What I Rent: Chloe and Ross, £875 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Brighton

After a brief coronavirus-induced hiatus, What I Rent is back.

For those who aren’t familiar, What I Rent is our weekly series exploring the reality of renting.

Each week we have a nose around someone’s rented property and ask them about their experiences – the great, the bad, and the truly awful.

This time around we’re in Brighton with finance assistant Chloe, 22, and her boyfriend Ross, 23, an asbestos surveyor.

After graduating from university, Chloe and Ross decided to move in together and have rented this one-bedroom flat since September.

As well as chatting with us, the couple are sharing their experience of renting – and photos of their interiors – over on a dedicated Instagram.

We chatted with Chloe about she and Ross have made their rented flat feel like home.

How much do you pay to live here?

Our rent is £875 per month with roughly an additional £200 including council tax for bills.

And what do you get for that price?

There’s four rooms in total, a kitchen, a living room, one bedroom and one bathroom. 

Do you think you have a good deal?

I think for this area we have a really good deal. When we were looking for a place round here to live, it was very difficult to find a home of this quality for this price, a lot of them started at the £950 mark. 

How did you find the flat?

We found it on Rightmove after frantically searching – a lot of apartments here go almost as quickly as they are put up on Rightmove.

We would book with an estate agent at the start of the week to view several properties at the weekend and by the middle of the week many would already have gone.

How have you made this place feel like home?

When we arrived the property was unfurnished so it provided us with a blank canvas to reflect our own personalities.

We went for neutral larger furnishings such as a grey sofa and then brightened the rooms by adding pops of colour, for example through cushions, vases and plant pots.

We also love houseplants and feel as though they make a house homely and lived in so we try to have them in every room. We failed as plant parents at first – our tropical plants didn’t last very long so we went for a mix of artificial plants and hard-to-kill real plants.

Art is also really important to us and a lot of the art that we have in the house is meaningful to us, for example, in the lounge we have prints that Ross was given for his 21st birthday and prints that I have collected while on holiday.

It can be difficult to decorate whilst renting. The only major change that we have made is painting the bathroom wall from blue to white. Our landlord was really quick to respond to our request to do this and was happy to let us go ahead.

Even so, we avoid doing anything which would cause any damage to the apartment. Command hanging strips have become our best friend and we use them to hang up our prints and mirrors.

When you rent, you are always aware that there are limits to what you can do. I would love to have different tiles around the fireplace or different kitchen worktops however I feel like our landlord might not be as willing for us to go ahead with much larger changes like this.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

Definitely! For the two of us there is more than enough space here. Our apartment is one floor of a converted Victorian house so we have high ceilings and windows, which work well to let in a lot of light and make the rooms feel large. We also use a few tricks ourselves to make the rooms feel larger, for example, by adding mirrors. 

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

When we first moved in, our first neighbour wasn’t too great (very loud and would wake us up in the night). Luckily, since they moved out, new neighbours have come in and they are really nice. 

Do you have plans to move again?

Yes, although we love it here, we hope to move to London in the future. 

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

The end goal is definitely to buy our own place.

Renting is great because it gives you a lot of flexibility and with it being the first time we had lived together, this flexibility was important as we didn’t want the commitment of a mortgage.

However, we would like to have the stability of owning our own home and the ability to make changes to our home without having to ask for permission. 

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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