What I Rent: Emma and Josh, £850 a month for a four-bedroom house in Margate

Londoners, do you feel like everyone’s moving to Margate?

Looking at Emma Jane Palin’s place, we can understand why.

The interiors blogger, writer, and affordable art consultant moved from London to Margate last year after falling in love with the area.

She lives with her partner Josh and their ‘Mexican hotdog’ (half chihuahua, half miniature dachshund) George in a four-bedroom house just two minutes from the sea.

In this week’s What I Rent, we chatted with Emma, 29, about how she’s managed to turn a rented property into a place that feels entirely her own.

Hey, Emma! How much do you pay to live here?

We pay £850 a month with around £100 a month on top for bills.

And what do you get for what you pay?

We have a kitchen, living room, dining room, four bedrooms (two of which are used as an office and dressing room), a bathroom and a separate toilet.

Do you think you have a good deal?

Four-bed properties in Margate can range between £800 to £1,200 a month so we’re on the lower end of the scale in what is a large home. I guess it’s in a less desirable area of Margate but we personally love it.

Our landlord knew that we’d be doing it up a little so we have a good deal to ensure it’s looked after.

How did you find the house?

I enquired in a local accommodation facebook group for someone that would be happy for a property to be painted etc. Obviously I had my blog as a portfolio so the landlord knew what to expect.

This place was a complete blank canvas but we pulled up all the horrible brown carpet (it smelt disgusting!) and sanded the floors ourselves.

How have you made this place feel like home?

We’ve done quite a lot of painting and decorating in the house as we’re allowed to do so, but I’ve also invested in furniture over the years that really represents us.

The orange velvet sofa is a vintage 70s number picked up from eBay for £300 and our retro-style bed was something I saved up for. I’ll never get rid of either unless they fall apart first.

Art is a vital part of my signature style and I use it to bring colour and personality to a space. My favourite artists are Babak Ganjei, Charlie Evaristo Boyce, Rose Stallard and Dave Buonaguidi.

Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting?

As I had already agreed with the landlord that we could make changes, it’s been easier than other properties I’ve lived in to make change.

I write a lot on my blog about how to make a rented home your own, but ultimately about having the courage to have a conversation. So many folks assume that if it’s in a contract, you can’t do anything; I’ve had three contracts amended now to say that I can paint. Just ask!

Do you feel like you have enough space?

We have more than enough space for the both of us, but as we both work from home, it’s needed.

Having come from a one-bed London flat, we absolutely appreciate having space to work and relax.

Our clothes are also totally thankful for not being stored in every possible nook and cranny!

Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with?

The beauty of renting is that things aren’t your problem when they go wrong. Obviously I’m quite handy though and I know lots of the right folks in the community, so largely when things have gone wrong, such as the boiler breaking, the landlord has trusted me to get it sorted without having to be a middle man.

Do you have plans to move again?

We’re saving for a house deposit at the moment but this will be our final rental property.

We’ll likely stay here for another year or so, and again this was discussed with our landlord before we signed a contract. I’ve been burned before with short-term tenancy agreements so I made sure he was looking for something long term.

Do you want to own a place some day or are you happy to rent?

I used to not be so bothered, but since working more on the various houses we’ve lived in and doing more within my job, it’s become more feasible to save for somewhere to call our own.

I really want it to be the right place though. I’m not in a rush to get on the property ladder for the sake of it, no matter how many people advise me to do so!

Sounds very wise. Shall we have a look around?





















What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am.

Check back next week to have another nose around a rented property.

How to get involved in What I Rent

What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what’s normal and how much we should be paying.

If you fancy taking part, please email [email protected] You’ll need to take pictures of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your bedroom or living area.

Make sure you get permission from your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.

We’re not just after the prettiest places out there, by the way. We want the reality of renting, so if you’re currently renting a place you hate, we’d love to see that too (and sympathise greatly!).

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