My Sharehouse Experiences
I've stayed in a few places during my time in London and think I've had a pretty good taste of how good life can be when things go right and how bad it can get when things go wrong. I thought it might be interesting for people to read about all of my different housing triumphs and tragedies to help you avoid finding yourself stuck in a shitty house.
The Party House - North Acton
I really lucked out with my first London houseshare and had the time of my life for a couple of years. I didn't realise at the time how good I actually had it because I had nothing to compare it to. We were 14 people crammed into a huge house with usually another three or four dossers. We all got along and hung out together and every weekend there was some major event on meaning the hangover were plentiful and the bank account was usually dry.
The house itself was a shithole. It had four toilets, two showers, six bedrooms, a dossing room, an attic and a huge lounge so there was plenty of space but it was falling apart at the seams. Water oozed through the ceiling from the bathtub above, mushrooms were growing atop the kitchen cupboards, a strange black fungus had begun to sprout on the staircase leading up to the attic and none of us liked to clean so it was always a mess. But the house's flaws were also what made it so great. we had an absent landlord who let the place fall apart but that meant it was a pretty mean party house as well and we took full advantage as much as possible.
Living in a place like this isn't for everyone but if you're new to London, want to party and can find a big place like this where everyone gets along then you'll be in for the time of your life. The trick though is findng the right mix of people because it only takes one or two assholes to ruin a place like this for everyone. But when it gels, it's good times all round!
The Dossing House - Acton Vale
After moving out of my wicked party house in North Acton and going travelling for 7 months I found myself taking up the role of dirty dosser on my return to London. Luckily, some of my good friends from the party house had banded together after the old house folded and got a smaller place fit for six.
The place wasn't the ritz but it wasn't the kind of place that could be trashed. Although they did find mushrooms growing in the corner of the bathroom and it had rats. Not mice, rats. Big ones. As I was sleeping on the couch in the lounge, they became my new roommates. Needless to say, I didn't last too long in that place.
The people were great, the place was laid back and fun, but I just couldn't cut it as a dosser. The house was near Acton Vale which is sort of halfway between Acton and Shepherd's Bush. There are loads of Aussie/Kiwi type sharehouses in this area and it's a fun place to live if you're into house parties. I got out of there pretty fast though. Some people are born dossers but I always feel like I'm taking the piss.
Le Dump - Acton High Street
After having such a wicked two years in the party house I was keen to try to repeat the experience. This was a huge mistake in the first place because I was just setting myself up for disappointment. There's not way I'd have ever come close to the good ol' days in North Acton and looking for a repeat performance was doomed to make me miserable.
But with more fun in mind I went looking for a party house and found a place even more run down that Noel Road. It was much smaller but still had nine people crammed in. There was only one shower and toilet and they were in the same room which made life miserable if you found yourself busting for a pee. There was also a super dodgy outhouse type toilet in the backyard which was a first but it was too scary to even consider using unless desperate and drunk enough not to care. The kitchen floor had been pulled up because the carpet was rotting, there was a feral couch in front of the house along with several shopping trolleys, the heating only worked when it felt like it and the landlord was hopeless.
On the upside, rent was only £185 per month and everyone paid the same price. This included bills and we even scammed free Skye somehow for awhile. It's the perfect place if you want to save lots of money and don't mind what diseases you pick up from the furniture in the process. I fled that place when it all got a bit too depressing and someone started stealing stuff. I still have friends who live there and it's a great place to visit for a party but I wouldn't want to live there.
The Classy Place - Fulham
Desperate to flee Le Dump I made a hasty move out to Fulham to a house on Dawes Road with 5 others in it. I was to share a room and the privledge would cost me about 320. Based on my previous experiences this was a huge jump in rent but the place was really nice and with only six people total, a lot smaller than mos tplaces I've lived in. The place was only available for a six week short term let and I woul dhave preferred something more long term but I was desperate to leave Le Dump and I was tempted to live in a place without mushrooms sprouting up anywhere.
This was the first place I lived in where I didn't really mesh with the housemates. The two guys I lived with were great, but the three girls were a bit too girly or prim and proper or something and I never really hit it off. We got along fine, but everything was a bit forced and I always sort of felt on edge around them so never really fully settled in. Other than that the place was lovely and chilled and I enjoyed it but just never felt totally at home.
The Total Nightmare - Acton High Street
After weeks of hunting and a brief stint dossing at Le Dump, I ended up finding a house just a few doors down on the same street. I loved the area for the good transportation links, loads of shops nearby on the high street, a gym across the road, friends nearby and good pubs all along the street. I wasn't in any huge rush to move away so jumped at this place when it came available.
At the start it was fine. Good roomies, nice place, rent was about £300 for a room a pretty small room but it fit a double bed and I managed to cram a computer desk and dresser in there as well. The neighbour enjoyed ranting and raving and chanting and other strange things at all hours but besies that, it was an pretty good place to live. Then, a few months later, a nightmare couple moved in. Things started ok but gradually everyone in the house began to hate their uptight ways and living with them became unbearable by the end. I'm pretty laid back but these guys really got on my nerves for too many reasons to go into.
This house was a great example of how living with crappy people can really ruin the whole experience so make sure to take your time before moving into a place or allowing new people to move in.
The Chilled House - East Dulwich
Deciding to move away from my beloved West London was a tough choice but it ended up being a good one. I was in a hurry to escape the horrible couple so when a friend at work said he had a friend looking for a housemate, I decided to check it out, even though I knew nothing about East Dulwich. The place was huge and, for the first time, the housemates were all British. I was looking to save money and get away from the party animal Aussies so this seemed to be a perfect fit.
My room was small so I had another whole room to put my stuff in which was sort of ridiculous since I didn't really have much stuff. But after my last place it was nice to have space. The house was massive with a huge yard, big livingroom and a kitchen and dining room to boot. It had wireless internet, Sky TV, all the usual goodies of any sharehouse and we eventually ended up springing for a maid since all of us were so laid back that we didn't really tend to do much cleaning. I was paying about £380 per month plus bills which was great considering the area and size of the house. East Dulwich is a great area with lots of pubs, locally owned shops and a train to London Bridge station in 12 minutes just around the corner.
I was happy to leave London on a positive note and if I ever head back there to live, I'll consider East Dulwich for sure. It feels more like a village than a London suburb but is still really close to the city.
MONEY & COSTS