So after much confusion, a lot of running around, and 5 million stupid questions, we have found an apartment to rent. It was an ordeal!
Apartments don't get listed until about 4 weeks out from their
available date, so we had to wait until later in July to look at places. They are listed online, not on a common website but through different agents. The agents are the ones who set up
public viewing times, so we had to register for a viewing with the specific company. Once our registration was confirmed, we had to make sure we showed up early as you only get a 15-min window to preview the space and if you are late you could miss it, tough luck to you! And the inspection times? Scheduled on week days, during the day -
so how are you supposed to go if you are actually working to make money
to afford that apartment?
After our whirlwind inspection, trying to elbow past 5 other people to see what the bathroom looks like, if we thought we wanted it, we had to rush home
and submit an application with a bunch of supporting documents to prove
we could afford it. With some agents you can fill out the application online, with others you have to fill out a paper form then scan it and email it to them. They will present to the landlord who looks at the applications and
approves on a "first in, best dressed" basis. (it really pays to get your application in first; apparently if the first applicant is reasonably qualified they won't even look at the rest) They rent by the week here, so move in dates are
all over the place.
Another odd thing: you have to bring your own refrigerator! I find this really weird, as every apartment we have seen has a different sized opening allocated for the fridge. What if yours is too big? Or what if you have had to buy a tiny one to fit into a previous place, and now you get a bigger, better kitchen? Do you have to buy a new one every time you move? What do you do with your old one? Is there a huge secret market for previously owned refrigerators? I'm going to have to look into this...