About searching and (not) finding

By Sarah RaparoliMisch PautschLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

With each new rejection, finding a flat seems to become more of a wild goose chase. The Lëtzebuerger Journal spoke to people who feel the same way. They tell us where they stand at the moment, why it hasn't worked out so far and why they still can't afford to give up.

"Where do I start?" replies Jana (name changed by the editors) as we sit down on a terrace of a café in the capital. It's another hot summer day. The sky is blue, the sun has come to stay. Jana is friendly, but annoyed. Or rather exhausted. You can tell by the look on her face that the last few months must have been nerve-wracking. "It's frustrating. I just had phone calls about two more flats. To no avail." The 39-year-old lives with her husband and twins in Bartringen in a three-room flat with a terrace. "The flat belongs to my mother. But that doesn't mean we live there for free. We pay rent. My mother also has a mortgage that she has to pay back."

It had been a temporary solution when Jana came back to Luxembourg after a few months abroad. "Then I got pregnant and Corona took its course. And now we still live there." She has been actively looking for a new flat for six or seven months. There are many reasons for moving, she says. "I love my mother, but living with your parents … everyone knows it's not a long-term solution." The location of the flat on a busy main road and the flat being too small for a family of four, Jana says, are other decisive reasons.

"Luxembourgers who have inherited"

Jana and her husband would actually like to buy a house. "But at the moment this is not possible", she says. "We went to the bank to inquire. In the end, we didn't have the necessary equity to borrow enough money." She says she asked the agent who could afford to buy a house these days. "He replied, 'Luxembourgers who have inherited.' And that's exactly what I keep hearing. Either you are wealthy, you have inherited, or your parents or grandparents can contribute enough or buy something. It doesn't seem possible any other way any more."

She describes the classic path in Luxembourg as follows: "You come from university and you already have a flat waiting for you ‒ to put it bluntly. But that's not the case for everyone. Not for us either." She reflects for a moment. "I feel like you're being punished for your life choices. So if you didn't do it the way it's expected, you have to rent until you're 80 years old." She gives another example: "Shared flats are a great option. However, for me with a husband and children, it is not an option."

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