elb's hovel of thoughts

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Room Dilemma

Moving can be such a pain - especially the part where you view properties and compete with other people for the prime and affordable locations, and need to make decisions within hours - having a couple of days is a luxury. Do you decide to keep that superbly located room you viewed just two hours ago, which lacks one or two things that would make it absolutely perfect and sign on the dotted line? Or would you pass it by forever, only for nothing better to come and kick your ass for being an idiot?

Its difficult. Fortunately for me, I was able to physically visit several potential locations first-hand - many people don't get that priviledge. I learnt that the university's postgraduate accommodations are too far out to be practical - two hours travelling everyday for a minimum of six days a week (five days lectures, one going out!) is going to be an absolute killer.

My criteria? Walking time should be within twenty minutes from my university. If not, there should be no more than a total of thirty minutes from doorstep to doorstep via the Underground, with no changes in lines. The nearer to Central London the better. The closer to Greater London, the cheaper I would expect to pay (or get something bigger).

Armed with the accommodation office's list which was a day old, I immediately set out to work - calling up landlords and managers. It was disheartening at first - most of them informed me that their properties were taken up. And its not even peak season yet. That's in September.

Eventually I managed to get a viewing. The rent was astronomical (£900) for a tiny ensuite room (a bed which folds up into the wall gives you an idea of the tiny space). Of course, this being the first room I viewed left me in a somewhat depressed state.

The second was much better, with a very desirable location. At £780 for an ensuite room that is 1.5 times the size of my current room, it was pretty good! The only problem was that the bed was too close to the kitchen facilities, but some rearranging could easily do the trick.

The third was located on one of the more prestigious shopping streets - for £550 I would get a small room (a bit small for my liking) to be compensated with by access to a HUGE lounge and a modern kitchen - the landlady doesn't stay put for long as she likes to travel, which is a big bonus. Very cheap for its location - its a family apartment which they rent out partly to get sufficient money to cover the bills. Unfortunately the lady turned up much later than agreed (she was nice enough to drive down from the countryside over two hours away though), and we missed the train back. Great. We stayed overnight at a hotel. (My plan was to go back home and return to London the next day, don't ask about the complicated arrangements)

The next day (today) saw me visiting the university's accommodations (refer to beginning of post). Another place just two blocks from room #2 was also paid a visit - a very high chance I might just take up this place, except for a few complaints: 1) trains are nearby and distracting (can be dampened with heavy curtains) 2) no laundry facilities!!! (landlord claims that he had some machines but people tried to break into them...) 3) It needs a proper oven and a bigger fridge (need to negotiate..). Otherwise, it would be perfect, at £130 a week with all bills included.

Place #5 is at a very prestigious address - Chelsea - the very word would be in my address itself if I choose to take up a place at the ensuite apartments there - very modern and well equipped with 24 hour porter service! Only grouse is that it is a little small, but at £823 a month (renting a proper one bedroom apartment at the same building costs more per year than what I would earn as a fresh graduate) it is reasonable. You pay for the address. Which could be important because apparently some companies pay attention to your address; a good postcode would show to them that you have 'arrived'.

Number 6 was the last view of the day, to live with a landlady. At £650 per month, it includes bills, and the interior design is absolutely stunning, with a very expensive German kitchen installed. The landlady (in her 50s) has an issue with bringing outsiders in though, so I am a bit wary about that. Her original advertisement stated that she was looking for a male postgraduate student - the reasoning behind it being that its usually the guys who disappear to their girlfriend's places! Get the joke? Lol!

Anyhow, preliminary analysis suggests that 2-6 would be highly possible. Urgh, I don't know whether to pick one from these or to wait for a little while (something I don't really have). Especially since I would be in Malaysia for a month or so.

Update: I have decided on #3.


  • My goodness you're viewing some pretty expensive places! Even £650 a month would be more than I'm willing to pay - maybe I'm just a big ol' cheapskate :-p

    The most expensive room I ever rented was at £476 a month, and that was in London Bridge. 12 mins walk to the station, and 9 mins train ride to Charing Cross - fab! 

    Posted by Jay

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, July 30, 2005 3:52:00 am  

  • jay: well it all depends on where you wish to travel. If the destination (and accommodation) is located at Greater London, or a 'cheap' part of Central London, then of course the rent would reflect that. 

    Posted by pat

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, July 30, 2005 1:18:00 pm  

  • Wow! Crazy rent!!!

    My rent for a huge double bed room in Ealing (not a cheap place) is £325PCM with bills included. It is family house of course but we have a separate kitchen and shower facilities.

    The money I saved would easily offset the cost of travel cards (zone 1 is only 20 minutes away) and others. I have access to the three underground networks, a national rail and hopefully in a few years - Crossrail.

    BTW, I don't fancy the SW London area of Chelsea/Sloane Street/Kings Road. Those people are just too posh for my liking! ;) 

    Posted by Jon

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, July 30, 2005 10:01:00 pm  

  • :) 

    Posted by EF

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sunday, July 31, 2005 3:11:00 pm  

  • jon: Well, I'll almost definitely be living in SW central London. :P

    As for Ealing, it is probably cheaper compared with most of central London!

    EF: :) 

    Posted by pat

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, August 01, 2005 12:40:00 am  

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    By Blogger Online Incomes, at Sunday, October 09, 2005 7:22:00 pm  

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