Our weekly series What I Rent explored the reality of renting a property, taking a look at how much renters pay, what they get in return, and how they turn that into a home.
This week we’re nosing around the apartment rented by Beverley, 26, who works in a legal department in the Civil Service.
Beverley is originally from Leeds, and that’s where she lives now after being away for six years.
She rents a one-bedroom flat close to the city centre.
Hi, Beverley! How much do you pay to live here?
I pay £450 for rent, and my bills come in at around £160.
And what do you get for what you pay?
I live and rent alone in a house of multiple occupancy. It’s my first time living alone, and I love it.
I have a bedroom, a kitchen/living room open area, and a bathroom. Sadly, very little storage space, which is probably the biggest downside to this space.
Do you feel like you have a good deal?
For the area and the space I get, it is such a bargain.
I often wonder how I managed to get this place at the price I did.
What do you think of the area?
My house is a 15 min drive from Leeds City Centre, which for me is perfect!
I am not too far away from the hustle, bustle and excitement of the city, but I get to live a stone’s throw away from one of Leeds’ most beautiful parks.
I am also less than a five-minute walk from an array of coffee shops and charity shops – two of my favourite things.
I love the area – it is really relaxed but not too quiet that you feel out of touch.
How did you find the flat?
On RightMove. Funnily enough my mum had introduced me to this area for the first time a few months before I moved, and as soon as I saw it, I hoped that I would get to experience living there at some point in the future. I just didn’t think it would happen so soon.
How have you made the property feel like home?
Initially I wanted to do neutral décor throughout my flat because I had seen it on Instagram and thought that is what I wanted.
However as soon as I started going out to the shops (pre-Covid) I found that I was always gravitating towards the colourful, bold pattern, striking designs and accessories.
I quickly realised that the colourful aesthetic is a lot more me.
It started to matter less to me how clean and put together a room is, and more about the feelings of joy and fun and personality I would get every time I opened the door into my flat.
And it turns out, the multi-coloured mismatch is also very beautiful in its own way!
One of the best things I have done is tap into my more creative side and made my own art prints.
Two of them are above my bed, and four are in my gallery wall in the living room. It has led me to begin recently selling my artwork on Etsy, which is SO cool. I never expected that. It was only because I was broke and couldn’t afford art for my walls. Check out my Etsy store Keurten if you want to shop for any prints.
Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?
It’s taken a lot of time! I found that the flat, although spacious, was very much lacking in character and a lot of it was dated.
The problem though, was that I didn’t have much money to decorate the way I wanted. So, I have had to buy everything piecemeal over the last nine months.
I have only just got around to re-decorating the bathroom in the last two weeks because of that reason.
My landlord (who actually owns the letting agency) is very not-hands on, so it is very much the sense of ‘as long as you return it to what it was’, then you are generally fine. I know that some of the other people in the house have drilled holes and put up shelves in their flats with no real issues.
I have just had to get very creative with how I can switch up a space without making any lasting damage.
That is particularly the case in my bathroom, where I completely covered the whole thing in 3D Subway Tile Wallpaper, and stick on Moroccan floor tiles, all of which I can peel off when I leave as it’s completely removable.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Yes! If I had one wish though, it would be to have some storage space because at the moment I have none.
Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with?
Apart from occasional noise from surrounding flats, and the storage thing (can you tell that this really grinds my gears?!), there aren’t any problems really.
Do you have plans to move again any time soon?
Not for now! I am still enjoying being here and have such a good deal that you don’t find very easily.
I’m also still enjoying documenting the journey over on Instagram!9
Do you want to own a place some day or are you happy to rent?
Yes, I definitely want to own my own place!
I have loved renting after having done so for eight years and I have no judgement towards that at all.
It is simply because I dream of knocking down walls, painting ceilings and ripping up carpets to expose the wooden floors. You can’t quite do that with rentals!
The problem is I’ll have to change my Instagram handle, and I just can’t be dealing with that stress right now! Ha.
Fair. 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!).
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