London: Get a Cheap Short Lease
If you want to spend less than 100 quid a week on rent, you don’t have to live in zone 3. Hell – you can even reside in Chelsea – so long as you’re willing to share a bedroom. Enter Livin London: an exceptionally dodgy Colombian letting agency that owns a range of flats on main tube lines and bus runs. I paid £85 a week to live on Ladbroke Grove in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and this included bills and internet. Sure, my three-bedroom apartment (well, two bedrooms and one lounge room with bunk beds) was home to eight people at one point, but hey: I had the same postcode as Richard Branson. Best of all, they do short leases – as little as one month.
Just be warned that when I say dodgy, I mean dodgy. Before Ladbroke Grove, I rented a flat through Livin London in Holloway. As I entered the premises to inspect it, I enquired whether the building next door was a prison. “No! No no no,” smiled the real estate agent as she ushered me through the security. It was. There, I had a bedroom without a door handle. It would constantly blow shut, and if none of my other housemates were home, I would be locked in. For hours. When I kindly asked the agency to replace the door handle, they refused, saying it was too expensive. It took a threatening letter full of references to fire hazards and paraphrasings of, “I will sue the shit out of you,” for them to agree to move me to a new flat (as it was cheaper than replacing the door handle).