This is going to shock you, but it turns out the cost of renting in London is high. Really high.
When you compare rents in London to other spots in the UK, us Londoners look pretty silly. We’re paying £700 for a box room in a shared flat while people up north are getting entire three-bedroom homes for the same price.
It’s painful to look at the comparisons, but we have to do it. That’s the only way we can make sense of renting in the UK.
So our weekly series, What I Rent, looks inside people’s rented properties all over the nation, to take an honest look at what we’re getting for what we’re paying.
This week we’re with Nikki, 23, a freelance marketer living in Nottingham and renting a flat with her boyfriend.
Hey, Nikki! How much do you pay to live here?
Rent is £550 a month, which my boyfriend and I split – so £275 each.
I pay for my water, gas and electricity together at a flat monthly rate of £105.
And what do you get for what you pay?
My flat has one bedroom and one bathroom, which is en suite, plus a kitchen, living room, and balcony.
Do you think you have a good deal?
In some ways yes – my flat has some beautiful features such as a balcony and an en-suite bathroom, as well as being a really large and appealing space.
I also like that I don’t have to worry about how much electricity/water, etc I use per month as I know that I’ll be paying the same regardless. However, in summer, it can definitely feel a little steep to pay £105 for your gas bill!
How long have you lived here?
I’ve lived in this flat for around 18 months. Initially I moved into my flat alone, but my boyfriend moved in about six months ago.
Are you happy with the area?
My home is in the border of Mapperly and Nottingham City Centre, as I live about 10 minutes away from our largest shopping centre, Victoria Centre.
The area surrounding my flat is a great location, it’s so close to the city centre but it’s tucked away in a really quiet and safe little community.
Our balcony opens up into the trees, so we get to hear birds every morning and it fills the flat with so much natural lighting. It’s a really calm, peaceful space to live in.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
I honestly feel like we have more than enough space! The flat is a converted school building, meaning the rooms are pretty big with high beamed ceilings.
The small amount of furniture I originally moved in with seemed tiny at first, but I’ve gradually been able to fill it up.
How did you find this place?
After graduating from university and separating from my then boyfriend, I needed to move into my own flat and I was looking for somewhere close to my work to save money on the commute.
I looked around a couple of flats in Sherwood, but none of them felt right or they lacked character. I found this one and actually applied for it whilst stood in the kitchen on my first viewing. I loved the hardwood floors and bright open space and I knew I had to go for it!
How have you made the flat feel like home?
I think small touches like plants, prints and some of my own personal design style has helped to make my flat feel like home.
I wanted to create a really relaxing and serene place to live in as I also work from home a lot, meaning that I needed a creative space too.
I love having soft minimal decor and reed diffusers with my favourite scents in them to make the rooms smell fresh.
Plus, a lot of Ikea storage units also come in handy!
What’s it like living with your boyfriend?
I love it, I’ve honestly found it so much fun living with him. We’re incredibly similar meaning we usually have a similar approach to cleaning and keeping the flat tidy, and we each have certain tasks we prefer to do. He does the washing up, I do the drying!
We also have so much in common that we can spend hours just relaxing in the flat without feeling overwhelmed, eating dinner on the balcony or bingeing our favourite TV shows together. Plus it means I get to share the bills which is definitely an added bonus.
Are there any major issues with the house you have to put up with?
Only a couple – it would be nice to have a toilet in the main flat, so that when we have guests they don’t have to walk through our bedroom just to use the bathroom.
We also have quite bad water pressure, meaning that if someone else in the flat turns a tap on while you’re showering, you can be in for a bit of a cold shock.
Are you planning to move again?
We love living here, so hopefully we won’t be moving for a least another year. It’s perfectly situated for both of our jobs and it really does feel like our home.
I think the next time we move we’ll be looking for a house or at least a place with two bedrooms.
Have you considered buying a place?
It’s something we’d definitely be interested in, perhaps later down the line.
Being a freelancer, renting still feels like the safest option for me financially and I definitely feel too young to own a house right now.
When the time comes though, I think I would like to buy a place further out of the city – mainly because it should lower the costs, but also to find somewhere to really settle down.
Sounds dreamy. 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 in London.
How to get involved in What I Rent
What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places in London 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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