It turns out that housing is impossible to find in London. Gumtree is full of unregulated adverts with properties that vary from the sublime to the ridiculous.
I refuse to pay £550 a month for a box with a bed but if I pay less, I have to convince a house full of strangers that I am far more interesting/tidy/fun/quiet/clean/creative than the other 30 people who have just said exactly the same thing.
Either I am not as interesting as I think I am, which is probably true anyway, or there is something amiss within the rental housing market in London.
I have been to cocaine dens which cost more than former church rectories (I was offered the coke den, I was politely refused the church rectory). I have visited penthouse apartments on Shoreditch high street that cost less than an ex-council flat in the awful bit of Shadwell.
While it is an absolute pain for me, I understand how much housing should cost (£500 pounds.... for this!?). What about those coming to the UK for the first time or over here on work visas. There was a strong correlation between the quality of the property and how long someone has spent in the country. Landlords are getting away with murder because they can.
Does anyone have a spare room?