What I Rent: Jes, £550 a month to share a two-bedroom flat in Manchester

What I Rent: Jes, £550 a month to share a two-bedroom flat in Manchester

It can be tricky to make a rented property feel like a home.

You can’t paint the walls, any pictures on the wall can’t leave a mark, and all the furniture you buy comes with a lingering awareness that when you move, you’ll have to transport that sofa/table/fancy chest of drawers with you.

Our weekly series What I Rent takes a look at how people are making the most of renting around the UK.

Each week we take you inside a different person’s rented property, seeing exactly what they get for how much they pay.

Last week we hung out with Caspar, who pays £1,100 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Brixton.

This time we’re up north in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, to check out the two-bedroom flat Jes and her boyfriend Adam share.

Hi, Jes! How much do you pay to live here?

£1,100 a month between the two of us, so £550 a month each.

Bills are £400 between two of us.

And what do you get for what you’re paying?

One main bathroom and one downstairs toilet, two bedrooms, a dining area, two lounges and the flat also comes with parking.

Do you have a good deal?

100%, the Northern Quarter is a very sought after area within the city so to be living in a duplex loft conversion for £550 each isn’t a bad deal at all.

How long have you lived here?

15 months.

We actually viewed one directly across the hall and I knew this was the building we wanted to live in. We were up against another couple who put in a higher offer to us so we lost it.

I then randomly decided to go on the last page on Rightmove and see what had been missed. We found this place, it had been on the market for ages before we snapped it up – I couldn’t believe it!

I used to live in an old mill which was all exposed brick and original features and to me, that’s super important. Being able to live somewhere with character and the potential to make it your own.

Before I lived in here I lived in a super modern, swanky high rise and I hated it, couldn’t do a thing to it to make it homely.

Are you happy with the area?

I absolutely love where we live. Being among all the bars, coffee shops, boutique shops is perfect. Adam also has a three minute walking to commute to work so it’s super handy. The building we live in has a real community feel to it too, everyone is really friendly.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

We’re guilty of using our spare room as a bit of a dumping ground where we just put everything in there we want out of sight.

Over the time we’ve lived here we accumulated storage units ourselves, for example the cabinet upstairs (leopard and zebra one!) we got for free which has been a great area to store some things.

The kitchen has plenty of cupboards and drawers too so we never seem to struggle for storage space at all.

How have you made the flat feel like home?

Well as you can see we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff!

I knew we couldn’t spend tons of money so I turned to Facebook and trawled for hours finding pieces of unique furniture for pennies.

I also decided to vinyl our entire kitchen, I wasn’t happy with the dull grey boring look so got myself some leopard print vinyl and went mad!

We’re lucky to have a flexible landlord so we’ve been able to make some changes to the property for example the curtains, blinds and wall lights are all bits we changed ourselves.

I’ve been running an interior account @LoftNQ where I share how I’ve transformed the space.

Are there any problems with the flat you have to put up with?

The Friday and Saturday night drunks right behind our flat. To be fair, it’s what comes with living in the heart of city but you don’t get used to the noise of an argument at 3am or people singing a questionable version of Wonderwall as loud as possible. I think if we moved into the suburbs the silence would be deafening now.

Other than that, I simply love living here. It’s my dream home in my dream location with a fantastic estate agent and landlord.

Do you have plans to move again?

If we had the option to buy this place then we seriously would consider it however we don’t want to start a family in the city. When the time is right and we’re ready to settle down we’ll consider moving out. Somewhere with a garden – that’s something we certainly miss.

Adam wants to move into the middle of nowhere on a farm, basically the total opposite to where we live now.

Have you considered buying a place?

I think because we’re so happy here it hasn’t been something we have thought about too much. Within the first six months of living here we were looking but it’s not the right time financially and we can’t complain about our current living situation. Of course in the future it’s something we 100% will want/need to do but right now we’re happy.

What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property in London.

How to get involved in What I Rent

What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places in London people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what’s normal and how much we should be paying.

If you fancy taking part, please email [email protected]

You’ll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!

You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.

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