‘I’m leaving London. Renting here feels like a constant fight’

Mike, 34, is a palliative care nurse.  He lives in north London. He is leaving London because of the frustrations of private renting.



I rent a ground floor, two-bed flat in the centre of Camden, with a friend.

We were quite rushed and pressured into signing the tenancy contract because there were hundreds of people who wanted to take it so we were made to feel very lucky.

We signed the contract and as we were signing it they said: “By the way it’s two-year contract and there will be a rent increase after a year”.

We were told verbally that there would be a break clause but they weren’t sure what period of time that break clause would kick in.

Very excitedly, we signed a contract for what we thought was a fairly swanky two-bed apartment. Wooden floors, open plan, a little garden, two minutes from the tube. We thought it was brilliant.

It was expensive but we thought it was worth it.


We moved in and it was soon really obvious that the owner of the property – who converted the house with his father – did a really bad job.

Our neighbours are students and they are nice guys. But even if they just walk across their flat I can’t even begin to tell you how bad the noise is. It is so disruptive that we can’t sleep so we rarely spend the night there now.

This was not explained to us at all by the agent. They said it was a very quiet flat on a quiet cobbled street.

We’ve sent the agent many emails explaining the noise is unbearable, asking them to please contact the landlord and ask them to do something about this.

But nothing has been done to remedy the situation and it has got to the point where we have both had to have time off work because were not sleeping. It’s affecting our lives and our health.

I’m a palliative care nurse. I look after terminally ill people at work and I have to be able to concentrate. I need sleep.

As tenants you just don’t know where you stand

I contacted the agents and said nothing has been done so we’re giving our one month’s notice.

They came back to us saying you signed a two-year contract and there is no break clause.


This is the bit that gets me. We were given two options. First one was that we find tenants who can move in and take over the tenancy for the remainder of the two years and pay £200 each to take our names off the tenancy.

But we feel it would be unethical for us to find people and not tell them that there is a massive issue with noise. It’s unethical and immoral and I’m not comfortable with that.

The other option was that we pay two-year’s worth of management fees totalling £5,500  which we can’t afford.

I’ve rented so many different places. Three different places in the past two years.

In the past eight years it must be over 10 different places

I’m a nurse, I pay a lot of my salary on renting and bills and so on, and all we get from letting agents is fees and charges on top of that.

mike 5

I have rented in London for all these years and I think I can count once or twice that I’ve had good experiences with agents and landlords and I’ve actually got the majority of my deposit back.

It’s so annoying and upsetting and I worry about all the people that are affected like this.

Letting agents and landlords know that anyone in London on a normal salary – under £30,000 – has no savings and so they need their deposit back to be able to move.  But letting agents chip away from it and you always know when you leave a property that you’re going to get stung and lose at least half of it.

I find the London rental market so frustrating that I’ve decided to leave the capital. I’ve had enough.  It’s too much stress. It just feels like a constant fight.

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