Tag Archives: apartments

The Cycle of Chinese Apartment Maintenance

After only 2 years in China, I’ve spent more time dealing with apartment repair issues than in my 10 years of renting in the US, and I lived in some really dumpy places.

So far in our current apartment, the best story involves the landlord interrupting a conversation with to tell the person I was talking to (a plumber) that I didn’t speak Chinese (the whole conversation was in Chinese). I tell people that living in China is an adventure: sometimes the adventure involves mountains or monks or tribes and real craziness, sometimes the adventure is getting the pipes fixed.

Jill, a friend of my sister in law, just moved to Beijing, and is experiencing a lot of this for the first time. I sent her my Cycle of Chinese Apartment Maintenance:

  1. Problem is identified
  2. Problem ceases when the Shifu or Landlord comes to see it.
  3. Problem occurs when the Shifu or Landlord comes to see it, but they deny it is a problem.
  4. Problem persists until wildly dangerous.
  5. Threats and arguments between tenant and landlord, then landlord and shifu, then shifu and mobile phone.
  6. Shifu fails to arrive when scheduled.
  7. Shifu fails to arrive when scheduled.
  8. Shifu fails to arrive when scheduled.
  9. (repeat 2-8 at least once)…
  10. problem is fixed.
  11. Problem returns. (back to #2)

If this list resonates with you, I invite you to share your worst repair story in the comments (or on your own blog, of course). Let’s get the worst of the worst! I’ll share mine in a later post.