Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Don't make me get all American up in here. Because no one wants to see that.

In my last post, I talked about some of the language difference between Australians and Americans.  I am one of the least patriotic Americans I know.  Not that I am not grateful for our personal freedoms, democracy, and American Dream rhetoric - of course I am! It is those things that allow me to live the life I lead here in Australia.  But, I am not about to put a flag up anywhere, preach the Bill of Rights, or get offended when some Australian teases me about America (except once when some tv host made a joke about JFK...too far, too far).

But with Inspector Climate and I still looking for a place to live together and having to learn how Australians find apartments, fill out applications, and (someday) sign leases leaves me having strange outbursts


Yeah, I said it.

To be fair, I've never really had to look for apartments in the US - but from the people I've talked to (ie my mother and some close friends) this is NOT how it goes down.

In Australia, you have to list references including your bosses name and phone number and how much you make.  Then the real estate agent calls up your boss and has a discussion about why you're moving, how much money you make, and what kind of person you are.

Now if you'll recall, I just met my boss. In fact, we've only seen each other 4 times and that includes the TWO times before I started working there.   And yet,  in one of those first few meetings we had to have a conversation about the fact that yes I am moving. I am moving because I am moving in with my boyfriend. Yes, that is a big step.  No, this couldn't be more awkward.  

As if it is any of his business why I am moving and who I am moving in with?  That is personal information. 

I come from a state where we live free or we die (for those non-Americans, that is literally our state motto).

And this, bitches, is not living free.  And so, this is what I have to say to real estate agents in Melbourne (paraphrased from Braveheart)



  1. Weeeellll, as a part-time leasing agent I can tell you that we do indeed contact previous landlords and current employers. Sorry to burst your housing bubble! Hehe. It also depends on who you are dealing with. Large corporations, like ours, tend to do a lot of background checking. If you're dealing with a private landlord renting out an apartment in his house, he might not. It just depends.

  2. Ahh, well there you go! I stand corrected.

  3. I dunno, sounds crazy to me! I don't think they do that in the UK. It'd piss me off if they did. XXX

  4. Whaaa?? That is crazy business! Though I hear that the process in NYC is pretty similar. Too much, I say!

  5. In France you have to give a deposit as well as a get someone to be your guarantee if you should for some reason leave and not pay your rent.

    In NZ it really depended on what agency you went with to what information they required. I think I had to write my place of employment and contact details but whether or not they actually contacted them I'm not sure.

    We are looking for places in Jersey (UK) which is crazy difficult for so many reasons. A lot ask that you give a personal and a credit reference. We are avoiding those because I'm unemployed!!

  6. Yeah I would think that would be really awkward too. Plus I never let anyone I work with know my personal life so that would not be cool.

  7. we had to provide that information to our landlord here in LA too. it was the same in san francisco. i think that's standard in the large cities in the US {or maybe just the large cities on the west coast?}. landlords have to protect themselves by making sure their tenants will be able to pay the rent. since we didn't have jobs when we moved down here, we had to provide our landlord with bank statements to prove we had the funds to pay rent for the next X months until we found jobs. however, i don't know of many landlords who actually call the employer. most of them just check to be sure you are employed {which you usually do by showing a recent pay stub} and that's that. what an awkward conversation!

  8. oh no. don't worry!! try not to let the awkwardness get in the way of things. hope youre ok xo

  9. They call your BOSS about why you're moving? Income verification I can understand, but wtf on the personal details.

  10. background checking is so big now..even in the states..but not THAT much in renting.

    I was shocked when my friend moved in with his girlfriend..just because they had military IDs..and they aren't even in the military..their parents are.

  11. Oh housing background checks are pretty common everywhere I think. What they do in Australia doesn't sound all that different than in France (and apparently certain parts of the States according to the comments).

    Max has had to provide pretty much everything except my dental records to the military police so that they deem me "fit" to live with him in the military housing. They even wanted info on my parents back in Canada. What for? I have no idea, but if someone over here ever decides to call up my Dad to confirm anything, it would be an awkward conversation for sure!

  12. yeah, that's a little different than we do things here. Most apartments just take your word that you make such and such amount (or they just ask for a pay stub), but no reference calling.

    I suppose this method kinda keeps out the riffraff though.

  13. Thanks for all your comments, I don't mind so much the fact that they want the information, it's the fact that my boss had to ask me why I was moving so that he could tell the real estate agents when they called (and boy do they call). Don't mess with freedom, yo.