5 ways to make your rental property feel like home

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One of the things about moving into a rental property is the fact it can often feel quite impersonal. In London, many of the flatshare properties are already furnished and decorated, giving you no chance to express your individual style. Often there are clauses in the rental contract about not making holes in walls, not painting, etc. But it doesn’t have to be that way – even in a shared house, you can find ways to make it feel more homely.

Person enjoying their new rental property
  1. Smaller soft furnishings are great for taking from house to house. Cushions, rugs, lampshades and even window blinds can easily be moved to different houses to give it a sense of your own style. They can add colour and can be swapped out for a new look if you get bored.
  2. House plants are a great way to add colour to your home and are perfect if you live in an apartment. Not only are they versatile, but they clean the air and reduce levels of pollution. If you’re living in busy London, that might be just what you need.
  3. Your own bedding can really make a difference to your room – especially if that is the only personal space you have in your home. 2 or 3 sets of bright, fun bedding that can be rotated while being washed, is perfect for brightening up the room.
  4. Fairy lights and lamps are a great way to add ambience – especially if you are not allowed to use candles in your property. Fairy lights are not just for Christmas and are a low-cost way to add lighting to a room that might be served by downlighters or bare central light fixtures. Small table lamps are also ideal for those romantic moments.
  5. Wall transfers are brilliant for rental properties. These wall stickers can be applied to painted walls and easily removed without causing damage. Sometimes they are designs or words or you can even get pictures like maps. Don’t forget that pictures can be hung with removable hooks too.

House sharing in London is great and ideal for anyone new to the city. Making your house feel like a home is one of the best ways to enjoy your new adventure and there are so many cheap and fun ways to do it.

Anyone who has ever wanted to rent a property in London will know that there are a huge number of barriers in the way. Properties are often very expensive, they can be located in areas that are far from being central and it can be hit and miss as to whether you get a good landlord. It can be very easy to wonder if London is for you at all. But… what if you could find a property that you can trust and one you can afford? Read on to find out how.

You normally have the choice between a privately rented property or one that is offered through an agency. There are lots of reasons why private may not be the way to go.

Rogue landlords

While you would be very unlucky to come across one, so-called rogue landlords have become a problem in London over the last few years. In fact, the Mayor of London and the London Assembly have set up a Rogue Landlord checker so that potential tenants can check and make sure their landlord is on the level. Rogue landlords either offer properties that do not actually exist, that do not meet minimum standards or they fail to carry out essential administration such as placing deposits in holding schemes. All of this means that you as a tenant can be out of pocket.

Lazy landlords

Private landlords are regulated by the same rules as agencies, however, they tend not to be as good at keeping up with what they should be doing. While they mean well, you may find that they forget to do essential work such as yearly gas-safe checks, fire alarm fittings, and property inspections. They might be hard to locate when you have a problem, leaving you with no recourse should you have an issue that needs resolving quickly.

Expensive landlords

Private renting can often be more expensive than an agency. This is because a private landlord may be willing to overlook poor credit or an unstable income. But they will charge more rent to be more accommodating to a checkered financial history. It is always better to be financially prepared before you decide to rent – it could actually save you money.

Why flat-sharing makes good sense

So, we have established that a private landlord might be a problem. Is flat sharing the answer? We think so. Not only do you get a property that is fully managed and looked after by a professional company – you get a home that is cheaper than average and with the bonus of instant friends! You can trust that your shared flat rented through a reputable agency like ours, will meet all of the required legislation and will be a simple and trouble-free transaction. When you are moving to a new city, that kind of peace of mind is hard to buy.

We all know that gas and electricity are expensive and that each year they seem to increase more. If you happen to live in a city like London, where rents are especially high, you are going to want to keep those energy bills as low as possible. Switching utility suppliers is one of the best ways to keep one step ahead of the market and to avoid hefty bills, even when the weather starts to get extra chilly.

According to the gas and electricity regulator Ofgem, 2.03 million UK households switched energy supplier in just the first 6 months of 2019. Government figures also show that most households could save £200 every year if they switched to the best deal for their needs. Some households could even save as much as £300. That’s enough for a pretty awesome night out for you and your friends and you could earn it in just ten minutes.

Why switch?

One of the best reasons for switching is the savings you could make. But there’s more too:

  • Some suppliers offer special deals like cashback and free goodies.
  • There are many suppliers that offer cleaner fuel options that make them more sustainable. You could help the planet by switching to them.
  • Some suppliers will give you a smart meter to help you keep track of your usage.

How to switch

The process of switching energy suppliers in London is easy and very fast. There are a number of comparison sites available to make the process easy and utility companies are expected by the government to make switching trouble-free for their customers. If they fail to do so, they can be fined. The switching process tends to go like this:

  • Log into a comparison site and enter your details – your address, your current cost of energy (if you have it) and a few other details like what appliances you have and how often you take a shower (!). You’ll also be asked about the type of deal you want such as online only, dual fuel or sustainable.
  • You will be given a list of options. You simply choose the best for your needs based on criteria like cost, how the account is operated, if you need to read your own meter and the mix of fuel sources that they use.
  • Simply click on your choice and you will be taken to their site. You might need to add a few more details.
  • Now just wait. The suppliers will take care of the rest and within around 10 days you will have switched. You also have the right to back out if you have changed your mind.

