Dr. Darling and I have been dreaming about moving into a larger apartment (and out from under the hateful eye of Cruella DeVille) for as long as I’ve lived here, but until my job became permanent, we figured there was no building owner in Sweden who would be willing to sign a lease with us.
Still, we went ahead and registered with the agency that manages all the city-own apartments in Malmö because its website states very clearly that employment status is not a factor in determining who is given the opportunity to rent from them. We listed Dr. Darling (the native Swede and PhD) first in the online form because we thought her ethnicity and education level would not raise any red flags with the selection committee. And since her employment status allegedly didn’t matter, this seemed like the right way to go. My information (employed but an immigrant) was listed second as the co-applicant.
After a year of signing up for apartments we were interested in and not getting a single invitation to even look at one, we decided to delete our account on their website and re-register over Christmas … the only difference being that we listed me, the employed immigrant, first, and Dr. Darling, the unemployed PhD in Molecular Medicine, as the co-applicant. We then continued to indicate our interest in various apartments .. .in fact, we have even occasionally sign up for flats that don’t really meet our needs because, what the hell, we were never going to get an invite to rent them anyway.
So imagine our shock when I got an e-mail yesterday saying that we have been selected to view an apartment in a neighborhood we have long lusted to live in. Unfortunately it also happens to be one of those “what the hell” apartments that has a couple strikes against it, but we feel as though we’ve GOT to go see it just because we’ve never made it this far in the process before.
So it’s not hard to conclude that switching my information from the co-applicant to the applicant section of the company’s online form made a difference in our status as potential tenants. Nothing else about our profile has changed … including our total household income.
I understand there are lots of good reasons why employment status matters to the rental agency when considering a new tenant, but if that’s the case they shouldn’t advertise that it doesn’t.