What I Rent: Daisy and Fred, £1,350 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Hackney

It’s time for What I Rent, our weekly series taking an honest look at the ins and outs of renting.

This time around we’re nosing around the property rented by Daisy Spain, 27, an interior designer, and her boyfriend Fred, 28, a multidisciplinary designer.

The couple spent four years living on a canalboat together, cruising from west London to east London, but last year they settled in Hackney, renting a flat on land after selling their boat.

We spoke to Daisy about the flat the couple call home, and her experiences in the world of renting.

Hi, Daisy! How much do you and Fred pay to live here?

We pay £1,350 per month for the flat and around £200 for bills.

Pre-Covid we had a cleaner come biweekly for an additional £50 a month, which was a clause in the rental agreement.

And what do you get for what you pay?

It is technically just three rooms; bedroom, bathroom and living room. We have great high ceilings so It makes the flat feel a lot more spacious than it actually is.

We added a desk in the hall way to create an office space, it has natural light with a skylight and it nice to keep it separate from the living and bedroom spaces.

Do you think you have a good deal?

Given the current housing market, I think the price is fair for the area and quality of the flat.

How did you find the flat?

I found the flat through a website called openrent.co.uk, its where private landlords can post their listings rather than going through an estate agent.

Prior to the boat we rented through estate agents and I found that it took a long time for anything to get fixed and they were more expensive.

Luckily, we found a great landlord who trusts us and we have a great relationship with, it was important for them to have a good fit for the flat and someone who will look after it.

What do you think of the area?

We live in Hackney and we love it! We used to moor the boat on Hackney and Walthamstow marshes and it quickly became our favourite spot, so we knew this area was for us when moving back onto dry land.

We love how green the area is, great pubs, restaurants and good transport links for work. Most of our closest friends also live in Hackney, it’s great to be able to walk to see them rather than having to get public transport. It feels like we live in a large village community rather than a busy London borough.

How have you made the flat feel like home?

The flat came furnished, and luckily our landlord has good taste! We have added a couple of pieces of our own furniture and accessories to style the space.

I redesigned the layout of the living area to create ‘zones’ of living, dining and kitchen making it more functional.

I learnt from designing the canal boat that every bit of space counts when it comes to small spaces. The hallway was redundant before adding the desk to create an office, now it gets used daily and is more than just a walkway between rooms.

Have you found it difficult to decorate while renting?

With everything being painted white it’s quite easy for the mid-century Scandinavian style.

I haven’t asked the landlord if I can make any large changes, the cost would not be necessary for us as who knows how long we will rent here.

I would love to redo the bathroom, it definitely needs a bit of TLC!

Do you feel like you have enough space?

It would be great to have another bedroom for a spare room and office for family and friends to visit. We spend a lot of time here as we both work from home (even before Covid!) however compared to the canal boat we appreciate the space we have, just to have a washing machine and running toilet is a luxury!

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

The oven has broken a couple of times. We organised for it to be fixed and our landlord just transferred us the money. I think it’s easier that way as we can chase to make sure it’s fixed as quickly as possible.

We also had the boiler play up slightly this summer, it was quite old so our landlord had it replaced the next week.

Not having to fork out the money for expensive appliances breaking is the best thing about renting, we struggled with many issues on the boat so we love not having that worrying factor when renting.

Do you have plans to move again? Do you want to buy a home or are you happy renting?

In the future yes, we are comfortable at the moment but definitely want to buy a place of our own. We are currently biding our time to jump onto the ladder when the time is right.

We definitely want to be investing in a property instead of renting, who wouldn’t?
I’m always on the look out for a personal project and would love an old home to renovate.

We even looked at building our own house a couple of years ago, so when the time is right I’m sure we will find a new project to sink our teeth into.

But for now, we are enjoying the hassle-free renting lifestyle!

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 whatirent@metro.co.uk. 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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