What’s it actually like to rent in the UK and beyond? Our series, What I Rent, aims to explore exactly that.
Each week we chat with a different renter and take a look around their home.
From the overpriced studios to the rundown Victorian homes, we want to take an honest look at the reality of renting.
This time around we’re chatting with Alice, 30, a speech and language therapist specialising in deafness.
Alice is originally from Kent and moved to London six years ago. She now rents a flat in Muswell Hill, north London, with her partner, Aiden, and their kitten, Nina.
Hi, Alice! How much do you and Aiden pay to live here?
We pay £1,400 per month in rent, and then all bills come in at approx. £300 per month (council tax, gas, electric, water, wifi).
What do you get for what you pay?
We live in a two-bedroom flat with one bathroom. We consider ourselves quite lucky in London to live in a two-bedroom flat. We use the second bedroom as an office/spare room.
Do you think you have a good deal?
Definitely! We don’t have a garden, but we are a stone’s throw from Alexandra Palace, so we always have access to some green space. It’s also great when you want to go to a gig or watch the fireworks there!
Do you like the area?
Our flat is based in Muswell Hill, north London. We really love this area as it’s got an almost village feel to it. It’s a great place relax at the weekends.
I lived in south London for three years, then thought I’d venture to north London and see what it’s like on ‘the other side of the river’.
How did you find the flat?
Through a local estate agent. We’d been to see a couple of properties which didn’t have that homely feel, but as soon as we walked into this flat we gave each other ‘the look’ and we signed the contract after the viewing.
How have you made this place feel like home?
Wallpaper, rugs, pictures, cushions, plants, wall stickers and a bucket load of white tack and washi tape! Our flat interior seems to be ever evolving.
Since moving in, I’ve been tackling one room at a time to make it more ‘us’ and less magnolia. We now even have an Instagram page to show off how we’ve decorated our rented home (check it out @thelittlemuswellrental).
I’m sure the décor is not to everyone’s taste, but we love how eclectic it is.
Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?
Initially, but once you start looking there are so many ways to make a rented flat your own without painting/modifications.
Our landlady thinks it’s great we’re making it our own. She appreciates that we’ve made everything removable though!
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Yes, we do. When we were looking we said it definitely had to have two bedrooms/an office so we didn’t need to work in the living room when working from home. It’s come in handy during the lockdown!
The bedrooms also have huge built-in wardrobes, which is lucky as I have many clothes!
Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with?
Not really. The flat is really bright and airy. The only thing we’d change is for the bathroom to have a window.
Do you have plans to move again?
Not currently, we’ve just signed up for another year! If and when we do move, it will hopefully be to a place of our own.
Do you want to own a place some day or are you happy to rent?
We’d love to own a place some day, but saving is difficult when living and working in London. At the moment we’re happy to rent, enjoy what have and the rest will take care of itself.
A very zen outlook. 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 another nose around a 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 take pictures of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your bedroom or living area.
Make sure you get permission from your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.
We’re not just after the prettiest places out there, by the way. We want the reality of renting, so if you’re currently renting a place you hate, we’d love to see that too (and sympathise greatly!).