A good rental property is hard to find

NICOLE ELPHICK
Last updated 05:00 08/09/2012

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Why must hunting for a new rental property feel like you've entered the ninth circle of hell?

I'm pretty sure 87 per cent of arguments with my partner have happened over our differing opinions on the importance of off-street parking or why green splashbacks make me feel sad inside.

You're constantly running from property to property from the very specific hours of 9am to 1.30pm Saturday hoping that you don't miss that tiny 15-minute window for the viewing.

Soon enough your morale has been so thoroughly squashed by the whole process that you feel about ready to fashion a makeshift abode out of a washing machine box or you start watching videos like this and this as you formulate how you too can live off the grid.

Here's a short list of things about real estate hunting that make me want to smash my head into a wall (exposed brick if I had my preference, which it turns out I totally don't....)

Massive balconies: If you really, truly love to entertain I suppose I can see the point - but don't the majority of us not own a KitchenAid and have a complete inability to whip up rose-shaped carrots without simultaneously whipping up a severed thumb?

The last time I entertained ended with my sizzling lamb cutlets setting off the smoke alarm and me wild-eyed and hissing at my rather concerned guests, "Go back into the dining room and ENJOY YOURSELVES, DAMNIT!"

The only amount of room I need on my balcony is enough to whack a clothes rack out there, so please take that space and use it for the interior instead so that glorified cupboard can stop being referred to as a 'second bedroom'.

Stuck up applicants: These are the other property viewers (also now known as The Enemy) who wait until everyone else has left so they can sweet talk the real estate agent and try to "make a connection".

All the houses I see meld into a big mass of polished wooden floorboards and disappointment, so I sincerely doubt the realtor will remember your story of how you just moved back from San Francisco where you worked on a start up.

Second in annoyingness are the reverse psychology applicants who make sure to loudly mention "The southern facing aspect will be an absolute nightmare come summer" then sneak over to agent to grab a bunch of applications while they think no-one's looking.

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Giant apartment blocks with hundreds of flats: These are just really depressing with their weirdly patterned stain-hiding carpet, abandoned pools and gyms, and their general Hotel California vibe of having everything you need so you never have to leave.

My partner and I call these inner-city behemoths 'retirement homes for the young' and hate when we make the foolish mistake of not noticing until we arrive that the address said to go to Unit 628.

On the flip side, are there any two sweeter words than 'warehouse conversion'? I think not.

The bizarrely high level of documentation you have to provide just to make an application: I get the need for some documentation, I really do, but when I have to provide the real estate agent with more proof that I am who I say I am than to get a passport perhaps things have gotten a wee touch out of control.

It also makes me feel a little anxious that one day a real estate employee will leave under bad circumstances, take the files with them and then with the greatest of ease steal all our identities (please don't tell me this happened to a friend of a friend of yours or I will never quell this niggling paranoia...)

Non-private bedrooms or bathrooms: In a studio apartment loft living is great. It's cool, it's hip, you're only walking around in your old tatty underwear either alone or in front of your partner.

But in a two bedroom place, what gives? That just seems like bad design, since the tissue-thin veneer of privacy is all that's in place to stop civility from unravelling between housemates.

And if they're meant for families don't parents need private adult time more than anyone?

Oh, and one place I checked out had a bathroom that led directly out to the backyard and ALL THE WALLS WERE MADE OF GLASS! Wouldn't narrowing down your potential rental market to only exhibitionists and nudists kind of devalue your property?

So yes, hunting for a new rental property is indeed draining (and I've only done one weekend of it so far!)

But if you also feel my pain there is one thing that puts in perspective the pains of trying to find somewhere new to live - the actual process of moving.

Now even Dante himself couldn't find the words to describe that hell...

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