When you head over to someone’s house, there’s always a lingering temptation to nose around their things.
Everyone feels that, right?
The urge to look in their cupboards when you nip to the bathroom, to push open the door as you walk past their bedroom, a need to see what the inside of the fridge looks like. It’s normal.
That’s just part of the reason we run What I Rent, a weekly series going inside people’s rented properties.
The main reason we do it is to make sense of the confusing hellscape that’s renting in London, but getting to be nosy about how people live is an added bonus.
This week we’re hanging out with Gigi and John, a married couple who rent a two-bedroom flat in Notting Hill.
Hi Gigi! Nice place. How much are you two paying for it?
We pay £1550 per month, plus £130 per month for electricity, gas, water, and council tax.
- TV/Internet – £53
- Gym – £80
- Food – £200
- Phone – £180
- Phone insurance – £17
- Life insurance – £30
- Spotify – £15
- Prime – £8
And what are you getting for your rent?
Two bedrooms and one bathroom, one living room, and one garden.
How did you end up living here?
We moved in at the beginning of June. We were previously living more or less across the road, literally less than one minute walk from here.
We love the area so much we wanted to stay close. John is an estate agent in the area and saw this one come up and immediately thought we should apply for it. Timing was right and we got it!
You live with your husband rather than a bunch of housemates you don’t know. What’s that like?
John and I actually moved in together very quickly after we started dating.
John is Dutch and we met while I was living in the Netherlands on a working holiday visa, I changed jobs from a live-in job and he asked me to move in and I just thought, ‘yeah, why not?’
Within a week of living with him I’d painted a red feature wall and created a spare room out of his man cave.
It’s great not having to share with anybody. Previously we lived in a five bedroom shared house and the majority of the flatmates were weirdos.
When you live by yourself you don’t need to worry about creeping around and not waking people, doing your dishes before you start eating or whose laundry has been sitting in the washing machine for two days.
It’s just way more chill. There’s no cleaning roster or passive aggressive post it notes or group chats. It’s so much better!
Are you happy where you live?
We love where we live! We’re pretty well connected and it’s great that we have Westbourne Park Station so close to us and buses on Great Western Road.
It’s about a 10 minute walk to Golbourne Road and Portobello Road Markets, which is great.
We both walk to work so there is no sweaty and stressful rush hour commute and we save money because of this as well. Harrow Road is great for fresh produce and Hyde Park is a close bike ride away. I never want to live anywhere else.
Do you have enough space?
We’ve just moved from a tiny one bedroom apartment so at the moment this feels very spacious for us, but I’m sure that eventually we’ll grow out of it.
It’s great having a garden! That’s something we’ve not had before in London and already we’ve had A LOT of BBQs. A BBQ was the first thing we bought when we moved in.
How have you made the flat feel like home?
The first thing we did is put all our pictures up on the wall. That always makes a house feel like a home. We’re very lucky to have been handed down lots of ‘homey’ things from friends and we think these things help make it feel like ours.
We also often host dinner parties with friends, which is nice. We love having a place we can host people.
We can’t help noticing that there’s a large poster of John hung in the garden… why?
We actually just got back from a music festival a few days ago, Sziget Festival in Budapest. We’ve been for the last four years and it’s our favourite festival in the world.
When we arrived this year we realised that somebody had taken a photo of John last year and put it up on a banner at the festival this year.
We went to cut it down on the last night, we asked them if we could do it and one guy said yes then the head of security came over and said no. We were going to take it no matter what but figured we may as well ask first.
They put a picture of John and the poster on Facebook and said we could take it but the security guard said it was official Sziget property and we couldn’t.
They said that they would send us the picture and we could print it out… but luckily the head of security was an awesome dude and covered his eyes and said he wasn’t looking.
We took it and now it’s home displayed in our garden.
Our neighbours look right out to it, they must think we’re crazy!
Are there any problems with the flat you have to put up with?
Not yet! We’ve had a few tiny problems here and there but our estate agent, Westways, is pretty great with everything and things have been fixed within a day.
Any plans to move again?
We’ll be here for a while, (I hope!) moving is such a hassle! This is our sixth place in two years and we spent a year in our last place. We have a contract here for a year and then we’ll go from there.
At this stage I’m keen on staying though. We’re trying to have a baby so eventually we’ll need to upgrade but at the moment this is perfect for us.
And what about buying a place?
We’d love to buy a place but we’re worried that we’ll never be able to afford to buy in London….or even anywhere close.
We’re saving! If we could afford to buy something we’d love to buy something like this. Watch this space.
Alright then. Shall we have a look around Gigi and John’s flat?
is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property in London.
How to get involved in What I Rent
What I Rent is Metro‘s weekly series that takes you inside the places in London 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 .
You‘ll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!
You‘ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you‘re paying for rent, as that‘s pretty important.
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