Negotiating London’s renting minefield

Negotiating London’s renting minefield

Our Honeymooning Nomad discovers that finding the perfect room to rent in London can be an exhausting process, as both parties try to negotiate the ‘get-to-know’ you minefield of matching the housemate to the house.


House Hunting

OVER the Christmas break, hubby and I decided that we would shift south of the Thames River to experience a new scene in London. We’ve been in East London since we arrived, and although we’ve enjoyed the location and  quirks of our local area, it is now time to find something a little larger.

The only thing in the way: finding the right room to rent.

Having lived in many sharehouses over the years, I think it is safe to say we are well experienced with all types of people – couples, professionals, uni students and idiots who refused to pay rent for months at a time. But, if I asked, would they tell me I was the perfect housemate?

It brings up the question of how much information do I give in my “room wanted” ad?

“We are both friendly 26 year old professionals and recently married” seems to have had a mixed reaction. 26 = a bit young. Professionals = No parties. Married = possibly boring homebodies, never leaving the house.

I feel the need to add a little more information and mention that we are tidy, sociable, professionals, while strategically forgetting the bit about hubby leaving his shoes in the middle of the doorway, and that he is an Arsenal supporter who can scull a beer in less than 30 seconds. I also don’t want to spoil the vibe by mentioning that neither of us like reality TV or that I have very limited cooking abilities (vegemite toasties are my specialty). Let’s just get to the meet and greet stage first.

On the other hand, “room for rent” ads are often equally difficult to decipher.

When someone states “we don’t want someone who will stay in their room all the time” does this mean I have to watch awful TV with them in the lounge room, struggling not to gouge out my own eyes?

How clean and tidy do they want me to be?

If you advertise you are down the road from the pub does that mean you like to spend all of your time there, or does it mean that it is a really noisy area and we will never get to sleep?

And please let me know how 7 people can fit comfortably in a 3 bed, 1 bath flat!

In the meantime, we are between houses and currently couch surfing with a very generous friend we met in London. I tried to show our thanks by cooking my delicious Spag Bol – the only thing I can cook after ten years of perfecting it.

In what turned out to be another #typicaljacquiday, it turns out that you can’t use any old fry pan on the so-new-it-has-never-been-used Bosch glass ceramic cook top.

I think this Honeymooning Nomad is going to have to find a way make up for the newly scratched hot plate that does not include cooking. Perhaps I am not the perfect flatmate after all.