I’m currently looking for a new place to live here in London, having lived here for almost three years now, it’s safe to say I’ve done my fair share of moving around. From Golders Green to West Ham and places in between. I’m someone who likes change and I think as my rent will be put up even higher this year it’s time to move once again.
I’ve never seemed to have any luck with estate agents here in the capital, when I first moved here after graduating from university in Bristol I was quite naive and ended up turning up to places like Brick Lane and Hampstead expecting to view a property for £600 per month. Yet instead found myself stood up, the property never existed. I now have a better idea of what properties are realistic and what cowboy estate agents are trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Personally I find the rent here in London far too high, it’s pretty much extortion. But I guess with the attraction that the city has to so many of us, you’re always going to find people willing to pay eye wateringly high prices, after all competition for homes is rife here.
In addition to dodgy estate agents, I found myself in a rather unfortunate situation with flatmates too. I swear I’m cursed with property hunting. When I initially came to London I managed to stay with a live in landlady who was shady af. She only accepted the deposit in cash, never online (so there was no evidence that I ever paid her the money in her eyes, also she wouldn’t be taxed on it this way), I remember her also strictly enforcing that I had to deep clean the entire flat every week, if I failed to do so she would charge me a £20 fine each time. It’s not that I’m allergic to cleaning, I just don’t feel like I need to ‘deep’ clean weekly! Also I don;t know if this is legal but she said if I ever brought ‘visitors’ over she would charge me £15 per night! Hhahaa is she some pimp or seedy hotel owner? I never did bring anyone ‘over’ as she so vulgarly put it. The weirdest thing of all though was when I was awoken to the sounds of loud banging on my bedroom door one night, like after 11pm. I opened tn and to my surprise there were two men in leather coats speaking what sounded like an eastern european language. They asked me where the landlady was to which I distinctly remember her saying a few days prior that she was off for a few weeks ‘holiday’ (fitting timing). I told him this to which he replied ‘tell her I want my deposit back, I was the previous tenant of your room and she hasn’t given me my money back’. He then signalled to the apple mac which was on the table in the kitchen to which I said it wasn’t hers, it was another flatmates, which was true. He then told me that he would’ve taken it if it was hers as a result of her refraining from returning his deposit. The scary thing here was that he did not come alone, another man was with him and that he had cut keys to gain entry into the property. Let’s remember he wasn’t standing at the front door he was inside the property. Shortly after this occurrence I left the flat and ofcourse I never got my deposit back either. This is a thing you have to look out for when renting, dodgy landlords aswell as estate agents who can try and steal your deposits.
After this rather frightening encounter I moved in with workmates from a media company I initially worked for when moving to london. All was fine until one of the guys came back high on cocaine with a bunch of other guys and proceeded to tear up the living at 3am in the morning, I was so scared I literally barricaded myself in my room out of fear of not knowing what they’re intentions were whilst off their heads. I was the only female in the flat at the time of this. And certainly didn’t go back to sleep once they made their presence known in the living room next to my bedroom. So you can see where this is going, I moved again. I often think to myself are my expectations too high for housing situations here in London, personally I don’t believe so, I just want somewhere which isn’t the size of a matchbox or has less light than a cave. Equally so if the flatmates weren’t trying to steal my money or peel the skin off their own faces while overdosing on class-A drugs then that would be a nice thing too. Not asking for much you know.
So on I go in my search for a new apartment, I’m a a seasoned veteran at flat hunting now, which is both a good and bad thing I guess. I hope you’ve never had to experience any of the things I did above, and that you’re home hunting has been smooth sailing. I think it’s time to get back on with the hunt then …wish me luck please, I’ll need it!!!!!
**If you ever need advice on some recommended places to live here just let me know! I’ve learned it the hard way hahah!