What I Rent: Carmel, £650 a month for a four-bedroom house in Clackmannanshire

Once again, Londoners, we are so sorry.

Our weekly series What I Rent takes you inside people’s rented homes around the UK (and sometimes further afield) to take an honest look at the state of renting – from the one-bedroom flats in Chelsea that cost £2,230 a month to the bargain £550 a month flats in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

This time around we’re in Clackmannanshire, in Scotland, with a house that’s so cheap it’ll make all city-dwellers feel rubbish for how much rent they pay.

Carmel is a mum-of-two who rents a four-bedroom house in the town of Tillicoultry, for just £650 a month.

Yes, £650 a month, total. For a proper house with four bedrooms and a garden.

Let us weep.

Hi, Carmel! How much do you pay to live here?

Rent is £650 per month, bills are £270 per month. Council tax is the biggest part of these at £177 per month. We pay as we go with a smart meter. Then it’s just the TV license and Sky.

And what do you get for what you pay? 

Four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large kitchen/diner, a utility room, and a living room.

Do you think you have a good deal?

Absolutely. Our rent has never gone up since we moved in. Looking at similar properties to let now local to where we are, We would never get a house like ours for less than about £1,000 per month.

Whereabouts is your home? 

Central Scotland. It’s a village along the Hillfoots in Clackmannanshire called Tillicoultry.

Our home is also right between Glasgow and Edinburgh so it’s an easy commute. But it’s also very rural because of the hills all around us.

The only time I have ever been delayed on the road to work is when there are sheep or swans in my way! A bit different to being stuck in a traffic jam in a city.

How did you find the house? 

We will have been here for nine years next April. We found it by chance. My landlady was a work colleague and she posted on our works electronic notice board that it was available.

The previous house we were in was not ideal (I actually hated it). So we snapped at the chance to rent it… Best move ever!

Are you happy where you live? 

I love the area. It’s right in the middle of the Ochil Hills and its a lovely village community. My landlady is amazing too and we have free reign to change whatever we want with the decor. We have made our home personal to us as a family.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

We do. It’s actually a really big house.

How have you made the house feel like home?

From day one it has always felt like our home. We put our own stamp on it. It’s more about the family in it, though, and the memories we have made. It’s been a very happy home and still is.

And you have a new dog! Have you had to make any adjustments to the house for her?

We thought we would but apart from her bed (which she never sleeps in… she sleeps with us) she has slotted in like a pro. She has been a dream to train. She is great for going outside in the garden. She has the run of the whole house now. We can’t imagine a time when she wasn’t a part of our wee family.

Are there any issues with the house you have to put up with?

Absolutely none. Our landlady is amazing if anything goes wrong and gets it sorted immediately. She even sends us a lovely Christmas bouquet every year with a card addressed to the best tenants ever… Cute!

Do you have plans to move again? 

We are realistic in that we know a time will come when we may have to move if the landlady decides to sell the place.

I also know we should maybe downsize as our children are living away from home now. We have three spare rooms!

But we love living here and will stay as long as we can. We would probably look at something smaller if we had to.

Have you thought about buying a place?

Up until the last 10 years we always owned our own properties. During the recession we had financial difficulties and decided to sell up and rent for a while. We have never looked back.

There is so much pressure when you own your own home… maintenance and repairs, etc.

I bask in the fact that if anything goes wrong, I just need to make a call and it’s magically put right at no extra expense to me. We are thinking of moving back to my old home in Ireland when we retire so we may buy a small place then. But right now, renting is perfect for us.

And when you can rent a four-bed house for £650 a month, why on earth wouldn’t you? Shall we have a look around?






























What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property.

How to get involved in What I Rent

What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what’s normal and how much we should be paying.

If you fancy taking part, please email [email protected]

You’ll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!

You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.

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