Wednesday, March 9, 2011

if you can't change it, make it work - honest thoughts about our rental home

This has been our mantra since we moved into our rental home 2 years ago. Before we had been living in a small moldy apartment on the 2nd floor of an old building in a Flemish town near Brussels and when our contract expired we wanted only three things: no mold, a garden and being closer to the city centre. After (at least we thought so) careful consideration we found a house that ticked all the right boxes.

And how I see it after living here for two years?
We live in a house

-that is old and only superficially renovated with the cheapest materials possible=looks cold and unloved,

-that has an old electric system=certain appliances can not be used at the same time safely,

-that has no dishwasher=and it is not possible to install one,

-that has an oddly shaped garden=it is more about maintenance than fun,

-that is not protected at all=we had a break-in during the Christmas holidays when we were away and the destroyed door is still not changed=the owner of the house is totally negligent,

-we have mold= we had to invest in a dehumidifier to keep the bedrooms dry and mold-free,

-which is owned buy a person who had cared for stray cats in the garden=even if she is not living here any more, there are always at least 5 strange cats in the garden (fed by some kind neighbours).

And I have a son and a husband who are both highly allergic to cat fur, mold and dust in general…

God, it is even worse to see these written down.

To be honest, we hate this house and it costs us a fortune because it is situated in one of the most popular districts of Brussels and it has a garden and a private garage. And we have to stay here until March 2012 or we can leave but we have to pay indemnity.

I made a lot of effort to make this house more comfortable and I wanted to make it work. We made a pretty guest room, we rearranged the living room three times, we tried to add personal touches to it, we switched bedrooms with the boys and we try to maintain the garden. But I feel that until there are serious problems with the basic living necessities like health, safety or comfort, my efforts are aimless.

I am not sure if I can make anything work as I stated in the title. And I feel really lost right now…

P.s. I know that many of you would probably say that as a tenant I have certain rights and I have to turn to the owner with my complaints. I tried it several times. But my French is not good enough and she is really hard to communicate with anyway because whenever I complain she always tells me she understands, but now she has serious medical/personal/work-related problems.

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