A Timeline of Getting Paperwork Signed in China: A Misadventure

A Timeline of Getting Paperwork Signed in China: A Misadventure www.onemorestamp.com

Contract Signing: A Timeline
8:00- emailing Housing Finance Officer to get confirmation about moving.
9:28- return email telling us that our landlord is too busy with the One Belt conference to let us know and that he will have to let us know on Wednesday.
9:29- I insist Housing Finance Officer nag until we get an answer.  Six weeks is more than enough time to decide.  
4:15 final confirmation that we have to move out of our current apartment.
4:20- We confirm with the agent that we want the apartment that we had looked at on Sunday.
4:25- Meeting set for 7:30 to sign contracts
7:29- We arrive and stand awkwardly outside as everyone is late.
7:45- The Agent (but not the one that showed us the place) arrives and informs us that we (not the landlord) are expected to pay his fee. 30 seconds before we are supposed to sign this contract for an apartment that works for us and that we will never be able to find again. Shady AF, yes. 
7:45- Landlady arrived
8:00- Chinese legalese as the contract is gone through line by line.  It is a standard contract from our school and the one from this year is pretty strict about the landlords throwing us out.  We get four months rent and our deposit back if they break the lease.  
8:15- I get them to agree to take out some of the random furniture.  We can also replace light fixtures. Score!
8:25- OMG we are still reading through this contract.
9:15- bizarre conversation about the days that the rent will be paid.  
9:30- Despite confirming a two-year lease the day before now the landlord wants one year.  Nope.  We argue and win.
9:25- Landladies husband arrives.  He is nice and speaks English.
9:33- bored
9:45- still filling out the details of the three copies
10:00- we finally sign the damn papers
10:15- awkward small talk
10:30- We can finally leave!

10:30- Agent texts that he has called Housing Finance Officer and that everything is okay
10:45- A meeting is arranged for 6:30
4:00- We get an email from Housing Finance Officer. Our agent had her put in an addendum which basically nulls the penalties for early termination of a lease. 
4:01- I am in the HR office waiting for the Housing Finance Officer.
4:07- She finally arrived, and I might have yelled at her.  Why would you change a contract after it has been signed!  Enraged.
4:10- Her boss pulls me into his office to go over the event
4:20- angry text to Agent.  Defensive text in response
4:30- still being soothed
4:40- more angry texts to Agent.  
4:45- realize that it was mean to yell and apologize. All is well.
4:45- The husband arrives and is soothed as well.
4:50- soothing unsuccessful
5:11-Do we still want the apartment? Everything and everybody looks shady.
5:15- taxi to the bank to pick up the deposit.  We will go to the meeting, and if it doesn't work out, we walk.
5:15- phone calls to friends to get advice. The consensus is that Agent is highly suspect.
6:30- meeting.  Pissed.
6:45- ridiculous conversation about the dreaded fapiao (China's tax stamp that rules everyone's life)
6:50- Landlord finally realizes that we are about to lose it and decides that the addendum does not have to be signed. Relief.
7:00- Keys are exchanged!
7:01- We are in possession of a deposit reciept!
7:07- Endless small talk that has to be done in mime.
7:20- Landlord agrees that I can replace couches.  Yay!
8:30- celebratory beer and burger.

10:30- I hand contracts into the Housing Finance Officer.
10:50- look for acceptable furniture online.
11:45- try to figure out how to physically move all of our stuff. There has to be a company for that, right?
7:00- pick up the extra sets of keys from Agent.

Next time on "Carsten and Tara have to Move."  Packing, Cleaning. Does this mattress belong to us? Dragging boxes up a hundred stairs and throwing money at our problems.