Read this article in DeutschI‘m looking for a shared flat in Berlin. As with most, my WG search in Berlin is a corrosive process with more frustration than success. Not only do newcomers to every 10sqm room pay for 450 € a month and the search portals teem with freaks: Even if you’ve gotten a casting, it’s just the next bullshit. Or who is seriously looking forward to the chance to spend his 30 minutes in the pulsed mass-casting hectic, to convince as many potential new roommates with a lot of false smiling? My ordeal and the rudest offers:
Strange offers in Berlin: slaves and karma rent
Again and again I come across the lookout on WGgesucht.de on the strangest living concepts. For example, there was this group on the outskirts of the city, which lets everyone live rent-free, as long as you collect enough points in a mysterious “Game of Harmony”. According to the WG, this game is run by a psychologist and is based on listening and lecturing in order to discover oneself as “real being”. Also accepted points: helping elderly people across the street, teaching music and cutting films. Which Real Being now pays the rent at the end remained unclear.
Like U1 driving in the middle of the night, websites for shared flat searching make you meet the strangest people you’d never meet otherwise.
At about the same time I contacted a harmless acting offer of a Florian from Mitte. He in turn responded with an astonishingly long mail, exposing himself as a “home slave” completely subjugated to his female roommates. It would be a normal WG, he said, only that he cleans, washes and does shopping when told to. He would also like to be financially exploited. Even if I did not want the room, he could offer himself as a money slave. Great weird. After the first frown, I decided that a home slave for me Princess Potato would be the perfect solution to the “I’m too lazy to wash” problem. I wanted to give the thing a chance, as long as people are still cool. They can do their fetish thing, who cares. But then his mails became more and more stranger, until he actually lost his temper and wrote me a furious answer, after I had clearly written to him that I’m not on it and would ask him a maximum time to wash off. Well, I guess I’ll have to wash dishes myself. Somewhere else.
I am also not the only one who comes across the funny thing in the shared flat search in Berlin: A friend of mine has even resigned so much that she considered moving into a hippie community. They lived according to the concept that property does not exist and they use absolutely everything in common. She is not really in it, but was desperate enough to spend the next few months in alternately worn batik T-shirts.
It actually begins with the dodgy advertisements of some single men who offer women ” free” living. Nothing in life is free and I wonder why the portals do not delete such offers directly. I hope the women who take it seriously will at least turn out a good deal. Because honestly: 350 € – or how much they save on rent – are not really worth something. In general, some men confuse the platforms with Tinder or try to build something like their own harem at home. Everything already seen.
Looking for a shared flat in Berlin – a mass meeting
It’s not just the strange dudes who make the shared flat search in Berlin unbearable. As Urberliner I am the first to cheer up on the pricey: lately I was offered a room in Neukölln for 500 € per month. That unsuspecting immigrants pay that seriously is nothing but sad.
Related: “What really bugs me about Berliners” (to the article)
The whole process annoys me: As you get on every few lovingly written requests with great effort finally an answer and almost always a very short-term “eat or die” date is offered. Mostly one should appear already at the next day at a certain time. If that does not fit, you can continue searching. Most WGs choose a candidate day, where a larger selection may be presented in the strict 30-minute cycle. The applicants hand over the latch, one smiles unpleasantly and walks quickly past one another. 30 minutes to meet someone – it’s like marrying for speed dating. Such people are directly unsympathetic me, since they do not take time for the individual.
Searching for a shared flat is pure stress
Actually, I have been on and off since the summer on WG search in Berlin and pause in between months again and again. Everything about the WG search in Berlin dislikes me and I feel every time rejections as a personal attack. For example, when I’m looking for a job, I can just accept a no, but it’s actually a personal decision that affects my character and not my ability.
Lasts again: Since I write a long time on a nice request and get again offered an uncompromising appointment the next day. Actually, the whole Sunday was scheduled to visit my sick granny in the hospital. So I just stayed with her for a short moment and I had to let her sit and race for the casting. There I barely had time to introduce myself, until the next candidate came (too early). The WG suggested calling me later. That was not just said, we planned and discussed it firmly. The guys looked cool and easy going to the same festivals as me. And later I sat for two hours in front of a phone that did not ring. Absolutely every email from me was ignored. I have left my sick granny up for people who do not even take five minutes to even cancel other applicants who have appeared extra personally.
Watch: This musik video about finding accommodation in Berlin, where I even dance. You can not express it better than the lyrics.
This WG search in Berlin keeps reminding me how ruthless people become as soon as you give them the slightest power over others. In general, the power relationship is onerous – as a seeker you are constantly in the position to make others like you. At every casting I feel like a circus animal having to put on a good show. I always get a laugh out of my ribs, even though I’m just annoyed. Most advertisers have too little decency to even want to get to know face to face. They are just looking for a flatmate, as I am looking for a flat share – actually we should be on the same test stand. But Berlin is too crowded for that.
No matter how unfriendly or unattractive an offer is, it will be masses of people who will apply. That gives a lot of room for insolence.
My own, overly friendly mails are already hanging over my neck. I just smear some idiot honey around the mouth. It is frustrating.
The ultimate surrender came when I found a great apartment in a casting, with the main tenant I have understood myself wonderful. We both creative freelancers, same humor, it was really good in my eyes. Still there with me was an applicant, which was certainly 10 years younger than our potential roommate. She looked rather blue-eyed, had been living in Berlin for only two weeks and while I introduced myself, the roommate had to explain several words she used like “freelancer” and “webspace”. In addition, she dropped that she wants to move in with her boyfriend – but he did not even come to the casting. She seemed like the last person I would pick for a room if I had one to forgive. Also, the two side by side seemed completely arbitrary. As if two people from the bus stop were arbitrarily stuffed together in a room. They did not even talk right. And now guess who got the room from us? Right, the bus stop girl.
In the meantime, I’m not looking anymore. Soon I travel for months through South Africa and when I come back, I found my own flat with strippers and blackjack. And then I show Berlin how decent castings work.
Pictures by wonderful Alejandra Loaiza