Housing

What’s your experience of renting in London?

"One day we got a phone call, and the bailiffs were there. The guy who owned the flat wasn’t paying his mortgage payments. We had to get out within the hour"

Hackney in East London is at the center of the UK's housing crisis. “Average prices in the borough are well over half a million pounds,” a local MP, Meg Hillier, told the Hackney Gazette recently. “Rent is soaring, with overcrowding and demand for social housing the highest seen in 20 years."

Hackney is also where Economy's office is based. So we went out to ask people how they feel about living in London, what their experience of renting is, and how they think the housing crisis could be fixed.

Cassandra

Cassandra

"For people with jobs it’s easier to rent and get a place in London. But for the people that don’t have a job and don’t have any benefits coming to them, it’s extremely hard.

I was homeless, but I got a place in a hostel. I was so happy, it was like heaven. They’re shutting hostels down when they should be building more – I know people who are stuck on the streets for weeks, months, years. But we keep going, we keep striving in the hope that someday we’ll get somewhere. All you’ve got to do is have faith."

I’m born and bred in this area, it’s like they’re pushing us out because we can’t afford it.

"I think the government should make housing more affordable for the people that are from these areas. I’m born and bred in this area and it’s like they’re pushing us out because we can’t afford it."

James

Explores Rent - Asks - James

"If you’re on minimum wage you can’t afford to live round here. It’s not just rent. You have bills to pay, you have to travel to and from work – you’d end up working 60 hours a week just to afford basic things. But I don’t know how you’d change that. There’s not much space to build more – unless you start knocking down houses to build flats, but at the moment it feels like they’re knocking down tower blocks to build more tower blocks. It doesn’t seem like a good use of time."

 

I rented for about a month, but it just wasn’t sustainable

"I live with my girlfriend’s mum. I rented for about a month, I was working 60 hours a week, and it wasn’t sustainable. I’m in a lucky situation, my girlfriend’s mum has right to buy on her flat. We’re going to pool our resources to buy it."

Steven

Explores Rent - Asks - Steven

"My wife and I aren’t from London. We moved down here about eight or nine years ago, but I think we’re going to move away either this year or next year. We’re at the age where we need a bigger house and it’s just never going to happen here. My wife’s a primary school teacher and I work for the council. It’s never going to be realistic to afford that. We rent a two bed flat in Walthamstow. It’s quite small – no garden. We pay £1200 a month. I’ve been fairly lucky. We’ve had decent flats."

We got a phone call and the bailiffs were there. The guy who owned the flat wasn’t paying his mortgage payments, he was just pocketing the rent. The flat got repossessed. We had to get all our stuff out within an hour.

"I once had a bad experience where I was staying with a friend. One day we just got a phone call and the bailiffs were there. The guy who owned the flat wasn’t paying his mortgage payments, he was just pocketing the rent. The flat got repossessed, but obviously no one knew because none of the letters were going to the tenants. We had to get all our stuff out within an hour."

Martin

Martin

"If you move into an apartment or a house or something you need to pay the rent. If you’re not getting benefits who’s going to pay the rent? It's your own responsibility, you have to get up off your arse and sort it out. But sometimes it doesn't work like that – people's money gets suspended, they get told they're fit for work and they're not."

I lost my flat because someone was taking drugs in it, and he died. And I was evicted for antisocial behaviour. So now I’m stuck in a hostel.

"I used to have a two bedroom flat but now I live in a hostel. I know the apple. I lost my flat because someone was taking drugs in it, and he died. And I was evicted for antisocial behaviour. So now I’m stuck in a f*cking hostel. That’s the story, I’m going backwards rather than forwards. I’m just pissed off."

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Reader Comments

  • Νιckary

    What is this practice whereby anyone over the age of 40-50 and above is not employable? Especially if such loss of income is the result of mismanagement, corruption, incompetence etc by Banks and Government and Private Companies, occurred under the recent crisis, that affected most Countries and every household. The employee is not responsible for the Bank loses and the overflown of employment in State departments and State businesses leading to excessive borrowing by stupid politicians.
    I am living in Cyprus, I arrived here when I was 50, I made over 100 applications for employment in various positions I picked up from magazines and newspaper advertisements. No luck, just a couple of interviews and we will let you know when we go through all applications from all candidates. I am still waiting!. Then I found out the real problem is age. The Government introduced lately a scheme to subsidise employers to hire older people, long term unemployed (since the 2010 crisis) with the amount of 700 E for one year. The 700 shall discontinue after the year. Therefore, the employer shall be subsidised and he can pay any amount agreed with the employee over the 700 E. Yet so far no employer has hired any one in that age bracket! So much for social responsibility. Any comments from any one?. People in their 50’s with skills, experiences, etc should really be forced to retire and wait for their pension money (if any) at 65. Imagine you have to pay rent, electricity, water, petrol, insurances for vehicles, Municipal fees, food for the month and carry out maintenance on the car if you are unlucky or replace tires! Why can’t people work freely as they want?