For ages, I’ve been posting fairly regularly – at least a couple of posts a week. You may have noticed it’s been a whole 9 days since I last posted anything, which is so unlike me. There is a reason, though… a pretty big one. My sister Emily and I are moving house!
Since we both graduated from university we’ve been living at our parents’ house. We’re 22 now (both of us – if you didn’t know, I’m a twin!) and we felt ready to find our own place. Being identical twins and best friends, we’re in pretty much inseparable so naturally, we really wanted a place together! (It also helps that neither of us have any interest whatsoever in relationships. We might live together till we’re 90.)
I’m going to write about the whole process – who knows, if you’re thinking of renting a house for the first time (in the UK – no idea how it works elsewhere), it might be useful for you!
Finding a House
We knew we wanted to rent (no way do we want to be tied down by a mortgage – plus there’s no chance in hell we’d get one) but the houses are so limited. It’s weird because we live in a city, but there are hardly any 2-bedroom houses to rent! After months of casually looking for one on sites like Rightmove and Zoopla as well as straight through estate agents’ websites, we found a 2-bedroom house only a mile and a half down the road for £450 a month. When we went to view it, we loved it and kind of made a split decision an hour later to sign for it. Aaaah!
We didn’t realise how much we’d actually need before we could even sign for the place. We needed references, bank statements, ID, proof of address, proof of eligibility to live in the UK… so much stuff. It took a while to get it all together. (It took even longer because my sister works as a Teaching Assistant, and getting a reference from the County Council is harder than we thought.) But we eventually got it all and sent it off, and soon after, we were told we could arrange a time to get the keys and sign the contracts!
Collecting the Keys
We went to get the keys after Emily finished work and we were so excited! I started to forget what some parts of the house were like, it’d been so long. Plus our step-dad wasn’t there for the viewing so we couldn’t wait to show him around. It only took half an hour or so to read and sign the contract (tip: read this carefully – you don’t want to be caught out by anything), pay what we needed to pay (a bond and first month’s rent) and collect the keys. Then we were on our way to go and see our house!
Maaajor Disappointment… 🙁
When we got to the house, we went in and noticed a few bits of furniture in the living room, despite the ads saying it was unfurnished. We weren’t bothered at first – maybe the last tenant left bits he didn’t want. Free furniture! But as we looked around, we noticed more and more stuff. A hat on the banister, a bashed up vacuum cleaner. That was just the start.
The kitchen was filthy and the bathroom was even worse. There were cups, plates, pans and all sorts still left, crumbs and grease all over the kitchen, and kitchen appliances that we would never want to touch, let alone put our food in. The fridge was mouldy around the edges and the cooker looked like it hadn’t been cleaned – well, ever. The bathroom was just the same – cotton buds everywhere, random toiletries, even clothes and towels on the radiator. We were devastated.
We went upstairs to look at the bedrooms and there was a double bed in each room, and a third double bed standing up on its end. Why the heck were there 3 beds in a 2-bedroom house??! All the furniture was left and we found a bag, bedding and clothes just dumped. There was also a desk that fell apart when we touched it. We were baffled and upset that the house wasn’t how we’d expected.
Getting It Sorted
Our superhero mum phoned the estate agent to complain, and at first they tried to fob us off with excuses. “Oh, the toiletries are there in case anyone could use them.” (Ew, what?) “Yeah, the house is part-furnished. All the stuff is the landlord’s. It’s been there for years.” Eventually, they listened to us when we said it’s not acceptable and they organised for someone to come round the next morning to have a look.
While Emily was in work, my mum and I went back to the house. By this point, we’d stacked everything that wasn’t ours in one corner of the room (it literally filled about a third of the open-plan living/dining room). Leanne, the lady who came to look, was disgusted. She phoned the estate agents and asked what to do with it all, and we ended up chucking everything in black bags which she threw into the boot of her car.
She arranged with their handyman guy to come and remove the third bed and the broken desk. (Oh, later on, we also found out the bath is leaking. Hopefully he’ll fix that too.) She told us that the landlord would come at some point and take away the gross oven and fridge/freezer, and we agreed that we’d just replace them ourselves. It means we can take them with us then whenever we move on. Leanne was amazing – we’re so happy she sorted everything out for us. We were so close to cancelling our rent and finding somewhere else to go already!
We spent almost the whole day yesterday cleaning the bathroom and kitchen and vaccuming the living room floor. With most of the junk gone and the place looking a bit cleaner, it looks amazing already! It’ll take a lot more TLC before we’re ready to move anything in, but we’re getting there. It kind of feels like a bit of a project.
We’re both juggling sorting the house out with our pretty much full-time jobs, so it’s exhausting. Our mum is helping out every single day though – she’s there right now actually, finishing off the kitchen and moving a few bits in. We’ve ordered a new washing machine and oven which are due to arrive next week, sorted all of our bills (the all-important Wi-Fi will be installed by 2nd August), and we’re slowly getting it to how we want it! We had our first meal in the house last night (chips from the chippy, which we ate sitting on the living room floor) and I can’t wait to start moving things in.
I guess there are a few positives to the furniture being left. There’s a TV stand in the living room, some nice glass boards left in the kitchen, and we both have a double bed already in our rooms. We’ll clean them thoroughly and we’ve bought extra thick mattress protectors for them, just to be safe. I have a wardrobe already in my room too, with tons of storage space. The money we save on not having to buy bedroom furniture, we can use on kitchen appliances instead. Not exactly part of our plan, but it’s worked out quite well!
Question: Do We Start a Home Blog?
We’re both tempted to start a new blog for house updates. It’d mainly be fun for us to keep a record of it, but it might be fun for you to read too! We’d post things like:
- Room transformations – before & afters
- First time renting tips
- Rented home decorating tips (decorating without damaging walls/floors, and covering up unsightly bits of carpet, wall marks, etc)
- Recipes we cook in our new kitchen
- Budgeting advice
- Homewear hauls
- Plus more!
If this sounds like something you’d like to read, please let me know! Comment on this post or tweet me (@wbookishblog).
Either way, I’ll update you on the progress of the house and share some photos when it’s looking less gross. I’m excited to get everything finished so we can move in! I’ll miss my cats and my dog like craaaaazy, but we’ll have to come back and see them regularly.
I hope you’ve liked reading this little (long) life update – I didn’t mean for it to turn into an essay! (Seriously, I’ve written uni essays shorter than this.) I’ll be back to regular bookish posting soon, hopefully!