The contract will always be sent to you beforehand so you can give it a good read, what differs in fact is whether you can simply sign and scan the contract, or whether you are required to meet up with the landlord in person to sign it. This is not in your control at all, the landlord holds this decision, much like everything in this process really. In my case, I met up with Mr M. (which I was 40 minutes late to mind you- don’t ask) where I was able to read over the contract with him and ask him the relevant questions. Bearing in mind that the contract was long, complex, and in French, one would assume that I had a slight difficulty grasping it; and “one” would be absolutely correct! Having someone that understands French, and is a little more experienced in signing Francophonie contracts, or someone you simply trust nearby to help you understand the content and conditions better. You are signing a contract, a bunch of words as legally-binding and serious as that should be enough to keep you alert: you need to understand what you are signing! Don’t accidentally sell your soul to the Devil! Stay alert.
Once the signing had gone underway, an indescribable liberation overtook me. Unburdened, my reading week went almost swimmingly- by almost I mean I had two breakdowns, stormed out of the ULIP library and had a boiling 7-day frustration. The formalities however do not end after the contract is signed, there are other documents that are just as important. Mr M came up with an état des lieux the day we moved in. It is basically a document that lists the state of the house and all its contents on the day of entry; so, when it is time to move out the landlord can verify that everything is the way he/she has left it. Any slight discrepancies, and you can kiss goodbye to a fully refunded security deposit and hello to a partial refund, it really depends on whatever you may have “damaged”. If the landlord does not issue one in your presence, initiate it yourself, you don’t want to be accused of something you didn’t do and have to pay the price. Once all that is done the apartment is officially accumulated, the place, yours.
Exciting as it maybe you have yet to settle in. You ready to start/continue your academic year and transform your “place” into a home so you can start “living” comfortably. These are some of the things I did to move in, I:
- Bought a whole load of cleaning products, and cleaned the HELL out of the apartment
- Bought missing essential homeware items
- Bought the essential food (salad, vegetables, tuna etc.) and things I planned to eat during the week
Noticeably, the word “bought” keeps cropping up. Unfortunately, it’s true, you will be buying quite a few things, so in retrospect the key word should’ve really been “budget”. I trust that you will understand the constraints of your student income and work accordingly. I mean you really have no choice, considering you could be feeding on ice and dust particles by the end of the month if you’re not careful. The ball is in your court my friend, all the cards are on the table. I bid you good luck.
And after the long process of apartment accumulation, the trinary is finally complete. Whether you are an inexperienced first year looking for an apartment to start your ULIP adventure, or just someone in search of an easy read, I am truly grateful that you have chosen to journey along with me. During my time of writing this, I was indeed going through the process of accumulation and honestly documenting my experiences as they went along was quite therapeutic, although I could’ve been better with my deadlines (sorry Vice Pres). It would truly be an honour to know that this trilogy has helped even one of you in some weird way or another. So now I sit leisurely on my comfy sofa, sipping on a dull mug of chamomile tea wishing o’ so strongly that it was a good ol’ cuppa of my beloved Typhoo (yes, I drink Typhoo… and yes, I like it) or Tetley’s for you sophisticated folks, smiling and hoping that the some of you have found a nice set of four walls to shelter you for the year, yet simultaneously grimacing because I have a deadline coming up.
Back to the books I guess!