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Old Dec 12, 04, 12:37 am   #1
 
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Do Germans mean to be rude?

Do Germans mean to be rude or is something lost in the translation? I want to rent a house in Germany for a month. I called the owners and they told me the house was still available. The owner said if he knew me as a friend he would rent the house to me immediately but because I'm a foreigner he is afraid. He said it's a big risk. He told me I'd be gaining but he wouldn't be gaining anything by renting the house to me even though it'd be prepaid with a credit card. I don't understand, he's got the house advertised, I'm ready, willing and able... His exact words, "If I would know you as a friend I would do it right now,, but because you are a foreigner I'm afraid". Maybe Americans don't have a good reputation in the rental industry

I should add that his English excellent. This isn't the first time I've heard things phrased quite coarsely by Germans who speak perfect English. Swiss Germans and Austrians tend not to phrase things so harshly, maybe it's my imagination.
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Old Dec 12, 04, 12:44 am   #2
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When I learned German, I understood much more clearly why Germans often sound rude when speaking English. I believe it is unintentional and more of a translation issue.

Now why he would advertise a house for rent, but not rent it to you, I don't know. I've rented lots of houses in various parts of the world and most often the owners have told me that more than 50 percent of their customers are from the U.S.
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Old Dec 12, 04, 1:39 am   #3
 
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Sorry you had a bad experience in germany. I am german and I can assure you that renting houses in germany is usually difficult and often rude, even if youīre a local. Every single time I was trying to rent an apartment or something it was more or less a bad experience. Some Owners are grilling the people that are interested just to make sure.
I donīt understand it. Maybe itīs typical german, maybe itīs not, I never tried to rent a apartment outside Germany.

Please be aware that credit cards are not common in germany for renting. Often we use bank guarantees or even some months pre-payment to calm down the owners.

Maybe you want to ask a local (or international) agent for help (but they want to get paid too, usually the equal to 3-months rent).

Again, sorry you had a bad experience, Iīm sure you get to like those germans once youīre here...
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Old Dec 12, 04, 1:59 am   #4
 
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I assume your question is rhetorical? Have you tried to rent in NYC lately? In a desirable location anyway ...
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Old Dec 12, 04, 2:24 am   #5
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I was surprised by the subject -- in my travels I have generally found Germans to be among the most polite people I have met. True, they are often cool and formal, but I think that somehow is a partner of courtesy everywhere.

If you want rude, try France or Italy. If you want something in between Germany and Italy, the US is your answer. But remember -- the more courtesy you get the less personal involvement you will find.

For super rude, nobody can beat the Israelis. On my first flight here, my seatmate asked me what I do for a living and I told him I was a journalist. The next words out of his mouth?

"Really? How much do you earn -- net?"

I couldn't believe a complete stranger would ask me that, but I soon found that it is not at all unusual here.

On the other hand, when people find out I am divorced they immediately start suggesting friends and relatives I might be interested in dating.

Perhaps this is slightly off the topic, but I always recall with amusement what happened when I arrived here. The woman (about my age) who was checking passports and visas must have had a particularly bad day (or month) and was being obnoxious to everyone. The line was delayed and backed up as she took her time doing her job, questioning people, and making everybody miserable.

When it was my turn, she saw I had a visa for a new immigrant and asked me what my profession was. I told her. She then asked me my marital status and I said "Single."

Her entire demeanor changed in a flash! She suddenly became warm and pleasant. Although it was not at all part of her job, she insisted on personally escorting me to the office in the airport where new immigrants are received. She walked out of her booth (leaving all those people still waiting in line) to do this.

When we go to the office door, she told me that immigrants sometimes have problems getting adjusted and I should feel free to call her for any help -- and then wrote down her name and telephone number.

Needless to say, she was not sporting a wedding ring.
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Old Dec 12, 04, 7:11 am   #6
 
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Sorry to hear about your expereince!
I am German myself but have lived outside Germany many years and so I guess I have experienced Germans both as German and as an "outsider".
To Germans (being rather general here..there are always exceptions) their house is a very special (almost sacred) place, often passed on from a previous generation. Germans do not move house as easily as perhaps people in the USA might do because of their attachment to the house. Perhaps because of this attachment the person offering the house might be very concerned/picky about who they will rent their home to. Don't take it personally...they might have been just as nervous or rude to a local.
On the other hand, when I rented an appartment in Washington DC some time ago they application form required me to disclose my financial situation, my race (skin colour), religion, sexual orientation etc. Now that was something else!
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Old Dec 12, 04, 9:37 am   #7
 
