Welcome back to What I Rent, our weekly series that explores the world of renting.
Every Tuesday, we go inside a different person’s rented home and have a good look around, then have a chat with them all about how they’ve made the property feel like home.
Last time, we were in Geddington with Terri, who pays £800 a month for a two-bedroom house.
Today we’re hanging out with Matt Hatt, 34, who works as a volunteer manager and runs an interiors Instagram account, @hattathome.
He moved to Manchester for a temporary job in 2013, and ended up sticking around, before going to Dubai for a while then coming back.
In May 2022, he moved to his current flat, which he shares with his boyfriend George and their rescue cat, Ketchup.
We chatted with Matt about his experience renting.
Hey, Matt! How much do you and George pay to live here?
So because neither of us were working at the point of returning from Dubai, we had to pay a year’s worth of rent up front, at £1,150 per month. Bills average at around £400 a month. Quite the financial commitment!
Whew. And what do you get for what you pay?
A two-bedroom flat with a lounge, kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom. The second bedroom also doubles up as George’s home office/laundry room.
Do you feel like you have a good deal?
Coming back to the UK after living abroad for so long, wanting to relocate to a new city, and gathering all of our stuff from a storage unit in London, and from being shipped across from Dubai, and being unemployed, didn’t make us the most attractive tennants, so time really was of the essence.
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I think we could’ve maybe got something similiar for a bit cheaper, but the place was newly refurbed when we moved in, is a good size and the location is unreal – so overall I think the rent was fair.
I mean, who wouldn’t want cheaper rent if they could get it!
Whereabouts is your home based? What do you think of the area?
We’re in West Didsbury, and absolutely loving it – there is so much here.
If I could afford to buy here (spoiler!) I absolutely would, but the perk of renting is getting the opportunity to live in an area that you probably couldn’t afford to buy in – we love not having to travel into Manchester city centre if we don’t want to. So many great places to eat, drink and explore around here.
How did you find the flat?
Via Rightmove while sipping cocktails on a beach! We never actually viewed the property before putting an offer in, the first time we saw it was moving day – but the video tour was good and it ticked all of our boxes so we went for it.
We had a few offers for some other places rejected, even for renting you have to make yourselves the most attractive tennants – I think knowing that they could have our rent up front for the year helped us secure this place.
How have you made this place feel like home?
George and I have lived together now for around five years and have gathered lots of lovely things over the years that instantly make a place feel like home.
This property was completely unfurnished when we moved in, so we did need a few big items like a sofa and a wardrobe. Through rugs, prints on the wall, and a lot of styling we’ve been able to bring a lot of personality, fun and cosiness to the home quite quickly. But do check out my instagram account for more tips (@hattathome).
Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?
We’ve actually had no contact with the landlord since moving in, but we’ve followed the rules of the contract and haven’t done anything to the flat that causes any permanent changes.
It should be pretty easy to return to a blank canvas when we move out.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Short answer is yes! This is our first two-bed flat, and the second room as an office and guest bedroom has been so helpful. We love having friends and family to visit – so it’s been lovely getting to give guests their own room and space when staying with us. Makes me feel like a proper grownup.
Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with?
We are very lucky – since the flat is newly renovated we’ve not had any problems.
Once the front door got locked from the outside somehow and a few of us were locked inside the building for a bit – but it was a good way to get to know some of the other tenants in the building!
Do you have plans to move again any time soon?
Hopefully our next move will be when we buy – our contract for this place comes up at the end of May, and we will hopefully move into our own place at that point.
Do you want to own a place some day or are you happy to rent?
Buying is our next step – we are using this year to get settled back into the UK, catch up with loved ones, and figure out our favourite south Manchester areas.
We hope to start putting offers in for a house early next year – watch this space!
Exciting times. Shall we take 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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