About two moths ago we received a letter from our lettings agency saying the landlord needed our flat back. Now, if you live in London you’ll understand why my first reaction was anger, followed by chocolate binge and crying.
London is a wonderful city, full of life, people, different cultures, amazing restaurants, museums, loads of things happening and places to go. The public transport is very good and reliable: the tube is amazing and gets you pretty much anywhere and at night you can always rely on the night bus for some extra fun and Uber if you’re really far, would rather be comfortable or are simply just lazy. It kind of sounds like the perfect city to live, except for two tiny details: 1.It’s very expensive and 2.Rents are an absolute rip off and flats are most of the times absolute dumps with no storage room whatsoever.
Unless you are quite wealthy, and in that case there are some really lovely places, you’re f*#ked. Well not quite, there’s still some OK places, you just have to look for a while and be able to spend 50%+ of your income in rent. This is of course if you have a flatmate. If not, you’ll probably have to rent one of those ‘studios’ where you can cook from your bed, rent a bedroom or… I don’t really know.
Don’t get me wrong, I know how fortunate and blessed we are that we can get a roof over our heads and that we can actually be ‘picky’ about it. I still think it’s crazy though that a rent in a crappy London flat is more than minimum wage in Portugal. Much more actually. Hell, people living on minimum wage in UK struggle. And that they can get away with this rip-off is mad.
Anyway, the struggle is that our current flat is amazing. We were very lucky; we checked out a lot of flats before finally settling for this one. The rooms are quite spacious, the location is great and the storage is much better than ‘London storage standards’. The only downsides are the tiny ‘camper-van’ style fridge, the bedrooms face the main road so it’s a bit noisy, and the living room doesn’t have much daylight. But all things considered it’s an amazing flat. As we got the flat almost 3 years ago, and we are very well behaved tenants, the rent was Okish for our area – still a rip off don’t get me wrong – but comparing to some other flats in the same area and some of my friends’ flat/rent relation, let’s just say I was very pleased with our living situation.
So we got the letter, I cried, got angry, ate the chocolate, but in the end had to accept that it was time to look for a new flat. And thus it begun – the painful process of realizing that there is nothing – no flats whatsoever – that compare to your current one. I mean we saw a flat where you couldn’t even stretch your legs when you’re on the sofa, because the wall was right there. Several flats with no storage at all. Some with storage for one-and-a-half shoe. Some basements were great, but it’s a basement! And it’s England! And we’re from Portugal! If ever there’s sunlight in London, we need to be able to access it! Not only were these flats complete dumps – sorry, no go – it was all much more expensive than our current one! Honestly in some cases if I were the lettings agency I would be ashamed to show those flats at that asking price.
Finally things started to get better and we saw two that we liked, however none had dishwasher and the storage space was about 75% (in one) and 50% (in the other) of what we have now. As my hubby is lazy and says if we don’t have a dishwasher we will have relationship issues (of course we will because he won’t do the dishes), we asked the 75% one if they would consider adding a dishwasher. And they did. So we made an offer.
There are a few good things and other less good things: there’s a big fridge (yeay), large living room and large separated kitchen. There’s not much storage, there’s carpet all over, only one bathroom, and it’s on the 3rd floor with 6 flights of stairs, but I am sure we’ll manage.
So we spent all of this weekend packing our stuff, as the move is next Friday. I didn’t think we had that much stuff, as we don’t own any furniture other than two tables, but man was I wrong! It went on forever! And we filled two big recycling bags with clothes and shoes we don’t wear any more (for charity), one bag of clothes in bad condition to recycle at H&M Conscious plus two recycling bags of things we just had to throw away. And still we have loads of stuff!
The cherry on top is that we’re doing it all ourselves; we rented a van and will aim to move everything before 11 am on Friday. It’s just around the corner after all. The only thing I am worried is those 6 flights of stairs. It will be my Friday work out I guess.
We are definitely not very clever people, who moves on a Friday anyway? All of our friends volunteered to help, but of course they are working! So it will be just the two of us, and let’s face it I can’t carry half the things, so it’s more like one and half person doing the move. It will be interesting for sure. Wish us luck!
I’ll get some pictures of the new place once we’re settled.