Back in the summer of 2016 my partner and I made the decision to up sticks and move to London so he could study for a PhD. We had been living in a compact but cosy 1 bedroom flat in Cardiff (paying £475 collectively in rent), so we knew the difference in price would come as a bit of a shock. A quick glance on Rightmove proved our assumptions right as the going rate for a comparable flat was around £1400.
However, what surprised us most wasn’t the price of the properties but how hard it was to actually find someone willing to take our money! We agreed to houseshare with my sister and during our 2 month search we put in full-price offers for three in Clapham with no success. One property was sold, another landlord was determined to only rent to two people, while a third was fixed on renting to a family. Thankfully the final place ended up changing their minds once no other takers were found. After several months of searching we had the keys to a 3 bed mews property in Clapham South – ours for only £2250 a month!
Reducing Rent by Housesharing via Spareroom
Cut to a year later and I found myself feeling increasingly bitter about the amount I was paying in rent. At £2250 in total we each paid £750 a month, rising to around £850 including bills and council tax. My job isn’t London based and I typically work from home, so I didn’t exactly feel like I was getting value for money. I started searching on Spareroom and quickly realised that if you were willing to compromise on space you could rent a room in a flatshare for around £1000. Bargain! Or at least by London standards.
So in November this year we moved into a new home in Walthamstow. We’re sharing with live-in-landlords in their 30s and one other lodger. The house has three living areas and two bathrooms, so we haven’t found it too difficult of an adjustment with regards to space. Meanwhile, our housing costs have dropped from £850 each a month, to £500 inclusive of bills. We also have a one month notice period which gives us the freedom to try another area of London whenever we fancy. This flexibility is fantastic and as we’re liaising directly with the landlord we haven’t had to pay a single penny in letting fees.
House-sharing as a couple may not be for everyone but it’s certainly worth considering if you’re keen to cut back on your living costs. I’m naturally quite messy but I’ve made an effort to live like a proper adult and avoid a return to the student kitchens of my past. I think housesharing as a couple can be a great way to make new friends and allow you to save some money towards a housing deposit while still enjoying the lifestyle of a Londoner.
Tips For Finding a Professional Houseshare
- Put a post on Facebook asking friends to notify you if they know of anyone who has a room available
- Browse rooms for rent on Spareroom and set up alerts
- Sign up for Spareroom’s ‘Early Bird’ upgrade if required to contact the property you’re keen on
- Don’t send across any money before you’ve viewed the property
- Avoid any ads that seem too good to be true
Tips For Living in a Professional Houseshare
- Ensure you have a signed contract in place
- Check how many others will need to use the bathroom at a similar time
- Establish whether the kitchen is fully equipped or whether you should bring your own items
- Request your own space in the food cupboard, fridge and freezer – this will help to avoid disputes
- Agree whether any staple foods will be shared and whether there’s a house kitty to pay for them
- Check if there’s a cleaning rota in place
- Who buys the toilet roll/ cleaning products – is there a house fund?
- Set up a house Whatsapp group to inform others if you plan on having guests around
- If you work from home check whether it’s ok to have the heating on in the daytime (alternatively you may want to invest in a space heater or electric throw)
- Find out when the bin day is and whether there’s a rota for who puts the bins out
Have you lived in a professional house share? Let me know your experiences in the comments!