What I Rent: Rob and Roisin, £1,300 a month for a flat in Richmond upon Thames

Welcome back to What I Rent, our weekly series exploring the ins and outs of renting in the UK and beyond.

Last week we took a nose around a two-bedroom flat in Bristol, rented for £1,050 a month.

This time around we’re in Kingston upon Thames, London, with couple Rob and Roisin.

Rob, 33, is a journalist, while Roisin, 32, is an early years teacher.

They moved into their current flat in December, right before London went back into lockdown.

We chatted with Rob about how the couple rent.

Hi, Rob! How much do you and Roisin pay to live here?

Rent is £1,300 a month, and bills are about £200.

And what do you get for what you pay?

It’s one bed, one bathroom, with a large living room and separate large kitchen diner.

We even have a large communal decking area out the back which we cannot wait to use when it warms up.

The building is split into three flats so there are only four other people living in the building, and they all seem lovely. It was actually one of them who built the decking area while another neighbour strung up lights, put up hanging baskets and bought outside furniture. I think our contribution will be a washing line!

We didn’t realise the flat came with the outside decking when we first saw the advert, so that was a lovely surprise when we came to view. We can’t wait for summer when we can actually sit out there in the evenings and hopefully meet the neighbours properly.

Do you feel like you have a good deal?

For the location, the high-spec of flat and convenience to shops and the train station, we think it’s a superb deal.

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What do you think of the area?

We live in the middle of Richmond Upon Thames. We absolutely adore the area.

During the summer, when some lockdown restrictions were still in place, Roisin and I would often meet in Richmond because it was halfway between Ealing where she lived, and Tooting where I lived. Roisin has always wanted to live in the heart of Richmond too.

We’re two minutes from the train station and five minutes from the river. What appeals to us most is how much like the countryside it feels around here, but also how convenient it is to get into central London. Within a couple of minutes we can walk through a muddy field as if we’re in the middle of nowhere, but on the flipside, we can be at Waterloo in 20 minutes (when not in lockdown).

How did you find the flat?

Rightmove. We spent a day viewing flats all around the area, and this was the one we both immediately fell in love with.

We had originally planned to buy, and even had an offer accepted on a two-bed flat just outside Richmond, but unfortunately that fell through.

We were disappointed at the time but looking back, we’re glad it didn’t happen. Although it was a new build, it wasn’t really near anything.

But here, we’ve got everything we could need.

How have you made this place feel like home?

Rugs! And pictures! The flat came fully-furnished, but we wanted to buy a few new bits to make it feel like our place.

I bought a new TV stand and corner desk, Roisin bought an armchair, a couple of big rugs and a second coffee table.

Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?

The flat was actually redecorated last year and the bathroom was redone so we’ve got no need to do any additional work.

The landlady is great, and will arrange for someone to pop over if we need anything done, like hang pictures. She said she prefers someone else doing work around that flat, which is absolutely fine by us!

Do you feel like you have enough space?

Although it’s not a massive flat, there is plenty of storage. We’ve got a large floor-to-ceiling coat cupboard by the front door and because of the high ceilings we’re able to pop things on top of the wardrobes easily.

There’s also an airing cupboard in the bedroom to store bedding and towels, and we have a separate cupboard outside on the communal hallway (which used to be a toilet!), which is basically our attic. It’s full of suitcases and Christmas decorations.

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

Because we haven’t been here long we haven’t really encountered any major problems.

The only one that comes to mind is the seal around the kitchen sink is a little loose, but that’s it. The landlady has said to let her know right away if we encounter any other issues.

Do you have plans to move again?

Not for a long while. I hate moving and I’m not a massive fan of change. This was why I lived in my old flatshare for over six years.

The thought of packing up everything I own fills me with dread.

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

We’re both paying money into Help To Buy ISAs so we have the option to buy one day, but at the moment, we’re both more than happy renting.

If we bought somewhere we’d never in our wildest dreams get a place like this in this location.

Shall we take 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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