My New Home in the Heart of London

If you read my March Debt Repayment Update or my March Spending Report, you will know that I have recently moved into a new house. I have never disclosed my whereabouts in London on my blog before, but this is all about to change.

Up until recently, I was an East End girl. I rented my first London flat near Canary Wharf in Docklands a couple of years ago. I loved living within a 5-minute walk to Canary Wharf, the hustle and bustle that it is 5 days a week. Modern architecture fascinates me so it was an ideal place for me to live. I shared a two bedroom flat in a newly built apartment block with a friend of mine and it cost me a fortune – £800.00 per month, including bills (my share of rent). We had to pay extra for our cleaner since our agency insisted on the flat being professionally cleaned, and that was another £50.00 each per month.

Two years and £20k (!) later, I decided enough was enough. It was May 2013 and I was trying to get my financial life in order.

It was hard to let go and move out as I loved my flat, but I did what I had to do. I moved in with my sister and stayed with her for 2 months. While at my sisters, I was paying 3 times less in rent than I was when I was living in Canary Wharf. My sister then declared she was moving to Cambodia with her partner (she got sick and tired of the city life and wanted some piece and quiet) and I embarked on a search for a perfect cheap flat. I found one in Canary Wharf (I guess this is where home is). I had my fair share of dramas in this new place (for one, there was no smoke alarm fitted so I had to chase my agency for that) but I was slowly settling down. My rent was reasonable and although I didn’t love  the place, it was okay and I knew I wouldn’t stay there long.

Back in February my friend and her boyfriend asked me if I wanted to move in with them into their new (to them) place in Chelsea, one of the most exclusive (and expensive) neighbourhoods of London. They had just finished renovating their place and were looking to rent out two upstairs bedrooms to help with their mortgage payments. I moved into a smaller upstairs bedroom back in March. My new bedroom is not big but it’s spacious enough with freshly painted walls, a new carpet, new furniture and a built in wardrobe. My rent is low… so low I still cannot believe I live in a beautiful house in the heart of London within walking distance to King’s Road and pay £450.00 per month in rent. That’s right, for those of you who were curious to know what my current rent is, today is your lucky day 😉

My friends could have easily rented out my bedroom for about £1000.00 per month. It’s Chelsea and rent here is ridiculously expensive. I was lucky in the sense that my friends did not want to rent out their spare bedrooms to total strangers and would much rather live with long time friends (I totally back them up on that 😉 ). So far, it has been fantastic! We have had BBQs every weekend in the garden (the weather in London has been a real treat lately) and everyone is getting along great! Everyone speaks Russian in our house which makes it feel like home. I must admit it feels a little weird to speak Russian at home since I got so used to speaking English with my former flatmates, but it’s nice at the same time.

I have looked at the numbers and I am happy to report that my rent has gone down by 47% in comparison to last year. This is a huge drop and it makes me really happy. Anyway, I must run downstairs now… today is the game night and we are playing cards 😉

What is your rent like? Do you house/flat share or do you live on your own? Do you rent or do you own a place?

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27 Comments

  1. Wow that’s cool! I pay 1450 a month and I find this ridiculously expensive, but I’m in my thirties and after living so many years in house shares, I just could not do it anymore (not even with friends). If I had friends with a spare room in Chelsea, I might change my mind though LOL.

    1. £1450 is ridiculously expensive, but at least you get to live on you own instead of flat/house sharing. I don’t mind living with other people, in fact I am so used to it I don’t think I’d want to live on my own at this point in my life. Although, sometimes I could do with a bit of peace and quiet 😛
      Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted…My New Home in the Heart of LondonMy Profile

  2. Ah yes finally I get some rent answers! lol! I guess I’m just so curious because I know London is SO expensive. But you know I pay $1250 for my place (actually it’s $1400 but I rent out the garage to people for extra storage). It’s a small one bedroom, but it’s in a good location and very close to the beach. I’m 43 so the idea of living with someone who I’m not eventually going to be married to is not very appealing to me anymore. I’ve had my share of roommate nightmares. Still, I wish i was living somewhere cheaper! Hope you enjoy your new places. Sounds awesome!

  3. I used to live in Mill Hill in a 1 Bed garden flat. It cost me £800 per month excluding bills. I was struggling so I moved back home to pay off debt and free up cash. I currently pay £330 to help out with household bills. I miss my flat and my privacy.

  4. My boyfriend and I rent a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment for $1885 CDN. When we got our new rental agreement for our lease that ends July 1st the price had gone down (if we signed a lease for another year)! Our new rent will be $1795 CDN. Even if we didn’t sign for a year and went month to month the price was still going to go down. There must be a lack of people looking for apartments where I live right now or something because we didn’t even ask. I will definitely take the decrease though and at this point I think I will put the difference towards our Emergency Fund. 🙂

  5. Hi Eva

    Really interesting blog about house sharing and I’m glad your latest houseshare is working out. I realise your blog is mainly about saving on rent money, and moving in with friends is obviously a good way to do this, but there is a cautionary tale to living with friends – especially if you’re renting a room in their home as their lodger.
    In your case, your friends actually planned to take in lodgers, and you in turn have plenty of house sharing experience, so no doubt you and your friends talked through your mutual expectations and established ground rules first. However, this isn’t always the case – a lot of people enter into this arrangement without doing this, usually getting a nasty surprise and losing their friendship – this happened to me when I rented from a friend I’d known for several years, and other friends of mine have had similar experiences. This inspired me to write my website all about renting a room, as a live in landlord or a lodger, and most importantly, how to get along as lodger and live in landlord – especially if you’re friends first! Please see http://www.lodgersite.com/Letting_to_a_Friend.html

  6. It’s good to have friends in nice places! 😉

    I’ve never been to London but I love Dr. Who (so I sorta actually know what Canary Wharf looks like if that counts?) and the area sounds fantastic, so good on you (and your friends) for finding such a great arrangement!

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