Monday, September 14, 2009

Renting in Muscat, dodgy landlords & the agents...

So we have been here for almost 2 weeks now and still no luck in locking down an apartment, though we have seen a few that we really like. It's so annoying here, the expectation is that you will pay 12 months upfront rent (tell me, other than overpaid Exec expats, who has a spare AUS$18K just lying around?).

We saw a few really crappy ones that were in poor condition but a great location, and a few good ones.

The one that took the cake was great, was a 2bdrm Madinat Sultan Qaboos (the location we wanted because its close to a gym, Al Fair grocery store and various other stores) although when we asked about the AC being in good working order (because its hot as a mofo over here!!!) they said "oh, we don't supply those for you. The ones in here now are just for looks, you need to buy your own"...WTF? Needless to say we turned that one down, lol.

Thursday (the weekend here) we had an appointment with two different agents, one Western Woman and an Omani guy. She showed us two apartments and they were both really nice, but we were sold on the small but quality apartment and we were happy to take it, pending it was ready to go before the Eid Holidays kick in AND we could pay 6 months upfront only.

Now Syed from Re-zone Properties...he told us where to meet him and after waiting for 25 minutes and him not answering either of his two mobile phones, we left. Noone answered the office phone because it's Ramadan and the weekend, so we had zero chance of getting through. We knew he was dodging us and that made us even madder, though Duma is the calm one in the relationship and was doing his best to put my Maori fire out lol!

Anyway, Duma tried calling later that afternoon and managed to get through, Syed claiming that he was very sick and couldn't make sorry or anything! The conversation went like this:

Duma "We have been trying to call you ALL day, why didn't you show up this morning?"
Syed "I was very sick"
Duma "So, you couldn't call us to let us know or reschedule?"
Syed "No, I was very sick and it was a misunderstanding"
Duma "Well we are available now, can we meet you?"
Syed "Oh no sir, the apartment is gone now and not available".
Duma "You are kidding me? It was available this morning, you have been too sick to show it to anyone, but its gone?"
Syed "Yes sir I am very sick" - WTF???

So needless to say we settled on the small 2bdrm apartment but we couldn't sign the papers, as Duma's PRO @ work was still seriously lagging on sorting out his Residence Card (again, DON'T move to a Muslim country during Ramadan as nothing will get done!). So we said we intended to do it ASAP.

But wait there is my fury and truly in my style, I sent an email to all of the addresses of Syed's potential bosses from the website, highlighting what had happened. Come Saturday morning, I got a call from one of them saying that we could now see the apartment (so apparently it
wasn't taken???) on Sunday and that we would have first opportunity to rent it, because of our miscommunication.

We thought that although we were unhappy with their service, we would see it anyway as a point of reference to the other place we were going to take. So off we went and we almost wish we didn't because it was...
fantastic!!! The guy was an idiot, barely spoke English and you could tell he clearly wasn't happy to meet us after hours (don't know why though as it was only 4.30pm and he is Indian and not even fasting!!!) but it was a great location in Qurum, close to Qurum City Centre, CCC, Al Fair and Nandos (we are LOVING the Peri peri chicken & rice, so cheap!). It was 50 OMR cheaper per month than the other place (about AUS$150), clean, the right size and easy enough to get furniture in and out of...BUT
(and there is always a but) they wanted 12 months rent up front, since the rent was so cheap.

Going home to think about it we decided we would take it, pending Duma got his Residence Card the following morning (which thankfully he has now), so I rang Re-Zone properties and told them we want to sign the papers today and we will organise a bank checque. The convesation went as follows:

Me "Can I talk to someone about the Qurum 2bdrm apartment that we saw yesterday?"
Guy "Who you vant talk to?"
Me "The man who showed us the apartment yesterday told me to call Rizak? Is he there?"
Guy "Who are you, vat is your good name?"
Me "Delirious in the Rizak there?"
Guy "Yes"
Me "Well, can I talk to him as its important?"
Guy "Yes"
Me "Now?"
Guy "Yes, vat you want?"
Me "I want to speak with Rizak, is he free?"
Guy "Yes"
Me "Can I speak with him?"
Guy "I am him"
Me (slightly confused as to why he waited that long to say it was him "You are Rizak?"
Guy "Yes, vat is it?"
Me "Ok...well we want the apartment and can do the paperwork & pay today"
Rizak "Ok maam, ve vant full 12 months, 1 cheque not 2 or 4 or 5 "
Me "Yeah I know and like I said, we can do that today"
Rizak "But we cannot do now maam"
Me "Why not? We were told that given the 'miscommunication' with Syed, that we would have priority on this apartment"
Rizak "Yes but vat you vant me to do?"
Me "I want you to let us sign the papers and pay and move in ASAP!"
Rizak "So sorry I cannot do"
Me "Why not? Why did we go see it then?"
Rizak "Ve don't own it maam, belongs to the landlord"
Me "Yes...and that's why he gets you to lease the property for him no?"
Rizak "Yes"
Me "So why can't we have it now?"
Rizak "I think landlord talked to someone after you visit?"
Me "What??? Are you sure?"
Rizak "No"
Me "Then what are you saying? Can we have it or not?"
Rizak "I do not know. Vat you want me to do?"
Me (I should have told him to kiss my a$$) "I want to talk to your manager"
Rizak "I cannot do, 9am and noone is here"
Me "Well I want to speak to someone so give me their GSM and I will call them"
Rizak "I will call you by 10 o'clock"
Me "So you will call me back with an answer within 1 hr"
Rizak "Yes, vat is your good name?"

LOL!!! You have GOT to be kidding me right?

FYI - It is 10.23am and still no call back, so I'm going to call the office and give them a serve!
But...we still want that apartment lol!


  1. I was frustrated just reading this with the sh*t you have to go through to get an apartment

    Keep on trying you two and I hope it all works out

  2. Good luck! It's so hard here, especially during Ramadan. I moved here during Ramadan too and it was really difficult.

    I hope it all works out :)

  3. Cheers guys, sounds like we are all good to go with the initial one we liked and saw, I guess the other one just wasn't meant to be...

  4. EVERYTHING is harder during Ramadan...just try getting furniture delivered!!

    Good luck!