Friday, May 23, 2008

UGH.

We found out yesterday that our landlord is raising our rent by 1/3. It's insane to me that our simple apartment will cost 95,000 rubles ($4,043) per month. Our apartment has two bedrooms, a living room, a small eating area, small (!) kitchen and bathroom. It's 105 square meters/ 1130 square feet.

Yes, Moscow is the most expensive city in the world (cost of living). Yes, most people we know are paying double--triple!--that amount (and even much more). Families brought over through jobs in oil and gas usually get fantastic expatriate packages that provide housing comparable to what you'd have had in the USA--somewhat. We're not in that category--our housing isn't completely paid for, but we do have an allowance for it. That being said, we just can't bring ourselves to pay such astronomical rent!

So we've lived in an apartment that didn't have the level of renovation you'd find in many other apartments rented by foreigners (or most Russians we know, either)--cracked bathtub, cracked floor tiles in places, broken kitchen drawers, windows from 1953 that you can't really open, no air-conditioning during the summer heatwaves (and you can't open those windows, remember, or the kids--and cats--could fall right out), chipping paint, dying stove and refrigerator, no dishwasher, no closets, no storage...

BUT WE'VE HAD AN AMAZING VIEW OF A BEAUTIFUL PARK AND HAVE BEEN IN ONE OF THE MOST COVETED SPOTS OF THE CITY. Cleanest air you can get here. Great spot for families. Within walking distance of Katya's school. Location, location, location. The location made up for all the apartment's shortcomings--while we knew we were paying a MUCH lower rent than our landlord could charge based on the address.

I should say that for all the apartment's shortcomings, it has nice parquet flooring, white painted walls--most Russian apartments have UGLY embossed and colored wallpaper, lots of sunlight--when there's sun, and super-high ceilings. The landlord also let me paint those murals in the kids' room--most would balk at the idea... It has served us rather well thus far.

Now that the rent is going to skyrocket, though, I'm scrambling to see about moving. If we're going to have to pay that much, perhaps we can find an apartment that's in better condition. I'm sure it's hoping for too much, but a place that would be bigger, too, would be a Godsend...

I'll be getting listings of possible apartments in our neighborhood from two real estate agents tomorrow. There's one potential apartment across the street from us--I can actually look into the windows from our living room. (Can't see anything, but I can tell there are no curtains/lights and it appears the place isn't rented yet).

Think good thoughts for us, OK? And if you're the praying kind, put in a good word for us! I'm terrible about handling moving stress and I need this to go as smoothly as possible... The timing is good, though... School is almost out and we're not leaving for the US until the end of June... It would be great to start off the fresh academic year in a spankin' new (to us) and nicer apartment!

If nothing comes through, then at least we'll know that the rent for the place we're in is fair for the market--and we'll go ahead and negotiate for those repairs the place desperately needs. I hope the landlord would agree...

9 comments:

Annie said...

Goodness.... I can see your dilemma...and also that if I ever live in Russia, it probably won't be Moscow!

I'll certainly keep you in my prayers.

Christine said...

I'm so sorry for this surprise. I'm sure God will open and close all the right doors for you!

Tina in CT said...

Ugh is right! I'll be up late so call. I'm on PTO tomorrow.

Rachael said...

Hopefully something good will come of this. A new painted mural in larger digs? Ugh is right though.

Nataliya said...

Unbelievable! I really hope you'll be able to find a better and cheaper apartment!

MamaPoRuski said...

We are the praying kind and sending one up for you now!

Natalie said...

That is outragous! How could it be that expensive? For that kind of money, you could live in a mansion here on Lake Michigan! I hope you find something bigger and in better shape, and worse case scenario...you don't get a nicer/bigger place but when you come back to the states to live you'll feel like a rich person because anything will seem affordable!

garnet said...

Will definitely be praying for your situation. I'm so behind that perhaps something is worked out by now? Anyway, you have my greatest sympathy if you have to move -- we have several families moving here (one having their things loaded today) and I'm really feeling for them -- and thankful I'm not doing it as well. On the other hand, there is the advantage that they're getting a good sort-through of their stuff and tossing a lot which I definitely need to do.

Don't envy you those windows that you can't open -- on the other hand, ours never close completely so in the up-coming "winter" it can get on the chilly side. I do envy you the parquet floors!

Tami said...

UGH! Moving. It's the bane of my existence! I haven't moved in the last four years, but before that it was every couple of years, if not more often.
I'm sorry they've jacked the price up on you, but it sounds (from reading the latest update) like the new apartment might be pretty nice. We'll be praying hard for you!