I am flat hunting. I need an affordable one-bedroom flat, preferably with fly screens in the windows and space for at least one of my eight bookshelves. Near public transport, preferably also within cycling distance from the city. And it has to accept cats. And — I realise I’m asking a lot — bonus points if it’s not totally grotty.
At first I thought I was being too fussy, but, you know, I have to live in this place. I’ve had homes so hideous I cringed every time I came home, and I don’t want another one.
On the other hand, it’s a really rough market for renters. I can’t afford to stay in my beloved inner-north, so I’m shifting to the less gentrified inner-west. But even there, way too many places are just … imperfect.
And so, to all the landlords out there, here are some of the reasons I haven’t jumped through hoops to inspect your properties:
- It is clearly haunted.
- Inspection time coincides with the deadline to lodge important court documents.
- Why would you even schedule inspections to take place during work hours? This wasn’t happening last time I was house hunting.
- Pretty sure a serial killer has been burying bodies beneath the porch.
- Your real estate agent’s Instagram filter failed to disguise the rust stains in the bath.
- It is 80 million miles from public transport.
- It is too small to swing a cat.
- Look, cat swinging just happens to be one of my hobbies, and I’ll thank you not to judge.
- Sometimes the cat buries his teeth on my arm, and I swing it around wildly trying to dislodge him. Nothing weird here at all.
- I’m quite certain I’ve transcribed search warrants being executed on this property.
- Fairly confident that’s an unmarked police car in the foreground of the exterior photo.
- My hipster chic aesthetic doesn’t extend to keeping the washing machine in the living area.
- Likewise, I don’t like my fridge so much that I want to hang out and watch The X-Files with it.
- There is a strong possibility that the carpet has mind control powers, and I don’t want to place myself at risk of being psychically possessed by a green shag carpet.
- Nine out of 10 crime scene cleaners rate it their favourite job site in Melbourne.
- The real estate’s use of the adjective “humble” is worrying.
- Something about the gang signs spraypainted on the fence is off-putting.
- I’m yet to embrace the meth house aesthetic.
Tomorrow I’ll be at the Abbotsford Markets, trying to sell some of the contents of those eight bookshelves. But next weekend, unless I get lucky, I’ll be out there. Again. Inspecting unfamiliar houses, smelling unfamiliar smells, and wondering what it takes to find a not-hideous flat in Melbourne.