With the pandemic that does not seem to have an end date, it has become a real bother for many foreigners who have been regular visitors to this paradise isle to return as often as they used to.
Others have been stuck here for over a year and a half and most of them who lead a Bohemian lifestyle seem to be enjoying themselves in some part of the country, where people have rented a room for a pittance. With the converted dollar giving them a tidy sum, combined with their hippie lifestyle and the kind nature of our people, such visitors seem to have survived.
Companies that managed the properties insisted that a month’s rent be paid as a deposit for the address to be provided to him to check the place out. The condition was that if the visited property did not meet his requirement, he had to request for a refund on the deposit within 48 hours, which was returned after the deduction of a percentage for being provided the address and inspecting the premises.
As for those who own grand villas that were rented at a king’s ransom pre-pandemic, many of these villas have been put up for sale to recover the investment and the owners have decided to call it a day and return to their home countries. If you follow the property market you will notice the villas that are listed each day by local Realtors to flog at very princely prices.
A gentleman residing in Asia, due to his work and his regular visits to our paradise isle, managed to get across to Colombo a year back and found himself a comfortable abode at a very affordable price. Owing to the pandemic he opted not to stay in any of Colombo’s Hotels, which is what he used to do on his previous visits. Rather than living in centrally air-conditioned places, he thought it was the better choice to rent a home in the city. A year later because he had to vacate the rental, he began looking for a decent small place to live in. Naturally, he was unwilling to pay for the overly priced places that have been empty for over a year and are available. His search for a suitable place turned out to be a nightmare. On the internet he seemed to find many places that suited his budget. The photographs of the rentals were amazingly beautiful and the accompanying description equally so. Until he went to have a look at them. Companies that managed the properties insisted that a month’s rent be paid as a deposit for the address to be provided to him to check the place out. The condition was that if the visited property did not meet his requirement, he had to request for a refund on the deposit within 48 hours, which was returned after the deduction of a percentage for being provided the address and inspecting the premises. Eight such visits and all he found was a depleting bank account. It was unbelievable what he had been shown: garages converted to pokey living room, unventilated bedrooms and kitchens where instant noodles would have been the only preparation possible. Toilets and bathrooms that he was shown were beyond belief. All these properties are located in the high-end residential areas of Colombo. He was left with the feeling of being totally ripped off. Fortunately for him, a friend who had a house that was a guest house pre-pandemic times, offered him the entire place in keeping with his budget. Thus, the friend had the place occupied, which prevented the possibility of some squatters claiming ownership of the property, a nightmare to most house owners in this country, and my friend a comfortable place to live in.