The horror of hunting for a shared flat in Mumbai

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It has been 3 months in a shared apartment and I think I like the place. Hope I haven’t jinxed it. Sure, I miss Suzette’s and Haiko. But Worli, Peddar Road and Colaba are close enough to go for a morning run.

But this post isn’t about that. I had expected the experience of finding a shared flat to be hassle free compared to staying alone. It wasn’t. I ended up having some weird experiences and meeting weirdos.

Flat no 1: At Versova

I hadn’t ever been to Versova until that day but I was looking for a decent flat in any suburb of Mumbai. I had landed from Goa from holiday and headed straight to the flat in Versova. It looked very quaint and attractive in the photos and the flatmate sounded nice on the phone. It was Tuesday night and the traffic was bad. I reached the apartments, somewhere deep inside Versova. There was a weird fish smell in the air and the building looked dilapidated. I couldn’t imagine where I would go for a run. I messaged the flatmate and told her I was heading back without checking out the place because I didn’t like the area.

Her reply: You are not even coming upstairs?

Me : No. I don’t see the point

Her : That is so rude. I cancelled plans for you

Me : I am sorry but I have lots of luggage and will have to book another cab. Plus am too exhausted for niceties

She was not happy and did not hold back on the anger.

Flat no 2: Chembur

A female shared pictures of a lovely flat in Chembur. But it was unfurnished. I was looking for a flat where I could move in with only my personal belongings so the lovely flat was off the list. This female sent me 10 messages trying to convince me that buying appliances was so much better than renting them or going for a fully furnished flat. I had to politely decline and reply to the messages in monosyllables.

Flat no 3 : Powai

This was the first flat I checked out. A fully furnished 3 bhk in Nahar Amrit Shakti that I fell in love with. The room had a BALCONY. I thought everything was final when I left for the Goa trip. But the female dropped a bombshell that the other 2 flat mates are vegetarians and I won’t be able cook non veg. I rarely cook chicken but eggs are my life and soul. And I don’t understand people who want to impose their life choices on others. Did I really want to inhabit the same space with such people? The females were stringent on this criteria and I had to let the flat go.

Flat no 4 : Powai

A lovely room with a tiny balcony through the bathroom and a great view. The rest of the flat was mediocre. The 2nd room in the 2bhk was inhabited by 2 females. I checked out the room and the flatmate mentioned she was moving out at the end of May. She had to speak to the owner for the agreement since it was due for a renewal. I kept following up for weeks. Finally, the agreement issue was sorted out. But the owner hiked the rent and it went out of my budget. Then the other 2 females decided they wanted to move to the other room and their room was up for grabs. That is when I gave up.

Flat no 5 : Chembur

I saw lovely pictures of the flat. It sounded like a perfect match – fully furnished 2bhk with only 2 people (so rare for only 2 people to share a flat in this city) and attached washroom. What could go wrong? The flat had a weird damp smell, there was no ventilation, the lift wasn’t working,  the white goods were a million years old and the furnishings were horrible. The flatmate was frustrated since she couldn’t figure out why she hadn’t been able to find someone. I was honest with her for my reason for rejecting the flat.

Finalising the current flat wasn’t easy either and involved lots of back and forth. Moving in wasn’t a cakewalk and it took 2 months to get the agreement done.

Dealing with flatmates has been as painful as dealing with owners or brokers. Infact it has made me appreciate brokers. At least you don’t have to deal with 2-3 people who dictate terms. Thankfully I haven’t had major issues with my current flatmates and hope it continues that way.


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