Sunday, 27 February 2011

Non-Book: Renting a House in London

Warning: upcoming rant!

At the moment my fiance and I are trying to move house.  We currently rent a two bedroom flat which we are desperate to move out of because we have a damp/mould problem that requires constant attention, the shower doesn't work properly and the electricity needs rewiring.  As we pay £775 a month for this, we want to do better.  We want to move as soon as possible because we're getting married in July and don't want to be moving whilst getting married in the same month - too stressful!  We have to be out by June 17th when our agreement runs out.

What we would really like to do is buy a house but that's impossible.  An average two bedroom house in this part of the woods (outer London, not inner) is around £250,000.  Because of the recession most mortgage companies want at least a 20% mortgage and we just don't have £50,000 knocking around.  We have savings but it's hard to see how anyone without rich parents who could give them a hand could get a first mortgage with that kind of deposit.  Some companies offer a 10% deposit, which may be possible in a few years but definitely not now.  We could afford the mortgage payments but not the deposit.

So until either a) we win the lottery b) mortgage companies calm down or c) ten years pass, we need to rent.  And the rental market is just ridiculous.  Yesterday we saw a lovely house to rent in our preferred area for a reasonable price.  We rang the agent only to be informed that it had already been let - it went on the market at 9am and was let at 9.30am.  This has happened over and over again and because we're both teachers we can't make these early morning viewings.  We schedule after school viewings only to find the property has gone in the day.  It's just too fast and it seems you have to be in the right place at the time, which is very frustrating.  We've given up getting excited about properties because 9 times out of 10, they are gone already.  That other 1 time out of 10 the landlord is usually reluctant to rent to us because we have a cat. 

Between this and wedding planning though, I'm getting a bit stressed!


  1. I totally sympathise! House prices are why we moved out of london- they're ridiculous! Hope you find something amazing soon!

  2. i am verrrrrryyyyy sorry, all around! i don't have any horror stories about buying a house, as i live in the midwest (missouri to be exact), but my sister lives in Washington DC and she has renting horrors, as well as buying horrors. they bought a townhome in a suburb that the bank had repossessed for cheap because when the person was evicted she purposely trashed the place and have been fixing up what they can themselves and contracting out what they can't. good luck on house hunting!!!

    and, congratulations on getting married in july! :D

  3. :( That sucks. Is there any programs out there for first-time home buyers to help you get a home without a ridiculously huge downpayment? We've got programs like that in the states but I didn't know if they had any in Britain.

  4. Bex - a part of us would love to move out but our families, friends and jobs we love are here. We can afford the rent, it's just finding a place that someone else doesn't steal first!

    Stephanie - I've heard that about repossessed houses but that's terrible for your sister. It must be horrible to have all that unplanned expense. And thanks for the congrats :)

    Amanda - there are programmes like that and we do qualify for them as we are key workers (i.e. work in the public sector) but they are so few and far between. We are on a few waiting lists so you never know, we might get lucky.

  5. yeah we are in the same position in Surrey and it sucks big time. We are moving to the west country in a few years as at least the rent will be cheaper there. Ive given up the worry of not owning a house TBH

  6. so sorry to hear of your housing troubles; moving is one of the biggest stressors there is, and it seems as though the dire housing situation is just compounding that for you :(
    Hope you find something soon.

  7. Sorry to hear of your dramas. My family are up north in Lincolnshire and have the same problem with renting issues.

  8. Did you find a rental place weeks before your wedding? I hope so, because it would be very stressful if you’ll move on or a day before the wedding. It’s really hard to find a house for rent in a city. You’ll have to be early, so you could find one right away. I hope you and your fianc√© are finally settled now in your new rented house. ->Von Madison