Rental insanity: R14 000 for this room
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.