The flathunt continues

There seems to be two strategies for flathunting in Wellington. You can only target the most suitable places, apply, and then wait to see if your application is successful, or you can see as many places as possible, which can be a bit depressing and tiring, but gives you a much more realistic idea of what’s available.

The places in the rent-range we’ve been looking at vary quite widely in quality. Sometimes you feel like taking aside the agents and pointing out some basic things: if the current tenants are students you’re unlikely to shift the place, because the kitchen will be in a horrid state, with enough protein encrusted on the surfaces to make a substantial (albeit terminal) meal. If the first thing that hits you when you enter the flat is a wave of dampness and mould, you can forget it. Blackened ceilings: not good. Bubbling walls: not good. If the second bedroom is actually a dank cupboard-sized “study”, that’s also something of a dealbreaker.

The attitude of the agent also contributes to your impression of a property – visibly wincing doesn’t inspire confidence, not does cheerfully admitting that you don’t know how anything works in the house, or bringing along your special-needs teenager (who promptly disappears to the lavatory to perpetrate god knows what), or sulking when any fault from the previous paragraph is pointed out.

How many cities are there where the only liveable housing is constructed before the eighties and after the nineties? Can we blame Roger Douglas? Full credit to the Art Deco architects who decided to construct really good solid houses which also look quite nice, but is it possible to travel back to the 1940s and slap everyone who decided to point the bedrooms away from the sun and put windowless walls on the sides with the best view*, then travel to the seventies and slap everyone who decided to rip out the chimneys and replace them with bar heaters, then travel to the eighties and slap everyone who decided to save money by deregulating building standards, then travel to the nineties and slap everyone for designing such bloody ugly exteriors, then travel to the present day and slap everyone who hasn’t insulated their old house yet?

Or would it be simpler to go back to the 1890s and say “For fuck’s sake, just because you’re living on an island doesn’t mean it’s not bloody cold and wet, and just because you’re from Scotland doesn’t mean you have to live like a miserable freezing bastard. Make the walls nice and thick, put in some insulation, and make it waterproof. I know that suffering brings you closer to God, but there’s no reason to speed up the journey.”

* A modern concept, especially if there wasn’t anything to see out the window when the house was built except for sheep and Protestants.

One Response to “The flathunt continues”

  1. I laughed very hard at the *line. When foreigners ask me why NZ houses are so crap, I will point them to this.

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