Switching is easy and in London there are many utility suppliers to choose from, so you’ll have access to some great deals. London might be cold in the winter – but at least you know you can turn on the heating without it costing a fortune.

Moving into a new house or flat-sharing property is fraught with issues. First, you need to find a place you can afford in an area that you like and then you need to find housemates that you actually get on with. The chances of finding all of the things you need are slim and usually you’ll need to compromise on something. Here at Like Minded Living we don’t believe in compromises when it comes to flat-sharing. After all, this is the place that you will come home to each evening after a long day at work or school to relax. So, we thought hard about it and have put in place a number of ways to match up our flat-sharers to ensure your home is harmonious. It can’t be perfect, but we think our process of working out the best combinations of people are pretty good.  

It starts with the location

We have properties in a number of London locations and of course, this is the first criteria you will have in common with your flat-sharers. Everyone living in your home will have chosen the location because they work or study nearby – but also because it suits their lifestyle. In this way, you are all already alike.  

Age counts

We do our very best to match our flat share’s by age. This means that you are unlikely to be living with someone much older or younger than you. The majority of our tenants are millennials with the same interests – so this part is easy for us! As you are all the same age, you can socialise together too.  

Cultures are important too

We get that it can make you feel more at home if there is someone in your home who shares your culture or language. This can mean that you have someone to show you around who already knows what it is like to live in a new area.  

It’s what you do

We also do our best to match  flat sharers who do similar jobs or who are studying. By keeping workers and students separate we avoid the issues of those who stay up all night, disturbing those who have to go to bed and get up early. We all know that the life of a student is quite different to that of a worker. So we try to take this into account.  

The Like Minded community

Our flat-sharers also socialise with other Like-Minded tenants across London. Being a part of the community forum means that you can find people who are new to London and who will probably have shared interests. Its a great way to settle in and to find friends, so get in touch to find out how our process can help you.

It’s a chicken and egg situation… you need experience to get a good job, but you can’t get the job you need to get that experience. It can make you feel a bit stuck! Internships are one great way to pick up some experience and in London, there are some excellent options for short term, Summer internships with some impressive companies.

What is an internship?

An internship is a short term placement with an employer for the purposes of gaining experience in a certain sector. In the UK interns are almost always paid at least the minimum wage (sometimes more) and they take place during the Summer university breaks. Ideally, you want to get an internship with a company that you are interested in for a long term role.

Many companies use interns as part of the recruitment process – allowing them to check out your skills before deciding to hire you on a permanent basis. They might also offer training and work schemes to allow you to combine your university work with your internship.

How to get an internship in London

Yes, good internships exist – but getting one might feel like the proverbial needle in a haystack. But there are a few tricks you can have up your sleeve to push you to the front of the queue.

  • Use a specialised agency. Many of these exist across London and they work with companies specifically on finding the right candidates for internships. Make sure you are registered with all of those that work in your niche.
  • Call companies direct. If you have an idea of where you would like to work, try giving them a direct call. They may have special programs they can let you know about or they might take you up on it.
  • Check company websites. Many London workplaces will have information for prospective internships on their websites.
  • Talk to your university careers officer. Universities work hard to make connections with companies offering work experience placements.
  • Talk to friends and family. Business owners that you already know might not have thought about an intern until you cheekily mention it to them.

Once you have your foot through the door, you really need to make sure that this 6-week placement works for you. Ask questions, get noticed, challenge yourself and work hard. You might just find that when you are ready, you have a job waiting for you.

