Our weekly series What I Rent takes you inside the reality of renting, from the beautifully decorated dwellings to the overpriced and teeny-tiny studio flats.
Each week we take a nose around a different person’s rented property and see how they’ve made it feel like home, then chat with them about their experiences of renting.
This time around we’re hanging out with Sally, 24, a pupil support assistant at a school in Edinburgh who’s planning to go back to university to become a primary school teacher.
She’s lived in Edinburgh nearly all her life, apart from four years when she moved to Stirling for university.
For the last three years she’s rented a two-bedroom flat in Edinburgh with her boyfriend of five years.
Hey, Sally! How much do you pay to live here?
We pay £600 for rent, which is extremely cheap for a two bedroom flat in Edinburgh.
We would never be able to afford a two bedroom at the standard rent prices.
Bills, however, are not cheap for this flat as we have extremely old windows and an old back boiler. We pay around £150 for gas and electric each month! Plus wifi etc…
And what do you get for what you pay?
We are extremely lucky in that our rooms are pretty big. We have two bedrooms, one bathroom, living room and kitchen.
Do you feel like you have a good deal?
Yes we definitely do have a good deal, only because we rent from a family member who owns the flat!
Do you like the area?
Our flat is about a 45 minute walk into the centre of Edinburgh and close to the union canal and water of leith walkway.
It is a nice area with lots of greenery, however because I’m from the other side of Edinburgh by the sea, I miss that a lot, and spend most of my time driving there to see friends and family.
How did you find the flat?
My boyfriends mum owns the flat, so we just took it!
We didn’t have the luxury of looking around for something we really liked, because we couldn’t afford any more than this flat, and with the Edinburgh property market we would never find something this cheap.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
We do have more than enough living space in the flat, however my boyfriend loves his mountain biking, so if we had an outdoor shed or a bit more storage it would be even better!
How have you made this place feel like home?
The flat was in a complete state when we first moved in, I actually burst into tears when I first saw it.
But we’ve spent three years getting it just how we want it.
Combining my boyfriends joinery talents and my own love of interior design. We painted, got new carpets, a new bath room (thanks to my in-laws), and accumulated all our furniture second-hand.
I have a love for bargains, upcycling and crafting, if I see something I love, I make it myself!
For example I’ve made most of our light shades, something I love doing and often sell them in my mums interiors shop. I have a home instagram account called @sallysroomedinburgh where I document all my home DIYs and upcycles.
Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting?
Because we rent from family, we are so lucky that they have given us complete free reign to do whatever we like, but of course because we don’t own the place we have done it all on a tiny budget.
Are there any issues with the flat?
Just the fact it’s FREEZING nearly all the time, the heating costs a fortune and we have really old draughty windows, so winters can be tough!
Do you have plans to move again any time soon?
Definitely, we are ready for a move now!
And what about owning a place?
I’m desperate to buy somewhere, we both are. We want out of the city, a little cottage with a garden on the outskirts of Edinburgh is our dream. We were nearly there however Covid-19 and the effects of that on the deposit rising from 10% to 15-20% has put that on hold for now, sadly.
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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