Listen to real Australian english conversations and learn about the Canberra renting nightmare in natural English in this vlog episode of Aussie English where I show you what my daily life is like!
AE 433 – Vlog: Canberra Renting Nightmare!
Alright, guys. Back again, back again, and I decided to go for a walk today. So, I’ve just come down out of the suburbs that I’m living in here and there is a nice park, bit of park land, out to the side here that you can hopefully see behind me with a bunch of different animals in there. We’ve seen foxes in there. We saw some kangaroos in there. Quel’s been coming out walking in the mornings and we sometimes go out in the evenings as well together, and there are… yeah, there tend to be these kangaroos just hanging around in different spots in there just eating grass, I guess, and when you walk along, it’s kind of funny, because you won’t see them. They kind of blend into the background really well and have that grey… the grey sort of coat colour, but as soon as you walk passing it close to them, they pop their heads up and then they sit up, and they have that look on their face kind of like cows where they’ll be chewing. You know that herbivore kind of look where their jaws are kind of moving up and down, but also from side to side as they’re chewing on grass. So, it’s kind of cute. You’ll see them there put their head up and be like, “What are you doing? What are you walk and pass for? This’s my joint. This is my place.”.
So, I thought I would come down here today and do a little walking with Pete episode again, and chat to you guys about the latest news in Canberra, as well as my impressions of Canberra, I guess, so, what I think of the place as a whole, what it’s been like living here for the last few weeks, and my experiences.
So, I guess again, we moved up here three weeks ago and we had quite a bit of fortune, because we were meant to be coming up and staying at a… at an Air BnB, and the Air BnB was going to be something like a nine hundred dollars for a fortnight. So, 900 bucks a fortnight for a room. Living with some lady and her dog. But the… probably two nights before we were going to come up here and stay there, I told one of my friends that we were planning to come up to Canberra, and he was like, well he lived here, and he said, “Oh, we’re going away on the day that you arrive we need someone to take care of our dogs.”. And so, that’s why as I’m sure some of you have noticed, I’ve been living in a house with a couple of dogs recently and taking care of them.
So, that worked out really well. Rent Free. We didn’t have to pay for anything. We just had to be there to take care of his dogs, keep his dogs company, feed them every single day, walk them every single day, and as a result we saved you know a thousand dollars each or something instead of having to pay for three or four weeks of Air BnB rent. So, that was amazing. Massive thanks to my friend if he ends up watching this. And yeah, we’ve been able to enjoy this beautiful park each day behind what is effectively suburbia up here behind me.
So, you’ve got all these houses and these suburbs that are really new. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to see over here, but you might notice that all these houses look incredibly new. They’re probably only one or two years old and there are a lot being built along here as well. You’ll see scaffolding up here behind me and there’s a few over in the distance here being made. But on the other side here, you just have paddocks and farms and other land being cleared and streets being put in, lights in the streets being put in. It looks like you can see where houses are going to be built. So, they’ve started shaping off the land and everything for where these houses will be, the lots that they’ll be on.
And so, Canberra’s obviously sort of growing quite a lot at the moment. It’s a small city. It’s I think less than 400,000 people. So, it’s less than 10 times smaller than Melbourne, probably 12 or 13 times smaller than Sydney.
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But I tell you what guys, finding somewhere to rent here has been an absolute nightmare. There is so much competition. I don’t know if it’s just this time of year. I know that obviously the start of the year is going to be busy with regards to people arriving in locations and trying to find somewhere to live no matter where you live. It’s always going to be like that, but everybody seems to be absolutely insane here in Canberra, because obviously there just isn’t enough housing for people to have to live in. So, every single house that we went to inspect had between 10, 20, 30, 40 people inspecting those houses.
So, every single time we went in to submit an application to try and get one of these houses we’re competing with potentially 10, 20, 30 other applications as well. So, it’s been a nightmare. We’ve put in maybe five or six and all of them failed. They picked someone else.
I guess also, the rent is just ridiculous. So, to give you a bit of perspective, I guess, living in Melbourne I was paying… What I was paying? Two hundred and… maybe two hundred five dollars a week for the place that I was staying at, and to get somewhere here it’s about the same price. So, rent for one of the houses was at least… and these are the cheap houses. We’re not going for something that has 10 rooms, a pool, and is on five acres of land. We’re going for something that’s got two bedrooms, three bedrooms, and is pretty modest, you know? We just wanted somewhere that I could have a desk, we’ve got two bedroom, spare room for someone to stay in, but to give you an idea of the rent prices. Weekly room prices here. The cheapest I’ve seen for a house I think was about 390 dollars a week. So, what does that end up being? It’s about 1,500 dollars a month. So, you’d have to pay bond as well, but those houses, the ones that were under 400 dollars, wow they were crack dens. They were very run down, old, very small, one bedroom sort of flats. The most standard stuff that we see, the… on average houses tend to be about 450 to 500 dollars a week. And so, that’s, you know, about 2,000 dollars a month for rent. So, a thousand dollars each for Quel and I.
(I’ll) just give you a view here of the little bridge that we cross before we go into the park.
And so, yeah, the rent’s been pretty crazy. I was not expecting that. And something that blew my mind, we went to Batemans Bay, right? So, Batemans Bay is this picturesque, beautiful bay down the coast at the beach, and I was expecting… I just said to Quel, I was like, “Oh we should look up the rent prices and see how much it is here. Maybe it’s… you know, maybe Canberra’s not that bad for this sort of area in New South Wales and in the A.C.T.”, and Bateman Bay rent was like two hundred dollars a week for a house. So, like less than… less than half the amount that we are spending on somewhere here, you could get a place in Batemans Bay, a picturesque, beautiful location near the beach, you know, that you would imagine there’s a lot of competition for it, but obviously not a great deal, and it was half… less than half the price for some of these houses. I was like, “What?! What?!”.
