For £550 per month.
Yes, London, you’ve reached peak mental.
The tent debacle might be enough make you laugh if the insanely-high-rents-for-tiny-spaces craze wasn’t enough to make you cry.
Average rents in London have hit £1,418 per month, with more and more people resorting to sharing a room with a total stranger. Madness! I hear you cry. Why would anyone agree to pay more than £17,000 per year in rent when for £280,000 you could buy your own… oh, a shed. Alrighty then.
But don’t despair. If you’re dead set on finding a 1 bedroom flat to rent in London, rather than renting a room or housesharing with mates, some areas are significantly cheaper than others.
South London, the outer fringes of North London and some parts of east London are your best bets. In Walthamstow, Wembley, Tottenham or Crystal palace, there’s still a chance you can find a one-bed flat for nearer the £600/month mark.
But unless you’re a millionaire, it’s time to abandon any thoughts of living in central boroughs like the City, Westminster or Kensington and Chelsea – or in swish Notting Hill, where the same setup can cost you up to £2,600.
(Unless, of course, you’re happy to live in a bunkbed in West Kensington with a shower underneath, and no toilet to speak of).
“But where can I find these flats?” we hear you cry.
There are squillions of property websites out there that feature flats in every corner of the capital. Among the best known are Rightmove and Zoopla, but there are some pretty cool specialist options out there too.
FindProperly is an awesome site that goes beyond your price range and lets you refine your search by priorities like council tax, chances of getting mugged, where the nearest pub is or whether there are any parks nearby to chill out in on a sunny afternoon.
Plus, instead of picking a general area, you can search by the time it would actually take you to commute to work, how near you want to be to the tube and what Zone you’d be in. Bonus.
Finally, a word of warning: everyone’s desperate to find a cheap place to live in London and there are, sadly, some dodgy characters out there trying to take advantage.
On the less scary end of the scale, you’ve got unscrupulous agents that waste your time by flooding rental sites with “one bed flats” that actually turn out to be individual rooms in a house share, or bedsits so tiny you’re basically just sleeping in a single bed with a microwave at the end.
At the other end of the scale, you have the genuine weirdos and the serious scammers.
If you’re fed up of estate agent fees and would rather deal directly with a landlord, there are plenty of properties and even dedicated websites available – and it can be a much nicer, cheaper experience. But you need to be careful.
Firstly, that miraculously cheap flat in a nice area that you saw advertised on Gumtree? Probably a scam. If someone asks for anything odd, like money upfront or transferred online before you’ve signed a contract (or even met them), run a mile.
Secondly, there’s a growing, sinister trend for creepy chancers to advertise free accommodation or below-rate rent on the understanding that their tenants will pay them some other way, if you get our drift. And it’s not just women who are getting preyed on.
Always take someone with you to a viewing and make sure your friends/family know where you are – otherwise, you’re just walking into a stranger’s house without backup. Is a cheap flat worth the risk? We think not.
So stay safe, kids – and happy flat hunting!
Have any recommendations for the best place to find a one bedroom flat to rent in London? Share your secrets below!