Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More house drama

So the military give us an allowance for our housing here.  Our cap is 1280Euro, meaning they’ll give us up to that amount to use for a house, unless they decide the house isn’t worth that much, and then they’ll give us whatever they decide the house is worth.

We’ve been trying to get our housing contract back from the inspection guy for the past week.  Yesterday Mark got a hold of the inspection office on the 3rd try and they said the guy had inspected the house and was waiting for a call back from our landlords…  So Mark called the landlord and Cinzia said that she wanted us to come out to the house so she could talk to us.  …. Uh oh.

So since Mark was busy, as he usually is these days, Abbie and I drove out to the house to meet with Cinzia and Loras.  Cinzia is Loras’ daughter and I think Loras actually owns the house, but he doesn’t speak any English and I think Cinzia and her husband Luca get the money from the rent we pay.  Anyway, so I met those to at the house to figure out what’s going on with all of this.

Turns out, the housing inspections guy has put the fear of God into them.  He came out and deemed that the house was only worth 1050Euro, and told them that if they don’t agree to rent it to us for that amount that the military will not give us ANY money at all the rent the house and they’ll make us find another house to rent.  (They were asking 1150Euro + 80Euro for water and trash per month.)  They also told them that now they can’t just charge a flat rate for water and trash, that they have to get receipts for these things from the city and give us the receipts and then we pay them from the receipts.

I felt bad for them and it was a really awkward situation.  They’ve been renting that house for 1150Euro for 8 years and then this guy, who was very rude to them, comes in and tells them is going to be his way or the highway and they just need to deal with it or they won’t let them rent to Americans anymore.  (Side note: the Italians make VERY good money off of the Americans around here.  They charge other people less than half of the amount of rent they charge the Americans typically, because they know what the Americans get in allowances.  So the military put this system into place because the Italians just kept raising their rents to the caps of the allowances, even though they weren’t worth it.  They also made them all put air conditioners in any unit they rent to Americans.  So they’re making good money off of the Americans, and they know it, so they don’t want to lose the contract with the base.)  But anyway, our landlords seem to be very fair and honest people and aren’t trying to screw anyone over, but they were scared and upset after the inspections guy left.  I tried to reassure them that one we got the contract out of the way, that we’d work directly with them and not go through the housing office for everything, but I don’t speak any Italian yet and Cinzia’s English is limited.  I think I got my point across though.

So Mark is supposed to get another contract from housing today and I’m supposed to go out there and meet with them again today after 6pm.  Which is going to be a trick since Mark has to work from 4pm-midnight and we have one car.  So that means I get to take him to work and then wake Abbie up and pick him up at midnight…  Did I mention how much having only one car sucks?  Our unaccompanied baggage is supposed to be at the house tomorrow so we’re supposed to be there from 8am – 8pm…  Don’t think that’s going to happen really, but a couple in Mark’s squadron is letting us borrow their F-150 so we can make 1-2 trips from the TLF’s to the house in the truck vs 10-15 trips in our tiny Lancia.  (That thing is smaller than an Escort, by a lot.)

Anyway, I’m very ready for this housing mess to be behind us.  It’s turned into a much bigger ordeal than it needs to be and has everyone on edge.  Hopefully it’ll all work out.

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