First Time Renting in London | My Experience

This time last year, on a beautiful sunny day in August, I was viewing the flat I lived in for almost a year. What seemed to be a dreamy pad in Camberwell, (a desirable hotspot in South East London) soon turned into an absolute nightmare and I couldn’t wait to get out.

Living in London is pricey, and by pricey I mean, £1,200 + bills per month for a small 1 bed flat on the border of zone 2 and zone 3 is pretty…normal. Cheap in fact. Here’s a quick comparison, I have friends out of London who were paying a quarter of my rent for a whole house with a garden.

But I get it; a desirable location and speedy public transport on your doorstep meaning you can get to Central London in less than half an hour. Not to mention, you’ve ended up being lucky enough to live in one of the most expensive and important capital cities in the world, in the first place.

Rewind to last year, I was stressed af about finding somewhere to live, I was too late to re-apply for halls of residence and the two other people I had planned to live with were wasting my time. So when I walked into the sun-filled (see below,) top floor flat in a Victorian house on a leafy road in Camberwell, I knew we couldn’t find anything better than this to move into at such short notice. So we took it.

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We moved in within the next month and alarm bells rung immediately. I was told when viewing the flat that it had recently been ‘refurbished’ – basically meaning they had covered up everything wrong with the flat with a lick of cheap white paint. On moving day, the landlord was 2 hours late to meet us and he couldn’t wait to leave again. When I asked about signing a contract, he assured me he would bring it round the next day. we’ve since moved out and he never brought it round – I must have contacted him 1000 times.

I really tried to settle into the flat and don’t get me wrong, some of the Victorian features still remained and added a real charm to the place, such as the original stairs and windows. Particularly beautiful at sunset. Not so beautiful when it’s December and the windows are shaking in the cold and rain and the bedroom ceiling is practically falling down. No joke, the heating was so crap that I had to blow-dry my sheets before getting into them and I’d wear 2 layers of pyjamas and a dressing grown to bed (sexy!) and I’d still wake up shivering 3 times a night.

Oh the winter…it was long and it was shit. Very quickly I was finding everything wrong with the flat from a broken fridge that didn’t stick to temperature, to mice residing behind my toaster and by far the worst thing, (maybe equal to the bedroom ceiling…probably worse) – one day I was losing my shit stressing out about problems in the flat,  I reached for the fire alarm and carbon monoxide alarm and saw that they had been installed and stuck on the wall WITHOUT batteries in. A top floor flat in a old house, full of young people that smoke inside. With windows that don’t open properly. You get the gist. Furious was an understatement.

I kept ringing the number the landlord provided me with and eventually got through to some half-arsed, frankly irritating, secretary who finally sent someone round to put batteries in. Thanks, not like I couldn’t have done that myself!

The ceiling continued to drive me insane for the entire year and I couldn’t actually believe that the landlord had the audacity to keep sending round the same old dodgy painter to quite literally cover up the cracks. The ceiling was bowed and the white paint was now brown. Every time it rained, water would literally stream down the walls and through the roof into all the saucepans and mop buckets I had spread out everywhere. It was like this for months. Don’t forget the rent for this shit was £1,200 a month.

It became quite clear that the landlord couldn’t give a fffff about our wellbeing, of course he didn’t. He’s only interested in taking our money. He was extremely LAZY, UNPROFESSIONAL and just a bit of a dick. A huge lesson, I won’t forget.

We decided to stop paying rent and to find a new place to move into ASAP. Seeing as we didn’t sign a contract we decided to just screw the landlord, like he’d been screwing us. And that’s exactly what we’ve done. At the time of publishing this post, we have happily moved on to greener pastures and I’m so so much happier here!

Come back soon to read about my new house,

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to sign a contract! L o L

A x

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