London is known as one of the most interesting, exciting and historical cities in the world. However, it is also one of the most expensive. If you are a student, in your first job or working your way up the ladder, you might struggle to afford basic rent in London. But you do have options. Flat sharing might be right up your street (so to speak!). London Assembly states that a simple one bedroom flat or house in London can cost anything from £775 to £2,155 per month. The closer you choose to live to where the action is (bars, restaurants, shopping, theatres), the more expensive it will be. If you want some outdoor space, you can expect to have to pay even more. There seems to be a premium on having fun in London, but there are ways to get around this. Flat sharing is the perfect way to reduce this huge cost and give you back some of your monthly pay to spend on much better things. What is a flat share? A flat share is simply a home where you can rent a room and have access to communal spaces such as the kitchen, bathrooms and a living area. Because the cost of the rent is split across all occupants it works out much cheaper and you can even afford a little bit of luxury. According to the property magazine Home & Property, the average room rent in central London is around £750 – and you get a lot for your money. The benefits of flat sharing
  • It is much (much!) cheaper. Not only is your rent split, but the bills and even food costs can be spread across everyone in the house.
  • You get to hang out with like-minded people. Everyone is there for the same reason – to work, have fun and enjoy London life. You have a ready-made social life.
  • You will be able to enjoy a level of luxury and location that you may not have had access to. This can mean an ensuite, a garden or balcony, a large kitchen with all of the mod-cons.
  • Your travel costs can be reduced. Travel in London is fast and easy, but it can add to your monthly costs. So, the closer you can get to the centre of the city (and your workplace) the cheaper that will be.
  • Flatshare houses are often more flexible. You can stay for shorter periods of time (maybe just term time) and may not be locked into a long 12-month rental.
  • You can share the burden of keeping your home clean and tidy (or share the cost of a cleaner, if that gives makes shudder!).
London life doesn’t have to mean living in a grotty bedsit (although the struggling musician in you might find this appealing!). You can have a decent home for an affordable price. Like-Minded Living offers a range of flatshare options. Get in touch to find out more.
The following might be kinda depressing so shut your ears if you are easily triggered…  According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) around 31% of graduates are overeducated for the job they are currently doing. In London in particular, 25% of graduates can expect to do a job they are overqualified for. If your degree is in the arts or humanities, this statistic rises even more.  The fact is that the very expensive degree you have just worked incredibly hard for may not have set you up for your dream London graduate job. You are going to have to be tenacious to land the job you deserve and in London that is both more possible than elsewhere and possibly, much more lucrative in the long term.   We have a 4-point plan for you to land a graduate role and be able to make the most of living in the best city in the world.  University resources  The plan begins before you leave your University. Talk to careers advisors about your CV, where you should be applying and ask them for the right advice to get a head start. If you start applying before your peers, you already have an advantage.  Graduate schemes  One of the first things your careers advisor is going to suggest is that you look for graduate schemes with companies you are interested in. This is great advice – but you can go further. Graduate schemes with companies you may not have thought of might be worthwhile too. For example an English Lit graduate may not have thought about a scheme with an accountancy firm. But they are looking for people with a depth and range of skills for a huge range of departments. Your skills may crossover in ways you haven’t thought about.  Job fairs/Job boards  In the run up to your graduation there will be a plethora of job fairs you can attend. These are great ways to meet potential employers and to give a good first impression. Focus on those held in London as these will attract local companies. Attend armed with copies of your CV and pay attention to your appearance. You can also use simple job boards and recruitment agencies to register your interest in graduate jobs. There are some that are dedicated to this area.  Temping/Internships/Work experience  If you haven’t managed to land your dream job just yet, it is time to take a few risks. If you are willing to work for a low (or no) initial salary or as a temp, you can get your foot in the door. You need the financial backing to help with this, but internships and temping roles can look great on your CV.  The key to gaining a graduate role in London is to never give up. Even if you are working in a coffee shop for now, that perfect job is waiting for you.
We all have to start somewhere and if you are a student, just moved out of home or just started your first job in London, you probably wonder what on earth a flat share is? It’s a reasonable question, but the clue is in the name. Put (very!) simply, it is the sharing of accommodation with other people – sometimes a flat, but not always.   According to WorkGateways, the average price of a one bedroom flat in London can range from £720 per month to a hefty £960. For anyone just starting out in their career or studying, that can be a huge chunk of their take-home pay. The chances are that the property will be small, not ideally located and highly sought after (making the application process lengthy and expensive).   So, given all of the above, it is easy to see why we might choose a flat share option. But understanding what it is (and what it isn’t) is the first place to start.   What is a flat share?   flat share   A flat share is when 2 or more people share a property in order to reduce the cost of accommodation. Usually, you can expect some or all of the following:  
  • Your own room which may or may not be furnished.
  • Access to communal spaces such as a living room and kitchen.
  • The use of a bathroom. You may be lucky to have an en-suite, but often it is shared facilities.
  • Shared access to any outdoor spaces such as gardens and balconies.
  • You will normally sign your own individual letting contract which details the amount you are expected to contribute to the rent. However, you are also usually liable for the entire rent – something to bear in mind if your housemates are unreliable.
  • You will sometimes share the utility expenses evenly with everyone living in the property or it may be included in the rent.
  • A flat share is open to almost anyone – students, couples, older people and people only in the city for a short time. It’s flexible and suits a range of people.
  • You can make up your own rules about food, eating in, having friends over and keeping the place tidy. The hope is that as adults, you can all sort it out. Not always easy – but definitely fun!
  If this sounds like something you’d be interested in you can take a look at our currently available properties here   What a flat share is not…   A flat share is not a shared ownership arrangement or a shared mortgage. You are not buying the house… just renting it. A flat share is also not an excuse to let other people look after you. You are autonomous and expected to do your share. A flat share is also not just a house of multiple occupancies – the aim is to have more of a community and friendship feel.   As you can see flat sharing is a pretty simple concept – but we will be going into a lot more depth over the next few blogs, so that you understand flat sharing inside and out.
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