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We moved to Germany for a 1 1/2yrs. while my husband worked there and I learned that often Germans come across a bit different than what we might be use to in the US. I think it is matter of just getting to know them. I was lucky that I spoke fluent German so it did not take me long to blend in and make friends. Finding a place to live was very difficult for us as well though. What worked best for us is actually getting there and just going through the newspaper ads. Also, I bet if you showed up at his door and he was able to see you face to face he would change his mind. We rented a place in Kelkheim and I loved that area as well as Bad Soden. Dont' give up and good luck!
Julie
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Old Dec 12, 04, 11:25 am   #8
 
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Having spent much of the past year listening to Germans shouting "that is unnaceptable" (German engineers can be fun to deal with) and Dutch people saying "That is not possible" (do a search on that term on the KLM forum ) I can assure you that much gets lost in the translation (including an awful lot of humour until you get to know them a bit better). I've been lucky to spend a lot of time in Bavaria this year where the people seem a little warmer than those further north.

Regards
I
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Old Dec 12, 04, 1:35 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Internaut
....Dutch people saying "That is not possible"
I

I'll never forget the taxi ride I got from AMS to my hotel a few years ago. The driver was clearly taking advantage of it being my first visit there and had bumped the price. When I asked him about the difference between what I had been told would be typical price to my destination and what he was charging his response was "that is not possible, that is just not possible." For some reason the phrase has stuck in my head.
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Old Dec 12, 04, 2:02 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewatersail
His exact words, "If I would know you as a friend I would do it right now,, but because you are a foreigner I'm afraid". Maybe Americans don't have a good reputation in the rental industry ...
Rude ...?!? He just didn't want to rent the house to a foreigner ... Try another rental place
BTW, where did you want to rent?
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Old Dec 12, 04, 2:32 pm   #11
 
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It works the same the other way around. Dutch waiters are often insulted by the way Americans order things: "Gimme..." or "I want...." is considered VERY rude in Dutch but apparently normal in the US. (the polite way here is "can I please have a ..." or "could you please give me a ....")
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Old Dec 12, 04, 4:01 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Internaut
Having spent much of the past year listening to Germans shouting "that is unnaceptable" (German engineers can be fun to deal with) and Dutch people saying "That is not possible" (do a search on that term on the KLM forum ) I can assure you that much gets lost in the translation (including an awful lot of humour until you get to know them a bit better). I've been lucky to spend a lot of time in Bavaria this year where the people seem a little warmer than those further north.

Regards
I
This is dead-on accurate. And now, when I hear it from the crabs who staff the KLM lounge I just snicker. I don't think they intend to be rude, they are simply being accurate they they cannot do what you are asking.

I have come to accept that Germans and Dutch simply won't be as open (as I am used to) with their assistance to a customer or stranger. It helps to have friends who are natives in these countries to help navigate some of the logistics.
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Old Dec 13, 04, 3:52 pm   #13
 
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Germans are generally very direct people. If they don't want to rent to a foreigner for whatever reason, they may say so. In the U.S., landlords would worry someone might sue them if they spoke out that they don't want to rent to a foreigner, so they may pleasantly smile and lie and just say "sorry, the place has already been rented, have a nice day."

I'll take the former, thanks. It is refreshing. Of course if there were an overabundance of rental units (which there still is not in most parts of Germany where Americans might want to live), they might rethink their dislike of foreigners.
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Old Dec 13, 04, 4:21 pm   #14
 
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It most likely has to do with the German laws regarding renting of property. The renter has any number of rights, including the right to continue occupying a property even if they have defaulted on paying rent. Once rented, it is virtually impossible to evict a renter. According to some of the articles in the German press, it can take years! The situation has gotten worse in recent years, with a sluggish economy, high unemployment and reductions in social services. Offering him a high deposit, or proving that you are maintaining a home whereever you are from may help the process along. If he knows you have friends, family or a job to return to, he is less likely to see you as a squatter than as a nice temporary source of additional income.
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Old Dec 13, 04, 4:29 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nordic1
It most likely has to do with the German laws regarding renting of property. The renter has any number of rights, including the right to continue occupying a property even if they have defaulted on paying rent. Once rented, it is virtually impossible to evict a renter. According to some of the articles in the German press, it can take years! The situation has gotten worse in recent years, with a sluggish economy, high unemployment and reductions in social services. Offering him a high deposit, or proving that you are maintaining a home whereever you are from may help the process along. If he knows you have friends, family or a job to return to, he is less likely to see you as a squatter than as a nice temporary source of additional income.
Ding ding we have a winner...this is the right explanation.
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