The epic saga with my former landlady is still going. To sum up: Back in July, she asked me to leave the flat ASAP in order to rent it out to a foreign student she had in mind, at a higher rate for a short term let. When I left as she asked, she refused to return my deposit, claiming I’d breached the tenancy agreement by leaving early. My solicitor sent her solicitor a letter telling her to pay up or we go to small claims (and she’d be fined 3x the deposit amount). That deadline was last Thursday and I’m getting bored of giving her all this leeway. The good news is that if she doesn’t return my money and we go to court, she’s broken the law and the fine she pays me will be spent on my second ever holiday (the first was a family holiday to Portugal when I was nine). Or a really massive TV to go with the XBox I’d also buy. And a truckload of Ferrero Rochers.
In the meantime, I’m stockpiling any money I have so I can move back out from my grandparents place. As much as I love them, I am big enough and ugly enough to get a place of my own (and by “own” I mean rent without living with someone else, who the hell can afford a mortgage?). I don’t want something huge, I’ll only fill it up with stuff, so I’m looking at one bedroom flats in South London. I have a budget of half my salary to go on rent, with an approximation of bills at a quarter of my salary, leaving me with a bit of money for food and gin and ribbons. And my extortionate iPhone contract. I’m not expecting to have a large amount of disposable income, perhaps £50 a week to spend on transport, food, and one night out a week after all my bills and rent are paid. Whilst this doesn’t sound like a lot, I can live quite comfortably spending £20 a week on travel, £11 a week on supermarket shopping (in Waitrose I’ll have you know) and the rest on a few drinks at the weekend and maybe a Sunday roast down the pub if there’s any leftover from the excessive drinking I’ll obviously be doing in my local Wetherspoon’s.
So imagine my shock to discover it’s acceptable to call a studio flat a one bedroom flat. For that matter, when did homeowners start charging £150pw to rent a room in their house? £150 FOR ONE WEEK WITH A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD EXCLUDING BILLS. I can’t be the only one who’s pissed off by this, so why aren’t we complaining? Earlier today, Samira Ahmed posted a tweet asking for the cost difference between council housing and privately rented accomodation. Croydon Council charge up to £90 a week for a property. This means that if I’d put myself on the Housing Association list when I was 17, I might have got a flat now for £90 a week. I’m currently looking at a mixture of places all round London in the private sector and cannot find anything close to a train station for less that £140 – and some of these are SINGLE BEDROOMS – not even double, and very few flats. What exactly is the landlord doing with this extra £50 a week?
Why do I feel like I’m asking for too much? When did the generation above me get so f*cking greedy that it’s ok to charge someone in my salary band 3/4 what they earn just to live in a poxy studio flat, with the caveat that “it’s a great location”, as if the view is an acceptable alternative to eating every day? Or do I need to concede my lifestyle and shack up with someone just to afford a roof over my head? I want a bedroom with a double bed and wardrobe, a living room with space for a table and a bookshelf, and a kitchen with a hob, sink and microwave. If it’s ok, can I have a washing machine as well? Central heating I can do without, I have a pleasant range of jumpers and crocheted blankets I can make good use of. Electricity would be nice though, a meter would do the trick. Oh and if it’s not TOO much to ask, within 20 minutes walk of a train station – for some reason in London this is a big ask…. in London.
Why the hell, on my salary (which is actually not bad), can I not afford something as basic as a roof over my head?
Now what did I do with that cardboard box…
Ed: In case it isn’t obvious, I don’t want a house share. I am picky about butter and have an odd taste in music and am not the easiest person to live with.