Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.
After saying we’re going to stick with Letchworth we’ve gone and put a deposit down on a place in Hitchin. I saw it today and put our claim in for it right away. Given our past experience with losing out on places if we delay at all and the ever-nearer final day of our current tenancy it seemed most prudent.
The place is a lot better than the place we chose to take in Letchworth but missed out on. It’s also half the distance to the station (5 min walk), twice the size, and in better condition (just.) It’s also only 50 quid more per month, so that works out OK.
The size of the place is the headline feature, it is really rather huge. Three large double-size bedrooms, a kitchen I can swing a cat in (just), and three “receptions,” also large. I don’t quite know what this English “reception” concept encompasses, based on what we’ve seen in our hunting it is any room that isn’t a bedroom. The place is two story and each story has about the same floorspace as our apartment.
The rent is pretty good for the area and the size, it’s also 150 less per month than we’ve been paying. Though we don’t save anything, the extra cost of the train travel demolishes that difference. The annual Hitchin to London ticket price is £2880, and that doesn’t include tube travel! To add tube travel the price goes to £3840! (Try not to think of those numbers in Australian $… oops, too late, ouch!) That’s 74 quid per week, and that’s with the 30% discount you can only get if you buy an annual ticket. (You’d be crazy not to, even if you didn’t have the cash handy the pain on a personal loan over a year doesn’t nullify the 30% saving. But better yet, get a 12-month 0% CC deal and let your 3840 sit in a high interest savings account earning you a bit before flushing it into the CC. Just don’t forget to settle the CC before the 12 months is up!)
Anyway, in other crazy rent news, the landlord of our current place seems to have given up on selling it (buying demand is really low right now) and put it back on the rental market. Rental demand is very high at the moment and the place has been listed £200 higher than we’ve been paying! That’s about 3x inflation, but is actually about right for what we’ve seen in the area. Our original preference was to stay in the Ricky area, but moving into a house around here would cost a lot, at least £400 more than we’re paying now. That’s our primary motivation for dragging our butts somewhere else, thus Hitchin. We end up paying less rent for a huge place (the same sort of place here would be about £600 more than we’re paying now – approaching twice our Hitchin rent!)
Anyway, more on this another time. It’s one hell of a relief to have found a place, stress level can be downgraded to amber. Right after we’ve finished filling in the agent’s 5 pages of paperwork (and we’re not even close to a tenancy agreement yet, the bloody British and their love of forms. Must find my Brazil soundtrack and put on Harry Tuttle — “A Man Consumed by Paperwork”.)