Turkiye has little to offer a young person these days, so Daughter has decided to move permanently back to Australia. She will stay with my brother for a few weeks before renting somewhere with friends. While I am sad that she will be leaving, I know it’s the right thing for her to do (and now I have an excuse to visit more often).
With her leaving, I don’t need to rent this massive apartment in the city when I have my village home. So last September, I notified my tenants that they were to move out. September became October, and before you could even say slower than a herd of snails travelling through peanut butter, it was Christmas, and they “still hadn’t found anywhere suitable”.
FYI we gave notice to our tenants following Turkish law. We went to the noter and completed the necessary forms and had them served by the PTT (postal service), all above board.
I might mention at this point that rentals in Mersin are crazy expensive. I’m talking Istanbul expensive. Last September, an apartment in the complex I live in rented for 15000TL a month!! Of course, my owner wanted me to pay the same amount, but I pointed out that I have a lease and am not even paying another kurus more than I need to.
Why are rents so high, you might wonder?
Mersin was always an affordable city, and many people moved here because of this. It wasn’t as expensive as Istanbul or Izmir and offered great value for money coupled with an outstanding quality of living however, in the past two years, renting or buying a home was becoming unaffordable for even an average family. A large number of refugees from Syria settled in Mersin. And then, when the war broke out in Ukraine, we had a new influx of yabancilar arriving to start their lives over. With these new (and more affluent families) coming, rents and sale prices skyrocketed.
Anyway, back to the problem at hand – my tenants.
January came and went. And then it was February… and the earthquakes struck.
Mersin’s population has increased nearly 30% in the past five weeks. Literally hours after the earthquakes unscrupulous owners and landlords latched onto the desperate need for properties, doubling or sometimes even tripling their asking prices. Disgusting behaviour by genuinely awful human beings. Rubbing their hands in glee at other people’s misfortunes.
The city of Mersin and its Mersin-ites truly stepped up after the earthquakes. The average citizen opened their homes and hearts, giving all they could to help. My SIL, Songul, has had a family of four (and their two prissy cats) staying with her since the earthquakes. She is now the guardian of her cousin’s daughter, the only survivor of her family from Hatay.
Another BIL has converted his empty shop into a home with 10 people living there.
These are the stories of how people with almost nothing still do everything they can to help others in need until they are back on their feet.
But to get back on their feet, they need somewhere to live.
One-bedroom apartments in Mersin are now 12000TL a month.
Two-bedders will set you back $16-20K a month.
If you want to rent a house rather than an apartment, you are looking at paying even more!
And it’s not just in the city. Villages outside of the city are looking at massive rental increases. Houses that could be rented for 5000TL in the mountains are now 155000TL a year!
My tenants are stuck. They cannot afford to rent even a one-bedroom unit.
And I feel just awful about this whole mess.
I have already given notice, so I need to move out. My landlord is chomping at the bit that he can rent this place to someone else for 4 or 5 times what I am paying.
But I really need somewhere to go.
I can’t throw my tenants out on the street.
And I can’t live with The Turk because there is a very real possibility that we will kill each other.
I’ve told my landlord I need to stay a little longer, maybe until June. He is not a happy camper, but I don’t really care. I’m still legally within my rights to stay where I am (I think). And with summer just around the corner, I might get a few more swims in the swimming pool when it opens.
Mersin Belediye has notified property owners that putting the rents up is unconscionable, and tenants can dibby-dob on their landlords if rental increases happen. Will this make a difference? It doesn’t appear so, but I guess time will tell.
Did you know that Janey in Mersin was named one of the Top 20 expat blogs in Türkiye by Feedspot? Ch-ch-check it out here!