Rental blog: Finding a new flatmate by Jeannie

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

As anyone who has shared a home knows, housemates can be here today, gone tomorrow. Just as I’m writing this a new person is unpacking their stuff in our home and another leaves in two days time

A year’s worth of blog entries can be dedicated to the joys and woes of living with other people because choosing a housemate is tricky business.

For my housemates and I, it all began with the online advert, where we used a bit of code to try to attract the type of housemate we wanted: ‘professional’ (must have a job), ‘social’ (must be able to hold a conversation), ‘enjoy a glass of wine’ (must not be shocked by other housemates’ 4am drunken antics), ‘easy-going’ (must not get irritated by other housemates’ friends, dirty dishes, late night skype conversations with family on the other side of the world or television choices).

Once we got all our  replies, we sorted through the ones we wanted to see. Then it came time to actually meet them. Some houseshares choose to have one big viewing session so all the potential housemates can compete in eagerness to take the space (we once had one person pull out £1000 in cash to put down a deposit on the spot!). Other households may have to get the landlord’s approval, which can be difficult as sharers and landlords may have different ideas about who makes a good tenant.

Our housemate interviews were filled with lots of questions. Once we get the important stuff out of the way (where do you work? Are you happy to be on the lease? When can you move in?) some polite prying followed, but sadly we didn’t get answers to the questions we really wanted to ask: do you leave hair in the bath, have a loud, annoying boyfriend or weird nocturnal habits?

Flatmates don’t always work out and communal living is never easy. When it came to choosing our new housemate Jon, it was important he had a job to pay the rent, was happy to be on the lease and was friendly. The rest we’d only discover after a week under the same roof… let’s hope he knows how to stack a dishwasher.

June 19, 2011 at 7:57 PM Leave a comment

Olympic 2012 short let with £24,000 (per week) price tag to match!

West Grove, London £24,000 pw (£104,286 pcm) - 7 bedroom property to rent

With just over a year to go until the London 2012 Olympics, we got a little curious and wanted to know how the Olympic rental market was shaping up.

Thanks to our keyword search we are able to look for properties to rent on Zoopla that have the word ‘Olympic’ in the property description and we weren’t disappointed.

The search returned 422 properties available as a short let during the Olympics including this property to rent (pictured above). There’s no doubt it’s a stunning seven-bedroomed, elegant detached house, that comes with come with its own 24 hour house keeper, maid service and continental breakfast, but will it really fetch £24,000 per week (or £104, 286 per month)?

Situated at the edge of Blackheath in the buffer zone of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site and it’s a short walk to Greenwich Park, the venue for the 2012 Equestrian Events.

The property is listed by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed property and has been sympathetically restored by the current custodians.

As the property description states, the owners are looking for a corporate let/entertaining, participants and organisers of the 2012 Olympic games or families wanting to be close to the Equestrian Events.

Will it achieve, Gold, Silver or Bronze we wonder?

Here are more London 2012 Olympic short lets on

Olympic Rental Advice

If you’re looking to let your property during the Olympic period you need to strike a balance between trying to achieve an early let and leaving it till the last minute. Looking back at what happened during the run up to the Millennium, some very speculative prices were being asked, demand didn’t always live up to expectation and many properties were never let.

A good price isn’t always the best deal. Those looking to rent should ensure that they are getting a good quality tenant who will look after their property. First time short-let landlords should work out what their target tenant is likely to be – corporate, family or perhaps an athlete – and prepare for that market.


1. Given that there is still some time to go, you should secure a deposit early on to ensure that the let takes place.

2. Make sure you have a detailed inventory of contents

3. Make sure you take pictures to record the condition of the property before it’s let

4. Be careful with what utilities are included in the rent….electricity and gas can mount up!

5. Speak to your local estate agent and see which ones are dealing with short-term lets over during the Olympic period

6. Ask three to give you a rental valuation

London 2012 Olympic short lets on

June 17, 2011 at 3:13 PM 1 comment

Rental blog: Is a rented house a home when it’s got no internet, asks Jeannie

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

In this age of faster communication, why does it take so long to get plugged in at home? Our house has now been without internet for almost a month. Now there’s nothing wrong with a hiatus from the digital world, but its getting too much when you’re forced to chat to family on Skype in a public coffee shop, stay late at work to book a summer holiday to Spain, or visit friends for a cuppa just so you can update your Facebook status.

Why are we in internet isolation? The long of it is my ex-housemate closed the phone account in his name when he moved out, which then cut off our broadband. So it takes a week, many phone calls via India and a lot of lunch hours listening to a computer generated voice to get the phone line back up and running. Then it’s another week for the phone company to update their records so we’re registered account users. This then means our broadband provider can set up the reinstallation process, which is then followed by a week of waiting for them to activate us.

We haven’t needed to get a new router, phone, or cables, but scanning forums online (while at the office of course), it seems this is the norm when it comes to home technology and renting. Something I try to explain to my Italian housemate as he throws his arms in the air and says this doesn’t happen in Italy.

Glancing at the flashing orange light on the router, I don’t say anything about having to do this all over again when the person who has the broadband package in their name eventually moves out…

June 17, 2011 at 10:45 AM 2 comments

Win: A signed Phil Spencer book

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

The office was all a buzz a couple of weeks back when we got to interview none other than the nicest bloke in property – Phil Spencer.

The Location Location Location star told us all about his latest book – How to Buy Your First Home (And How To Sell It Too) – a very practical tome aimed at, as you’d guess from the title, those who want to buy their first home.

Not only did Spencer – who along with Kirstie Allsopp is one half of the UK’s most famous property couple – tell us that he thinks first-time buyers are key to ensuring the long-term health of the market, but he served up some tips for those who want to get on the home ladder as quickly as possible.

“Try to choose a property that will suit you for the longest period of time,” Spencer told “Also, try to chose a property that you can add value to during the time that you live there … because the market isn’t going to help you move in the future.”

All good advice from Mr Spencer. Oh, and he was nice enough to sign five of his books for five lucky readers. Just email with Phil Spencer in the subject line and you’ll be in with a chance to win one.

Read the terms and conditions

This competition has now closed.

June 16, 2011 at 11:09 AM 1 comment

Cate Blanchett’s latest South Pacific plot

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved. just loves it when politics, green issues and property somehow come together into a big celebrity sandwich and that’s exactly what’s happened with Oscar winning actor Cate Blanchett and her new digs.

Australia’s most ethereal star turned eco-warrior has been making headlines Down Under for her role fronting an advertising campaign for a rather controversial carbon tax aimed at reducing the country’s emissions.

For the Elizabeth star it’s proved that climate change is an issue that’s very close to home, especially given she’s reportedly recently bought a plot of land in Vanuatu – a tiny island nation in the South Pacific that’s just as famous for its sandy beaches as it is for suffering the effects of global warming.

Sleepy Vanuatu made headlines back in 2005 when an entire village was evacuated because of rising sea levels – the first time climate change is known to have displaced a whole community.

The Lord of the Rings star is thought to have bought some overseas waterfront property in or close to the luxury Havannah Harbour area during a visit last year, which according to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, boasts a booming property market for international celebrities and where a typical piece of beachfront property can go for £456,000.

The effects of climate change are likely to keep Ms Blanchett on her toes, so to speak, as experts warn that sea levels could rise by as much 59cm by 2100 in Vanuatu, which could, lets face it, swallow up a fair bit of her tropical getaway.

June 16, 2011 at 10:53 AM 1 comment

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