My housing situation was an absolute nightmare in my first month in Valencia. It could have easily been avoided had I done an ounce of research before arriving, and not come one day before induction. Knowing that Spain has a bigger rental market than the UK, I assumed that there would be many cheap and lovely available places. This might have been the case had I turned up earlier. My first 48 hours were a feverish and unsuccessful hunt. Although I found a few flats online very few people responded to my messages. When they did they would tell me the rooms had been snapped up, within the few days of them posting the advert.
Out of desperation I ended up taking the one place I inquired that had a free room. This was a big mistake. It was massively overpriced (250 euros a month for a room in a very small flat in Benimaclet). I also realised quickly I lived with a Venezuelan woman who had severe OCD and was incredibly controlling. When I had first looked round the flat I had noticed whole A4 pages of rules pasted around the place. Being desperate and naively optimistic I had ignored these. I assumed they were from the owner who would never be around to check if we were following them. They were actually instigated by the Venezuelan woman. She would nag us incessantly about the most bizarre and tiny infractions. If I or my French housemate would left the microwave plugged in she would tell us it was giving us cancer. And so on and so forth.
After just two weeks I and my French housemate both knew we could no longer live there. We are now both in much cheaper places, but lost our 250 euro deposits. If there’s one lesson that can be learnt from my experience it’s to give yourself enough time and do some research!
Written by Mabel Richards – University of Valencia, Spain