Each week we take a look around a different person’s rented property and chat to them about their experiences in the world of renting.
This time we’re hanging out with Fleur, 23, a retail and admissions supervisor at a museum, and her partner Leila, 24, who works as a head waiter at a restaurant as well as a professional pole performer and instructor.
The couple are both born and raised South Londoners and have been together for five years, got engaged in November 2019, and moved into a one-bedroom flat in Anerley, London, a year or so ago.
They share how they’ve made the flat their own on a shared Instagram account, casa_de_modelei.
We chatted with Fleur about what it’s like to live here and how they’ve turned an unfurnished flat into a home.
Hey, Fleur! How much do you both pay to live here?
Our rent is £1,050 a month in total, which we split, and bills total to about £210 a month, including council tax.
What do you get for what you pay?
Our flat has a living room, a separate kitchen, one bathroom and one bedroom. It was really important to us to have a separate kitchen and a bathroom with a bath in it.
Do you think you have a good deal?
Yeah I’d say we’ve got a pretty good deal. The flat was completely refurbished just before we moved in, meaning we had a brand new bathroom and kitchen, including the white goods and all rooms had been redecorated with new flooring.
We also live really close to a station and have a bus stop just outside so the transport links couldn’t really get any better!
How did you find the flat?
We found it the first day we decided to go flat hunting. We found it on Rightmove and viewed it later that day and signed for it the day after. Because it was empty we moved in about a week later, which was really lucky.
Do you like the area?
Our flat is in Anerley, near Crystal Palace and Penge. We’re really happy here, mainly because unlike surrounding areas, Anerley hasn’t been hit by too much gentrification and it’s about in the middle between each of our families.
How have you made this place feel like home?
Luckily the flat was unfurnished so it’s been pretty easy to put our stamp on it.
When we first moved in we burned sage to clear previous energies from the space and burned incense to bring in energies that reflect our own personalities.
We also meticulously chose the furniture that we wanted and had saved for while before moving so that we could afford it. We furnished the place with furniture we’d found on the street and upcycled when living with my parents to give it our own stamp.
A lot of our furniture is from junk shops too, I think things feel more homely when they’re a bit lived in, rather than new and shiny.
We’ve also put a lot of photos up on the walls and a lot of the art that we have on the walls is done by our friends, which makes it feel so much more familiar and homely.
Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?
Luckily our landlord is quite laid back in terms of us decorating. He’s a builder by trade so is happy to put shelves up for us and is happy for us to put things up on the walls as long as it’s put up properly and rectified at the end of our tenancy.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
All the rooms in our flat are very spacious but there’s not much built in storage, which can be tricky. Luckily my parents live pretty locally and let us store things at theirs – obviously within reason – so it’s not the end of the world.
We have two large cupboards in our hallway which is where the vacuum etc lives but some more storage in the living room, such as shelves, would be handy. We love ceramics so have them dotted around but we really want somewhere to properly put them on show.
Our bedroom is enormous, so we’ve been able to put a huge wardrobe in there that easily accommodates all of our clothes. The only things we struggle to store is actually shoes, Leila’s pole equipment, and small miscellaneous things that don’t really have a place.
In terms of space, I think the only thing we really miss is having outdoor space. We would love to have a balcony or garden but for now we’re filling our house with plants to bring the outside in and make up for that.
Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with?
Not really, to be honest. We’ve had a couple of issues, like our intercom stopped working and the upstairs neighbour flooded our bathroom, which short-circuited our lights, but our landlord cares a lot about the property and is very efficient in terms of maintenance. Because he’s a builder, most of the time he can fix it himself so it’s sorted really quickly which is great.
Occasionally when we use the washing machine our bathroom gets a strange smell from standing water but it fades quickly.
I’d say our main problem is that because our flat is located so close to a train line, we get kept awake when they do railway and station maintenance. Most of the time we get a heads up letter about it a few days in advance but National Rail have been slacking with that lately.
Do you have plans to move again any time soon?
No immediate plans. Obviously it’s a one bedder so if we wanted to start a family we’d probably move to a bigger place but that’s a way off and for now this place is perfect for us.
Do you want to own a place or are you happy to rent?
Yeah we’d like to own somewhere someday. Owning somewhere just provides that security that you can’t really get in renting. A landlord can sell the property or put the rent up but you’re never really put in that position if you own your own place and keep up the mortgage payments.
Plus, owning somewhere also gives you the freedom to do what you want with it. It’s our dream to do up a ramshackle house with an overgrown garden and restore it to its former glory.
Honestly, same. That 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 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!).