Application letters are nerve-wracking, especially tenancy applications. Writing a half-page introduction that’s meant to persuade a person you’ve never met that you are equal parts capable and likable, is a nightmare to get right.
Because, up until recently, I was in the unfortunate situation of searching for an apartment in Amsterdam, I’ve had to write quite a few tenancy application letters. And because I’m tired of playing the balancing act of being both personable and respectable, I’m writing an honest one that more accurately reflects my thoughts on the subject.
Hi hopefully future landlady/landlord,
It feels weird writing to someone I’ve never met and being expected to introduce myself without knowing anything about you. It feels kind of unfair that you get to know everything about me and I get to know nothing about you. And yet, I’m still expected to give this whole spiel of why I deserve to pay your mortgage for you, only for you to possibly reject me without even an explanation of why you chose someone else over us, beyond their vibes being more of a match. See, if I knew you personally, I could mention the things that you’d like. I like a lot of things and we’re bound to have at least one of them in common so please, it’s only common courtesy that you’d help a girl out with a wishlist of requirements or list of interests or something.
All you need to know, really, is that I always pay my bills on time because I’m too nervous and overly-cautious to ever allow myself a late payment. That anxiety also extends to any paperwork or legalese. I’m correct about things to a fault, because the fear of accidentally doing anything illegal keeps me up at night. Not that there’s any track record that would substantiate this, my brain just likes to keep things exciting by plaguing me with irrational fear sometimes.
You also won’t have to worry about doing your landlord-ly duties unless the house caves in on itself. I hate confrontation, am known for never asking for help, and feel like everything is my fault, so if anything breaks, you can guarantee that I’ll fix it myself. My sense of responsibility brought on by misplaced feelings of excessive guilt and shame will make sure that your apartment is kept in tip-top shape.
Ok, ok, I guess I’ll tell you a little bit about me because that’s what’s required. The living situation, the jobs, the hobbies, all that. Although why it’s encouraged to include the last one is beyond me. You’re not planning on living with us and if I did have any potential un-neighborly hobbies like playing the drums, tapdancing at midnight, or screaming at the top of my lungs every morning due to the state of the world, I definitely wouldn’t share them with you anyways.
Don’t worry, I actually have quite boring hobbies. Growing up, I was the kid with her nose stuck in a book or the one doodling non-stop in class, and nothing’s changed since then. The most trouble you’d have because of me would be if the neighbors have sensitive noses and hate delicious cooking. I’ll probably tell you I love traveling, because it makes me sound more exciting, but really, I love being left alone at home more than anything else.
On to my living situation. I have a fiance, G, and he’d be the one living with me. Our story banks on getting people emotionally invested by saying we used to do long-distance and that he moved here for love, so I really hope you’re not one of those single people that hates hearing about happy couples. G and I are also international – we need to mention this because this letter is in English, not Dutch. While mentioning our sore lack of Dutchness, I can assure you that I am worrying about whether you’re one of those people that think expats and immigrants are taking over the city and that we should go back to our own country. Technically, I have four countries I could go “back” to, including this one, but it’s all a bit too complicated to explain and honestly, makes me sound anything but relatable, so I’ll forego that.
We also have two cats. When talking about my cats, usually I could go on for hours about them. If I knew you liked cats, I’d give you at least two or three paragraphs on them. But, because I’m not sure about your stance on them and I am aware they’re a divisive animal, I will refrain from telling you about my proto-children (yes, I am one of those). Instead, I’ll mention them briefly and joke about them being well-behaved. This last part is the only lie in this letter. My cats are dickheads because all cats are dickheads. That is why we love them.
To round off this introduction, let’s talk about work. Where G or I work is irrelevant to you. We do not have the type of impressive or fancy job that would impress someone’s parents. It is a boring office job with a vague title that sounds professional, but that doesn’t fully make sense to anyone outside of its sector. It is neither impressive in salary nor reputation. I have now learned that the latter also matters because in our last application we lost to a couple who were both doctors, because they were doctors. How were we supposed to beat that? Both of them healthcare workers during a pandemic? We never stood a chance. All you need to know is that I make enough to pay rent and afford the basics (and even some impulsive shopping on top of the basics). Also, I’m planning to stay employed for as long as possible, and it seems like my company has the same idea.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: why I want to live in this particular apartment. Here are the top 5 most compelling reasons I want to live in your apartment:
- I like having a home to live in. The idea of living in a home and not being homeless is very appealing to me.
- Your apartment is in the city I work and currently live in. I would like to continue working and living here. Also I am lazy and don’t feel like commuting, finding a new job, or making new friends anytime soon. I like the ones I have.
- Your apartment falls within my price range. I do not have a lot of money (see: lack of impressive fancy job above) and this city is expensive, so I am looking forward to being able to afford rent and food at the same time.
- Your apartment has a layout that feels like it was built with people’s daily needs in mind. It does not feel like it was designed by a chaotic 8-year-old in The Sims.
- Your apartment is available before I have to move out of my current apartment. See reason 1, re: avoiding homelessness.
All this to say: please let me live in your apartment. I’ll pay my bills on time, keep the place nice and tidy, and behave, I swear. Plus, the search is exhausting and I’m ready for it to be over.
Update since writing this after countless rejections: WE FOUND A NICE PLACE, Y’ALL!
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