This is a loooooooong over due post. If you’ve been reading the blog, you know that my previous flat was in between clubs and next to a brothel. Brothels don’t bother me, I’m more liberal than most, but the music the played to muffle the O’s was painfully loud. That and my OH joined me and I figured she might like a slightly better location.
In preparation, I spent about six weeks, three to four times a week checking out flats. I knew where I wanted to be, then I gave up on where I wanted to be, only to decide that it was where I wanted to be. Long story short, I wanted to live in Oriental Bay, Wellington. If you say you live in Oriental Bay, people gasp; “isn’t that expensive?” Quite frankly, most of NZ and AU is expensive. I fib and just say my OH will be paying for it and then everyone is ok and it doesn’t seem like I’m making an extravagant living. In the end, OB is more expensive than surrounding areas, but that’s because you have views like this one:
So the following is a brief (yes this is the brief version) of the tale of finding a house in Wellington, specifically Oriental Bay.
I already told you Oriental Bay was expensive, but look at that view. Every viewing is breath taking, and even when it’s not perfectly sunny, it’s still lovely to watch. The first house I went to go see, the people who lived there were lovely on the phone. I was excited, but when I scheduled the appointment she told me, “call me when the road ends and all you see are steps going up.” I can do that and I did, but this wasn’t just a few steps. I climb 52 steps everyday in my office; usually three to four times a day, so it’s not like I’m a puss here. These steps were just the beginning:
Once you reach the top, there is a path that goes up and then more steps, and then more steps after those steps ~ through trees none the less. I kind of felt like I was going comando, but not the good kind . I finally reached the unit and as soon as she took me in, i ran to the windows to see the view. It was lovely, but I also learned something sneaky about Wellington (private elevators).
Nice view right? West facing so you get lots of evening and Winter sun ~ important attributes when you live in the Southern hemisphere. But what the hell is that green tram thing there? She informed me that it is the private elevator to the Ambassador’s house next door. Really, I get to live next to am Ambassador, perhaps I’ll get party invites. Giddy, I ask her how long she’s lived here; 3 months. What, three months and you’re moving out? Oh, you want to move in with your boyfriend, oh ok, let me look at the rest of the flat please. That was my mistake, I should have just stayed there, at the window and just signed the lease. It’s the way a doctors stomach must churn when you go to see him/her and says, “what are you here for?” and you respond, “I need you to look at something.” Out of sight, out of mind is sometimes the best experience.
Small stove, but see that clothes washing machine there? The outlet pipe goes up the back across the counter and then hangs over the sink. So basically when the washer is on, don’t use the sink as it may spray dirty and soapy water on you and your food. (Ofcourse in my head, I’m like I can fix that, that’s a small problem. Forewarning, I don’t always use my intelligence well.)
This is the bathroom mirror. WTF. (Don’t turn your head Michael, Don’t turn your head.)
Toilet from 1900? Seriously are we using that much of a gravity feed to flush that thing? This isn’t even the worst of it.
This is the shower, she tells me; “It’s a little hard to keep clean.” I almost want to say, “No shit,” but I’m nice. Who in the world puts wood slats as the wall against a shower?
On my way out I ask her, “What is this?”
If you know the answer you either are an electrician or old. No offense, just telling the truth there. That is the door bell and the fuze box. When I arrived my mood was elated like a hot air balloon, but upon leaving I was dejected like Eeyore.
I have others to view, right and besides nothing keeps me down. Let’s check another unit shall we?
This one was a little bit easier to get to and the guy was named Neil. I’m not racist, but let’s be honest if you have a think accent from a country that doesn’t use the name Neil, why would you choose that name? It would be like me, the whitest of American’s saying my name is, “Lixua’ Ahuin” while visiting China. It just doesn’t work people. Anyways, I walk up and I meet Neil, who’s real name is not Neil. I’m not sure the last time he showered, but he looks clean – ish. He tells me what a great view, isn’t this view amazing. I agree, but I’m already distracted. The unit is empty and available immediately, but why are there clothes on the clothes line? He explains, that the neighbors must be using the clothes line, but not to worry he’ll take care of that and I should come on in. Ooooh, this is going to be good, I can just tell.
This is the entry:
Why is there dirt, leaves, and a stain on the carpet if you just finished cleaning it? ”The wind, the wind blew that in when I opened the door. Didn’t you see it?” No, I didn’t it. FML I don’t have other photos of the unit, because I couldn’t wait to get out of there. There were holes on the carpet and when I pointed it out, he told me to put a plant there, or there, but the TV should go there you know (it should go there to hide the stain is what he was implying). Peace out, Neil!
If you are thinking about moving here or have done any research you know about the housing issues of the 90′s I believe it was. Regardless that important issue is to not get a house that is damp. I figured I could avoid this by renting someone’s condo (called an apartment here) in a luxury building. This is how you prevent dampness apparently:
Sneaky, place Damp Rid in each closet in each room and hope the renter doesn’t notice it. The unit feels dry, but touching that bag, I was afraid it may explode. At this point I’m just amused and figured I’ll take a moment and enjoy the view, it is amazing after all.
Except i can’t enjoy the view, because I’m flabbergasted that the window is hinged close via newspaper! How difficult would it have been to put a rubber strip across and to create an actual water tight seal. Last time I checked, paper absorbed water. I hate you realty lady, let me out of this place.
I did look at about twenty other places, and I did learn some interesting things here. See this:
If there’s a fire and you leave your unit, you grab your tag and place it outside the building so the fire department knows what units to focus on for search and rescue. Simple, brilliant, easy and life saving. Why isn’t everyone doing this?
On the flip side, I know everyone things NZ is upside down and yes the Corollas Effect is real, but check out the dryers here:
It’s upside down. Every unit is like this and when I asked about it at work they said it’s normal and they are designed for it. I said really, because the control panels are upside down too! After much discussion I started taking photos of every upside down dryer I could find to show them that all of the control panels are upside down too. I guess it’s easy to forget after you grew up with it being that way.
I won’t bore you with all of the other units, but it gives you an idea of why I was so pleased when i found this unit:
Two bedroom, two bath, great kitchen, back and front patios, and it even came with a nice church key. We moved in right away and found out the dryer was broken, but would be fixed that week. Ten days later we learned that our deposit (called a bond here in NZ) was never deposited. I asked our landlord about it and it was just a slip of her memory as she left it on the photocopier. I asked about the dryer, and was told it’s on it’s way. I asked when the garage would be emptied and was told it’s not filled (they couldn’t show it to us pre-renting as it was being used by someone else and they would return the remote to us), as you can clearly see it’s not empty, it has two molding mattresses in it:
In the following weeks since moving in, we have had to deal with a 7:35am drive by, by the landlord’s husband to tell us he can’t install the dryer right now, but he’ll call me tomorrow and arrange a time to install it. He never called, but he did call my OH and thought she was his wife.
It’s been just over 27 working days since we moved in, and we have just filed a petition with the Housing Tribunal to break out lease and to give us damages. We’ll find out what happens in the next two weeks, but if you move here looking for a place to live, be careful, it’s hell out there.
PS, you should really google your landlords before you move in; for example: http://tinyurl.com/d9dj9x8