Rental in­san­ity: R14 000 for this room

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - BULLETIN -

lon­don’s an ex­pen­sive place to live. Every­one knows it. But now and then some­thing comes along that throws that fact into sharp relief. A cou­ple of months ago, what came along was this teeny apart­ment in Is­ling­ton. De­scribed as a ‘fully fur­nished mod­ern stu­dio’ with ‘neu­tral deco and lam­i­nated floor­boards through­out,’ the mi­nus­cule dwelling was quickly snatched up at its ask­ing price: £750. Yip, for al­most R14 000 in monthly rent you too could have the plea­sure of chop­ping your vegeta­bles from your bed and, from the looks of things, strug­gling to open your front door be­cause of its prox­im­ity to your mat­tress (the bath­room is ap­par­ently shared, and is lo­cated else­where in the build­ing).

Re­spond­ing to the out­rage the apart­ment spawned on so­cial me­dia – af­ter it be­came sym­bolic of the in­tensely in­flated rents the city’s res­i­dents en­dure – coun­cil­lors re­moved the apart­ment from the mar­ket, and in­ves­ti­gated whether the rel­e­vant plan­ning per­mis­sion had been ob­tained for the renovations. Speak­ing to The Guardian in May this year, Is­ling­ton’s hous­ing chief coun­cil­lor, James Mur­ray, said:‘The prob­lem is that peo­ple are get­ting squeezed by high pri­vate rent prices and the lack of af­ford­able hous­ing, so you get land­lords who are in a po­si­tion to ex­ploit peo­ple.’

But his ob­ser­va­tion doesn’t re­ally change the re­al­ity that the place was still a hot com­mod­ity in an over­sat­u­rated mar­ket. The rental agents said they’d re­ceived about 20 phone calls, as well as many e-mails, dur­ing the 16 hours the place was ad­ver­tised. The land­lord, An­drew Panayi, re­sponded to the brouhaha by say­ing the pho­to­graph ‘didn’t do [the place] jus­tice.’

Above A tiny liv­ing space for a gi­ant rental – a ‘stu­dio’ in Lon­don’s Is­ling­ton.

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