Renting in London: Does the Ideal Flatmate exist?


Me at one of the many dinner parties we hosted 

When I was young, naïve and unaware, I used to picture myself living in an insane flat, in Central London, completely on my own by the age of 23 without a care in the world.

I’d watched Bridget Jones Diary over a hundred times, where she has a spacious flat in Borough Market on a seemingly low budget, and people moaning about London being expensive must be mad.

It’s funny because when you’re young, you’ve really no concept of money at all and these things seem completely possible. In films, we’ve seen the likes of BJ be able to afford to live in a flat which in reality would be about £3,000 per month to rent, or across the pond, Carrie Bradshaw lives in an incredible apartment in Manhattan on a writers budget…

The reality, both in London and across the pond, is that the most viable option for people moving to the city is having a flat share.

I moved when I was 19 to a city I didn’t know, with no job and little stability – and it was finding the perfect place which gave me a level of stability. It was also a case that I had initially moved with a boyfriend so when I found myself in this amazing city, I actually had no friends in London. They were still at home so it wasn’t going to be a case of moving in with my friends from home when things took a turn for the worst and I found myself needing to move out.

But eventually, I moved into a great place in Tooting Bec with two complete strangers thinking we’d rarely talk, it would be marginally uncomfortable and perhaps, at times, awkward. I had no experience in the house share world... but after all, you’re living with strangers – right?

In fact – it couldn’t have been more different. I moved in with two people who I didn’t know from someone walking down the road, and weirdly they quickly became my lifelines in a city that can be so lonely.

These two flatmates quickly became two friends, two friends quickly became a friendship group of people all across London from different walks of life. I met people who worked in large corporations, people who were writers, freelancers, actors, singers…and it was amazing, eye-opening and just incredibly welcoming.

Weekday nights were spent binge watching anything from Love Island to Black Mirror, weekends were spent hosting dinner parties or wine & cheese nights and the gaps in between were spent chilling with each other, and eventually with the friends I’d made through these people.

In fact, my best friend is a friend of my former housemate’s best friend and since we met at a house party, which essentially was me queuing for the toilet to be sick after having too much lethal punch and dragging her in with me despite not really knowing her, we’ve been great friends and I fully expect to be friends for life.

Being part of a house share was actually miles from the hell I’d imagine, and actually became the first time in London I’d felt “at home away from home”. They were the people there for you if you’d been through yet another fuck boy, the people who you can go to the local with to do a pub quiz or go for a run with, the ones you can have a quick dinner with after a particularly stressful day.

In fact when I found out my ex had cheated on me, the first thing I did was go upstairs, wake up my housemate and cry to him. Because when you're in a flat share, there is always someone there.

And that evening, both of my housemates put their plans on hold in order for us all to go out to the local pub. It's funny because you meet these strangers, you meet their families (I have met the families of all of my previous housemates) and their friends, and some how they just become part of your life, and within time it becomes hard to remember what life was like without these people.
And whilst now, I live on my own and love it, I have days where I miss coming home to people, having a laugh and the spontaneous nights out. I have days where I miss all the fun of having a sleepover, but the benefit of having your own space.
It is truly one of the best experiences – and it’s not just me that thinks this, nor is my experience a singular one. And I can also appreciate that some aren't great - but on the whole they are.

In a conversation recently, we discussed house shares and what the benefits are...

"Not only do you always have someone with shampoo or body wash if you run out, but you also always have someone to natter to or completely ignore"

But it doesn't just whittle down to that. A house share for me really was the place I found a home away from home, a family of strangers and the fundamentals behind 80% of my friendships. 

So whilst they may leave dirty dishes occasionally, use the washing machine when you want to or use your milk - you could end up making a friend for life, and that's worth every penny. 


This post was sponsored by Ideal Flatmate. Ideal Flatmate is a site which helps you find the perfect flatmate for you, in a seemingly hard process, with the belief that who you live with is more important than simply where you live.

Find out more here:


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