“Satan and Saturn have been at it this past week.” — That is what I thought when the week of September 3rd 2018 came to an end and I found out on Twitter that Saturn’s retrograde was ending.
Never in my life, bar my mother’s passing, has my core been so challenged, so disturbed, so overturned…
I would never have expected the override of my comfortable reality. I was just about to be homeless in a foreign country and I was NOT ready.
I got conned. I got conned in the UK. I don’t know to what regard I had held the first world in, but one of the things that I did not expect was getting conned in London. It’s funny how, after I went through this whole ordeal, I found out that it is a more common occurrence than I thought and probably more common there than it is in Nairobi.
My student accommodation contract was coming to an end and I needed to find a new place to stay for the next 3 months. Since I was no longer considered a student, student accommodation was not an option. I needed to find a house or an apartment or something and rent a room.
I teamed up with one of my friends Nayim and we decided to find a house together, which we did. However, about two days before we were to move in, the agent let us know that the Landlord no longer wanted us living in his house. I couldn’t believe it. After the long process that we had gone through getting this place, I couldn’t imagine having to do it again for another place and in TWO DAYS!
Nayim and I set to work, we needed to find another place. We combed through websites upon websites to find accommodation but nothing in our budget was forthcoming. We then opted to go onto SpareRoom.com and try our luck. We found a place and an overly enthusiastic agent contacted us and asked us to pay him a visit at his office to show us the property and many more. Finally, something was looking up.
We paid the agent a visit at the Flintons offices on Bow common lane desperate to find a house, pay for it and move in as soon as we could. He was a bit busy when we walked in and we stood at the entrance of the office together with a number of other house seekers looking to find a place. It seemed like a busy morning and all agents were attending to someone or the other and had other clients waiting to see them. The dojo (I am using this word very lightly and out of context) seemed legit.
Finally it was our turn. We asked to see the house we had inquired about and unfortunately it was currently occupied but the current tenants were set to move out in two weeks. “We can give you another option for the two weeks and then you can move in to this place once the other tenant moves out.” The agent asserted that since both properties were being managed by Flintons, it would be easy for us to move into our preferred house. The deal seemed fair.
Just as we were about to go into the details, the agent informed us that he had another client but his colleague would be able to assist us. The first red flag.We moved over to agent no.2’s station and begun to look through the different options that we had for the two weeks before our dream house could come available.
Now, this new agent. His demeanour IMMEDIATELY unsettled my spirit. Slumped in his chair, eyes red and half mast (if you know, you know), slurrish and sluggish, something was off. I could feel it in my gut. The decision about making the payment took nearly an hour. I just wasn’t sure, but we were desperate. We went between chatting our parents, discussing amongst each other, texting Samantha (my good friend who was to move in with us as well) and personal internal debates. It didn’t help that the agent kept pushing us to pay saying that if we didn’t make a decision, someone else would take the house. He even directed our eyes to the first agent’s screen where he was displaying the SAME house to the clients he was attending to. The chances of losing that particular house were near 100% and nothing else we had seen up until that point called out to us. We had to decide and we had to decide NOW.
It seemed like we did not have a choice. We also had no time.
“Is it possible for us to see the house before we can make a decision?” — apparently we couldn’t. “It is so busy today and no one is available to do the viewing, maybe we schedule the viewing for Saturday when you move in and get the keys?” Red flag.
It didn’t seem right. Nevertheless we were the ones that were time bound. “Where do we sign?”