living and dining room. We had already begun to mentally envision where we would place the furniture and hang the artwork that is on the way from Australia. Now THAT was certainly a mistake we won’t make again!
We are having a nightmare trying to find someone who will rent to us here. We don’t have French tax returns for the past year and even with sparkling references, they want a guarantor who will declare that they will be responsible for our rent for three flipping years!
Our friend Becky (whose husband Matt my husband subcontracts for) went with me to make the rounds of all the agencies in St. Girons on Friday and I saw her face when the agent told her that and then she turned and translated it to me. I immediately told her that there was no way I would ever place them in that situation and she said, “We just couldn’t!”
Even the private owners here are asking for the same things —
1. Proof of income (we have that)
2. Proof of local bank (we have that)
3. Bank statements to show solvency (we have that)
4. References from past landlords (we have that)
5. Copies of passports and French residency (we have that)
6. Tax returns from France for a minimum of one year (we do NOT have that!)
7. A guarantor who will promise to pay our rent for up to THREE years (we certainly do NOT have that!)
Understandably, people who are landlords need to protect their interests and the housing market here is quite protective of the rights of tenants. So it is nigh onto impossible to get a renter OUT once you have them in. For those reasons, property owners are very, very conservative. Having owned a small portfolio of property when we lived in the USA, I can see it from both sides of the fence and am completely sympathetic to the position of the landlord as well as our own. But this is, at the moment, very difficult.
I was all chipper this morning and I thought that perhaps the Universe was trying to tell me that it wasn’t that particular house that would be right for us. But the rental apartments or houses are disappearing as fast as they are online and they have that full list of requirements that we can’t meet. I have been on the phone since 9:30 this morning calling property owners who had listed their mobile numbers on the listings. I’ve even had Becks and our other friend Caty calling around for me since they’ve lived here for years and their French is better than mine. The results thus far are a firm brick wall!
I’ll figure it out even if we have to go and rent some caravan for a year. Ah well — back to the online listings since the agencies are now a solid no-go zone. It certainly is NOT as straightforward as England, Australia, or the USA by any stretch of the imagination! Who knew??? (sigh!)
29/05/2012 at 3:12 PM