It’s time once again for What I Rent, our weekly series that sees what people get for what they pay in rent and bills.
Last Tuesday, we were nosing around a two-bedroom flat in Cape Town, South Africa.
This week, we’re in Folkestone, Kent, with Mima, 29, a social media manager for holiday property company Coolstays.
Having grown up in Maidstone in Kent, Mima moved around the county a bit before spending some time in London, and a year in Vietnam.
She moved to Folkestone just over a year ago after getting her job, which is completely remote.
‘I’d always wanted to live by the sea, so here I am,’ Mima tells Metro.co.uk. ‘I live on my own. its something I always wanted to do as having my own space is something I really value and to me is worth the extra expense.’
Here’s what Mima rents.
Hi, Mima! How much do you pay to live here?
I pay £695 in rent. Council tax is just under £100, gas/electric is £67 and water is £24 and I pay £26 for high-speed broadband, essential since I work from home.
So in total £912 each month, which is a big chunk of my pay, but worth it for my own space.
And what do you get for your rent?
It’s a flat with one bedroom, a big living room, a kitchen and a bathroom.
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Do you feel like you have a good deal?
Definitely. I have friends paying a lot more than what I pay for my whole flat, for a room in a houseshare in London.
Whereabouts is your home based? What do you think of the area?
My flat is right in the middle of Folkestone, which I love. It’s in what you would call the ‘old town’ – my front door has a big plaque over it because it’s the birthplace of William Harvey, the guy who discovered blood circulation, which is quite cool.
I can walk everywhere so hardly ever need my car. The sea is literally five minutes away and I live just on the edge of what’s known as the Creative Quarter, which is full of independent bars, coffee shops, etc, so there is a really nice vibe.
Being here in the summer is amazing as the Harbour is full of street food vans and always has events on.
How did you find the flat?
Just searching on Rightmove! I applied for a few flats in and around Margate initially but kept losing out – I think because I would have be a sole occupant rather than a couple.
I don’t think the pictures did this flat justice though, I almost canceled the viewing because didn’t think it looked that nice and Folkestone wasn’t really where I wanted to be. It couldn’t have worked out better though.
How have you made this place feel like home?
This is the first place I’ve had to myself and it came completely unfurnished so I did struggle to make it feel like home! I moved in with just a bed, a fridge and a desk, building the rest of my furniture up over time.
The living room was a big, hollow space for ages before I sorted out a sofa and some shelves etc. I had lived here for about five months before I even got a tv.
But now I’m building up a decent collection of knick-knacks and just adding loads of plants.
Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?
The property company are great actually, it’s a very standard agreement just to not leave any marks behind, fill and repaint any holes in the wall etc.
I haven’t actually got around to putting anything up on the walls though. It’s on my to-do list.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
In terms of rooms, yes. I would love a bit more storage.
There is one cupboard in the bathroom that is supposed to be for a washing machine but has turned into my junk cupboard. Anything that doesn’t have an obvious home gets shoved in there. It’s like Monica’s messy cupboard in Friends.
Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with?
Being in the centre of town it can get quite noisy. I live opposite a pub so there is always some rowdiness at the weekend.
I get woken up at about 5am on Mondays and Thursdays by the violent smashing of glass bottles being collected by the bin men, which is probably my biggest pet peeve.
It’s also an old building, so wonky floors and single glazed windows. My drawers in my room are constantly sliding open by themselves and it takes quite a bit to heat, so I usually just opt for my dry robe and a hot water bottle instead of putting the heating on – especially now!
Do you have plans to move again?
My contract is up in September and ideally, I would stay here. This is the eighth place I’ve lived in the last 10 years so it would be nice to stay put for a while.
But with the cost of living skyrocketing, I think I need to weigh up the financial benefits of living with someone else against how much I love my own space.
My best friend and I have talked about moving in together, which would be a great compromise.
Do you want to own a place some day or are you happy to rent?
Obviously, I would love to own my own place eventually, but realistically I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
I do like the freedom renting gives to up and move fairly easily too, so for now it suits me.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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