What I Rent: Laura, £875 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Brighton

Welcome back to What I Rent, our weekly series where we explore the ins and outs of renting.

Last week, we were across the pond in Washington DC with Anju, who pays $1,300 a month for a studio apartment.

This time around we’re in Brighton, to nose around the flat rented by Laura, 38, her partner Carl, and their cat, Rodney.

Laura is a body piercer in a shop in Brighton’s North Laine. She grew up in Burgess Hill in Sussex, then moved to her current place just before the first lockdown hit.

She hasnt held back when it comes to making the property her own, and has filled it with all manner of eccentric wonders.

Let’s have a gander.

Heya, Laura – how much do you pay to live here?

Rent is £875 plus £270 for council tax and utilities.

And what do you get for what you pay?

A flat with four rooms: a lounge, bedroom, kitchen and one bathroom.

Do you feel like you have a good deal?

I think the rent is pretty reasonable for the size of the property and the location.

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How did you find the flat?

I found it browsing Rightmove, one of my favourite pastimes.

Whereabouts is your home based?

My flat is in Seven Dials, which has a good selection of shops, bakeries and pubs.

It’s also walking distance to the seafront, the train station and the main shopping centre.

How have you made the flat feel like home?

I’m a maximalist and can’t live in a ‘magnolia prison’, as I call it, so I have used command strips to put up pictures, and have used vinyl on the walls instead of paint and also on my kitchen tiles.

I have a lot of plants – I have an app on my phone that reminds me when to water them.

There are two ET figurines in your flat. Tell us about that.

It’s one of my favourite films. I got the smaller model off eBay a while ago, then when I found a company selling a life-size version, I had to have it.

You also have a lot of taxidermy animals…

I have collected taxidermy for a few years. A lot of my collection is in storage for space reasons, so I just have out a few of my favourite pieces.

And what about all the anatomical models around the place?

No real story, I have a medical background and I like anatomical models

Your TV set terrarium is amazing – did you make it yourself?

I did make it, from an old tv I got off eBay. I originally made it into a cat bed but Rodney wasn’t interested.

I just stripped all the workings out of it and then used to wire to make a mesh lining for the soil and sand and used some stick-on grow lights.

Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?

I always want to paint the walls either dark or, at the moment I’m slightly obsessed with colour and lots of it, so it is difficult not being able to just buy some paint. I have to try to get creative!

The landlord hasn’t been round to see the flat since we moved in, because of Covid, but anything I have done is reversible and not going to leave damage, so I’m not too worried.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

I don’t feel I have enough space, but I do have a huge amount of stuff. I was living in a studio flat before this, which was bursting at the seams.

I think even if I had a four-bedroom house I would find a way to fill it up.

Are there any problems with the flat you have to deal with?

There is a damp issue here, which I try to counteract with dehumidifiers and regularly cleaning the walls.

Do you have plans to move again any time soon? What about buying a place?

I owned a property before and would love to do so again. The freedom of being able to wack as many holes in the wall as you like and also paint is exhilarating.

Unfortunately I got divorced and wasn’t able to afford to purchase a property on my salary alone, so I started renting – I didn’t want to move back in with my parents.

Eventually I hope to buy again so I can have a garden and hopefully a bigger kitchen – just so it stops Carl moaning.

Shall we have a look around?

What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am.

Check back next week to have another nose around a rented property.

How to get involved in What I Rent

What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places 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 take pictures of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your bedroom or living area.

Make sure you get permission from your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.

We’re not just after the prettiest places out there, by the way. We want the reality of renting, so if you’re currently renting a place you hate, we’d love to see that too (and sympathise greatly!).

This article contains placements with affiliate links.  We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links on these placements.

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