Rental Diaries, vol. 1

A charming ground floor…store

Mary Gray
May 12, 2017 - 8:27

Inspired in part by Kim Velsey's "Renters" column for The New York Times, Rental Diaries is a new column from The Florentine dedicated to residents' renting-related triumphs, house hunts, misadventures and more. 

Pre-visit, the contract seemed to be exactly what I was looking for—the owners were searching for a reliable long-term resident to look after their renovated one-bedroom in San Frediano. Post-visit, the agency called me during work hours, a litmus test for my interest level.

Being pursued as a potential tenant was highly unusual and more satisfying than it should have been.

“It’s not going to work,” I said smugly. (Renaissance city real estate agents were bringing out a side of me I hardly knew existed, and I was loving it.) “For me it’s fondamentale that taking up residence is a possibility, but I can’t do that here, since the owners have illegally converted a ground-floor store into an apartment.” It felt good to call out business BS for once. #NastyWoman!1!!1

The agent played dumb at first, calling out to a colleague who may or may not have actually been present in her office. “Ma, Lorenzo*, is it true that you can’t take up residence in that via Pisana bilocale?” Her mouth pointed back at the phone, she mumbled something fatalistic about how I’d have a hard time finding anything nicer in centro. At least these honest owners, she urged, were willing to give out a stable contract—that is, a 6+6 year agreement, the type used for commercial leases, and grounds for immediate dismissal if the police ever show up.

At this point I just needed to get off the phone, so I pulled the “it’s out of my budget anyway” card.

Ah, ecco. Now you tell me the truth!” the agent said knowingly.


*Name changed



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