24 May, 2007

Looking for a new place to live

We're only living for the first month here on Plaza de la Paja with the goal of finding the place to live for the rest of our stay in Madrid. Becca and the girls spent Wednesday looking at nine different places, some of which were apparently just nightmares, but they found two that we looked at again this morning.

One point to note is that Madrid gets 300+ days of sunshine a year. But today was not one of them! Parking and slogging to the Metro in the pouring rain was certainly not the charming picture of house-hunting that we had in our minds.

We have learned a few lessons about renting an apartment here. In addition to one month's deposit, most furninshed apartments require an additional month deposit. OK, we can work w/ that. But wait, in Spain the renter pays the real estate fee so there's another month's rent. That's it, right. Pero no! Because the laws are so lopsided in the tenant's favor here, the stories are shocking. It takes at least a year to evict someone who's not paid rent, for example, and they can stay in the apartment during that process and not pay anything! So most landlords require a 3-12 months bank guarantee, which is effectively an additional deposit. Incredible!

Still, it seems like we have two good choices and should be making a decision in the next few days and we'll have some pictures to post.

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