Renting in London: what a WOW | London on £25k

I’d heard a million times over that the cost of renting in London is outrageous, crazy, ridiculous etc. etc. And having done my research, I found that the rumours were in fact true. In comparison to rent in my small-ish northern home city, the prices were staggering and unsurprisingly it was one of the reasons I set my minimum salary expectations at £25k.

I’d had a look at rent prices before, just out of curiosity but as soon as I found out I would be moving to London, I spent an obscene amount of time on SpareRoom and Right Move just trying to navigate the rental marketplace of the capital city. What I gathered was that not only did prices vary from £500 to £1000 for a room – I know – but the quality of the rooms varied too. However, there wasn’t much consistency, the most expensive rooms weren’t always of the highest standard. You could pay the same amount of money to live in the basement of a warehouse as you could to live in a modern, new-build flat. The former isn’t really my aesthetic but maybe that’s what you’re paying for in warehouse rentals(?!).

By the time I arrived in London, I had an idea of what I wanted out of my London pad (bedroom):

  • double
  • no more than £850 (including bills) per month (for the perfect place)
  • zones 1-3
  • ensuite
  • no more than 2 housemates

Admittedly, after spending three months browsing and sifting, I got picky. But the way I saw it, this is where I will be spending a lot of my time, the place I want to want to come back to at the end of a working day. My last house-share was during my undergraduate degree in Manchester. A nine-man house that was old, smelly, falling apart and cheap as chips. After which I stayed in a comfortable room, in my family house. There was really no way I was going to stay somewhere I didn’t like again and that came at a price.

I was fortunate enough to have somewhere to stay when I arrived to London before I secured a place. By the time I eventually got round to finding a room, having been in London for about 6 weeks, my reality was more:

  • rent: £790 pcm + bills: £67.50 pcm + quarterly bills £47.52
  • double, ensuite
  • zone 2
  • 2 flatmates
  • warm without heating (which is something I never knew I needed but it has been a huge bonus so far)

So it was a bit of an expectations-versus-reality situation. I’m paying a lot more than what I would have liked but I have everything I was looking for. My place literally ticks all the boxes and then some, so for that reason I was happy to pay more.

From my monthly salary which is around £1,700 after tax, the flat eats up over half. It’s the price I pay to be happy, safe, close to central London and to me it’s worth it. Wow, right?

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