What I Rent: Sara and Oliver, £1,055 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Hove

Ready to take a nose inside someone’s home?

What I Rent is here to let you do just that.

For those not in the know, this is our weekly series that explores the ins and outs of renting, and sees how renters make their homes their own.

Last week, we were hanging out with Mima, who pays £695 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Folkestone, Kent.

This time around we’re in Hove, where Sara, 34, and her boyfriend Oliver rent a flat.

Sara is an influencer and vintage clothes seller, who’s originally from Stoke on Trent, but moved to London for about eight years before moving to Hove with Oliver.

We chatted with Sara about what she rents.

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

We’ve actually just had a rent increase this May (we’ve been really lucky it’s only the first since we moved into the flat in 2019) so we used to pay £975 and we now pay £1,054.95 a month.

Electricity is just over £100 a month (but dreading the drastic increase we know is coming, we’ve not had the new bill yet) water is just over £200 – every six months, I think.

And what do you get for what you pay?

I live here with my boyfriend Oliver and my little dog Stan. It’s a one-bed flat with a living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. We have a shower and a bath, which I love.

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The kitchen is quite small but to be honest I don’t mind as I’m not much of a cook.

We also have quite a bit of outdoor space which is all ours. We don’t have to share it with anyone; this is quite rare for a flat in Hove! We are on the ground floor and at the back of the property so it’s lovely and private and quiet – we have no one above us or below us, which is perfect.

Do you think you have a good deal?

Yes and no. I mean it was of course a better deal before the rent increase, but it’s quite on the small side.

The bonus is the outdoor space and the quietness of it, and of course the location. You can walk everywhere from where we are.

Whereabouts is your home based? What do you think of the area?

I live in Hove. I love the area, it’s so pretty here, It’s five minutes away from the sea – when you come out of the flat you can see it.

The area is full of cute restaurants, pubs and coffee shops and it’s only about a 15 minute walk to town.

The only downside is there is never any phone signal in Hove, and you can never get a parking space on our road.

How did you find this property?

I can’t remember exactly, I think it was one of those property websites, we looked at so many when we wanted to move I lost track and it’s so competitive here – I remember as there were so so many people after it, so in order to get the flat I had to write an email basically pitching why I wanted it and include photos of my dog, which worked. The landlady is a dog lover, which definitely went in our favour!

How have you made this place feel like home?

I’ve tried to make it full of colour, wall art, rugs, dried flowers and decorative pieces to fill up the space and brighten it up.

I feel like it feels warm and cosy in here. I tried to cover the carpet with as many rugs as possible.

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

They didn’t mind too much with putting prints on the walls but they didn’t allow us to paint it, sadly pink walls were a no-go.

I am considering using some vinyl in the kitchen to jazz it up a bit as the worktops aren’t very nice.

I would love a new bathroom to be honest too, it’s looking a bit grubby now.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

I think we’ve definitely outgrown the space now from when we first moved in, there’s not enough storage space at all, which means our long hallway has become a dumping ground for things that don’t fit anywhere.

I personally don’t have enough closet space, with my job being what it is – with the amount of clothes and shoes I have! There are shoes everywhere and I have to keep swapping things out of vacuum packed bags to save on space.

We also don’t have enough space for a dining table and have to always eat from our laps on the sofa, which isn’t ideal.

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

We did have lots of issues with mould after we moved in (Brighton and Hove is very damp) which was making all our clothes mouldy. But the landlady bought us a dehumidifier and that has luckily fixed the problem.

Our oven broke during lockdown and we managed to get a replacement straight away. Our letting agent is very on it, which is great.

Do you have plans to move again any time soon?

Yes, I want to get somewhere bigger. I would love a dining table area and I desperately need more storage space – a walk-in closet would be a dream.

Oh and I’d love somewhere with wooden floors; the carpet here seems to be a magnet for stains, which is a bit of a nightmare.

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

I would absolutely love to own somewhere one day. I’m currently trying to save as much as I can for a deposit.

It’s really hard when you don’t have financial help, and have been constantly looking, but being self-employed makes it so much harder and you don’t get much for your money here, especially after lockdown, the prices have increased a ridiculous amount.

True that. 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!).

This article contains placements with affiliate links.  We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links on these placements.

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