Friday, April 25, 2014

Fresh Hell: Finding a Flat in Berlin

Oh yeah, this entire blog has been a thinly-veiled anti gentrification rant:  The Impending Gentrification of Berlin, The Hipster Invasion, Landlords aka Fucklords, and The Current and Very In-Your-Face Gentrification of Berlin.  This blog is a redneck swamp hat with a wide brim shading very angry eyes.  Donuts dangle from strings around the brim.

It’s Fucklord time again.  After yet another one year sublet, we found ourselves looking for another flat.  Not because we paid the rent on time every month for the entire year, not because we never had any neighbor complaints, not because we have money in the bank and a spotless rental history—but because ‘it is a free market and we can rent to whomever we choose’ sayeth the Fucklord.

Oh yes, our hauptmieter gave up her contract behind our backs and the Fucklord saw the chance to kick us out as well, saying ‘you are not our tenants.’  Our hauptmieter told us from her year abroad in France that she was sorry that the Fucklord hadn’t chosen us.  It wasn’t anything personal, you see, they ‘probably just want to raise the rent and get a commission from the next renter.’

Nothing personal?  Jesus fuck.

So off we went into the thick of things again.  Each time we try to get another flat the rents go up 50%, the lines outside the flat viewings get longer and the new metric fuckton of additional paperwork fells another rain forest.

If you are looking for a flat in Berlin, watch out for the poisonous sentence ‘the viewing will be on such-and-such date at such-and-such time.’  This means you will be standing outside the flat (most likely in the rain) waiting for a beady-eyed bald man (most likely in the pub) with a group of 30-40 feckless feckers just like yourself.  If you choose to view a flat that is NOT in Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain, Mitte, or Kreuzberg, you will have to wait outside with slightly fewer feckless feckers.  Maybe only 10-20.

We were waiting outside the shabby, dreary-looking 1940s concrete slab down the road from Mauerpark.  The usual suspects gathered:  hipsters, students, Italians, Spaniards and Spanish-Italian hipster students.  The beady-eyed bald German appeared late as usual.  He led the group of 30 up the stairs and held out his arm.  If he says ‘Heil Fucklord!’ I will strangle him with his own belt and take his keys, I thought to myself.  He did not.  Instead he had us all wait in the stairwell while he showed people in one or two at a time.

This thing must be a tiny fucking shoebox!  Only 2 at a time can view it!  The first couple came out after only 2 minutes and the next pair was let in.  The first couple was grasping an application form in their sweaty hands.  They dropped to the ground in the stairs and started filling out the form.  By the time it was our turn to get into the flat, it was in fact a bit of a shoebox.  But there was no reason to keep us waiting; 7 or 8 could have easily fit inside at once.  But it is the Fucklord’s market in Berlin.  The Fucklord can arrive 30 minutes late and make 30 people sit in the stairs filling out paperwork while mumbling moo-hoo-ha-ha-haaaaaaaaaa under his fetid breath.

When I went to look at the living room I saw why there was a flat tour limit:  a pregnant woman sat on the couch watching television with a very sour look on her face.  I know, honey:  German tv is pretty scheisse.

I asked if we could submit the form online by email, and the beady-eyed Deutschbag smiled and shook his head.  “In the STAIRS!”  If we wanted it badly enough we would have to cop a squat, open up a vein and write it with our own blood.  Pens were not provided.  We decided we were through with this dog and pony show.  We told beady baldy that we would not be sitting in any fucking stairs to apply for any fucking shitbox for any over-inflated price. On the way down the stairs the usual suspects scrawled on their papers in the stairwell.  ‘What do I put here?’ one hipster asked.  ‘That’s your boss’s info’ said the other hipster.  I couldn’t get around them; even though they are skinny fucks in skinny jeans, side by side they are a minor roadblock.  As I tried to step over them, my boot hovered for a bit.  If I stepped too far too fast, my bum ankle would send me crashing down on the poor Italian couple below the hipsters.

My boot hung in the air.  I was tempted to put my size 13 right in the middle of the hipster’s application—or on his empty fucking skull.  One of the hipsters looked up and saw the impending danger.  They shimmied to the side just slightly and let me by.  Then they returned to their feverish scrawls.  They would get this flat. Oh yeah.


  1. sounds exactly like the Melbourne rental market. We're moving to Leipzig in July. Thankfully a (furnished) apartment has been sorted.

  2. Sorry to hear the rental market in Melb'n is as fucked as Berlin. Rents in East Berlin have gone up 900% in 10 years; in West Berlin they've gone up around 200%. The only things that HAVEN'T gone up are wages and number of jobs. You are one of the lucky ones. Those who have employers who sort their flats always win. The rest of us (self employed creative types, etc.) have to take our chances with the riff raff. Hell, we probably ARE the riff raff.


  3. So sorry that you are going through this AGAIN! Hope you win out in this battle against those feckless landlords....