Friday, October 8, 2010
Eurkea! The Perfect Apartment is Discovered...With a Fatal Flaw
At first glance it seemed perfect. I could not find a better location – a corner apartment overlooking the most picturesque plaza in San Sebastian – Plaza de Guipuzcoa. A sandstone building built in the Parisian ‘Belle Epoque’ style of the late 19th century, complete with a bustling boutique-lined arcade on the ground level. Two blocks to the beach, 4 minutes to the surf break in Gros and one block to the bars and restaurants in the Parte Vieja. A central pad nestled in a pocket of serenity between a park and a pedestrian street. Perfect.
Furthermore, all eight rooms were enormous. During the summer the place is a hostel, so the rooms are designed to hold 5 people each. Each room has a balcony with a view of the plaza, the ocean, or the statue of Jesús Cristo atop the nearby Mount Urgull. To top it off, all the utilities and internet were included – all for 350€. A steal for San Sebastian.
I saw potential. With the right roommates, we could turn this apartment into a social center of San Sebastian ex-pat crew. It could be a couchsurfing hub of northern Spain.
So I quit my apartment search, told the property manager that I would find the other 7 tenants and put up an ad looking for cool roommates to spent an incredible year in an incredible apartment. In just a few hours I’d switched from frustrated apartment seeker to the organizer of a dream apartment – after two weeks of searching, I’d finally found my Alberge Espagnol.
But something was amiss. The property manager wouldn’t look me in the eyes when she promised me it was a great deal, and I felt like she was hiding something from me. She said the heating had to be replaced and the bathrooms needed renovation. I asked her for her word that the heating would be repaired before winter and signed the contract.
The next day, the construction began. I woke up from a siesta to find a construction worker erecting scaffolding around my corner room. My view of the ocean – gone. I leaned over and asked him how much time it would take.
Cuatro meses, he laughed, Mas o menos.
Four months, more or less. In Spain, that almost always means more rather than less.
I felt as if I’d been duped. I went to the landlord’s office and asked her if she knew about the construction. She denied it, said she would not be interrogated by me, and threatened to cancel my contract and let me find another apartment.
My dream of the perfect apartment seems in jeopardy.
I am unsure what to do, so for now I will just keep searching for roommates and hope it all works out well.