Friday, March 28, 2008

Being homeless is cheaper

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?