So, anyway that’s been that’s been our experience so far applying for houses, but the good news, guys, the good news, the funny news. Oh my God. So, yesterday, we were like… we were chatting and I said, “Maybe we should just look for some share houses. This is going to be easier.” And a share house is somewhere where you are sharing the house with someone, right, or multiple other people, and you don’t have to pay a full bond. You know, you might have to pay your proportion of the bond. You don’t have to pay to rent the entire house, because obviously there are other people and you’re just renting a room and then sharing the rest of the accommodation like the living room and the kitchen.
So, you end up saving a bit of money. So, I said, “Quel we should do that. We should just see what’s out there. Maybe we’ll find some really nice lovely people to live with and it won’t be too bad, and we’ll end up saving quite a bit of money.”, because obviously we’re wanting to save as much as possible whilst here and whilst working full time.
So, Quel applied… well sent an e-mail to a few places and asked if we could come and check them out, and they got back to us pretty much straight away. Bugs everywhere! Got back to straight away. Two places. One place said, “Come and check it out on Sunday”, which is the day after the people whose dogs were taken care of get back. They get back on Saturday, which is tomorrow. And so, and the other one said to come over that evening. So, we were like, “Boom! Too easy!”.
Quel didn’t even really know where this place was, right? So, she’d seen photos and it looked really spacious, looked amazing, and guys, so we drive we drive to this place and all the houses… we’re like driving up, driving up, all the houses are millionaire houses, like, huge, and if they’re not these massive houses with these expensive cars in the front of them, they are embassies for places like the Dominican Republic or, I think, one of them was Nepal. And so, we were like, “Do we have the wrong location? Are you sure in the right place, Quel? I feel like we’re in the wrong place.”
Anyway, so here we ring up the person and tell them we’re here. No, we’re in the right place. And it turns out that this share house is the old embassy of Pakistan. So, I was just like, “What?!”. How the hell do we end up here? We walk in and check it out and it’s fantastic. It’s huge. I was really, really shocked.
So, we went in and looked at the room, and the room was like this big… big bedroom, queen-size bed, walk through wardrobes, with our own bathroom, which had two different showers. It has a bidet. And for those of you who don’t know what a bidet is, it’s kind of like a toilet that you squat over after you’ve gone to the toilet, and you press the button and water squirts up your backside. So, you sit down and water comes up here to prevent you from having to wipe, I guess.
That’s not something common that you would see in Australia. Maybe in like a five star hotel room or something, but… Anyway, so we went in, and a crazy thing… I guess, the reason we sort of saw this place as being a good place to stay at was that there’s a woman who takes care of everyone. So, there’s like up to 10 people who can live in this huge old embassy, ’cause it’s got heaps of rooms. She feeds everyone every night. She cooks their dinner and the dinner is a pretty good. Like, enchiladas, I think there was some Malaysian she was cooking that evening.
She… initially, we were kind of like, eh… she seems like a bit of a very strong, I don’t know how to put this, but like pushy kind of a person that you kind of think, “Eh, I might not get along with you. You might be a bit too much.”. But then after chatting to her for a bit she was actually really lovely, really funny, and was taking people out on trips on the weekend and stuff. She’s probably in her mid 60s and no real Australian Aussie battler. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get her on the air on the podcast in the future.
But anyway, so we were thinking, we were chatting after this, and it was it was funny, because we had the full process of walking and being like, “Maybe this isn’t for us”. We started chatting to her. We saw the rooms. We saw the shared spaces that we get to hang out in. And then, we were sort of slowly like, “Maybe this is for us. You know this is pretty easy. We don’t it to pay a massive bond.”. Rent’s 450 dollars a week with meals included, all bills included. So, that’s a massive plus, because we don’t have to buy anything, right?
So, we… another part of moving into a house for us that was going to be difficult, aside from just buying, sorry, just paying for the bond and paying for the rent, was the fact that we would have to buy a modem for the Internet. We would have to get the modem installed. We would have to pay monthly bills for the Internet. We would have to we would have to get electricity sorted out, water sorted out, gas sorted out. Again, all of those bills, I have to organise them, have them in my name, pay through the bank account for those things on a monthly basis. I would have to then buy a fridge, buy a washing machine, buy a dryer, buy couches, buy furniture, buy a desk.
And so, all these things were sort of becoming more and more apparent to Quel and I that this is going to be a bit of a pain in the arse if… and cost a lot of money, if we want to do this and get a house of our own. And so, after we went and saw this place, heaps of fridges, heaps of furniture in different rooms, the lady was like, “Oh, if you need anything out of these other rooms just take it. Just shuffle it around, you know, we’ll just organise it. Just say what you need and we’ll find it in another room and put it in your room.”.
So, long story short, once we finished checking the place out, we got in the car, we were having a bit of a chat about it whilst we drove home, and we were going to go, and see all these other places, but we ended up just deciding “Maybe, we just give this a go for a month. We’ll go… we’ll give her the rent for the month. We’ll get a place finally somewhere we can get settled, get organised, see how it goes, and just wing it, and just see… hopefully that works out. Otherwise I guess we keep looking. In a month’s time when hopefully it won’t be as busy.”.
So, that was yesterday and we now have somewhere where moving into on Sunday, the Pakistani embassy, the old Pakistani embassy. So, it should be really good. Fingers crossed. Fingers crossed, guys.
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