What I Rent: Tamika, £400 a month for a studio flat in Birmingham

It’s time once again for What I Rent, our weekly series that explores the reality of renting in the UK and beyond.

Last week we were in Colchester, Essex, where digital creator Debs rents a two-bedroom house for £870 a month.

Today we’re up in Birmingham, where Tamika, 27, rents a studio flat solo.

Tamika is currently studying counselling and mentoring, and has lived in Birmingham her entire life.

Her current flat is rented from a local housing association. Here’s how she’s made it her own.

Hi, Tamika, how much do you pay to live here?

Rent is £400, electric is £99 and council tax is £92 monthly.

And what do you get for what you pay?

There are three rooms in total. It’s essentially a studio with a separate bathroom and kitchen, so I can touch my sofa from my bed. 

Do you feel like you have a good deal?

Absolutely! I’ve paid more rent on smaller properties or properties in much worse locations than this.

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Plus it’s genuinely just a really nice flat!

How did you find the flat?

A friend of mine told me I should look into housing association properties when I was renting an awful tiny box room.

After about a two year wait I was given my first viewing, which was the flat I’m currently in – I snatched it up after one viewing.

Whereabouts is the property? What do you think of the area?

It’s basically in the Jewellery Quarter area of Birmingham. It’s a really nice area and super close to the city centre, which is very handy. Also it’s surprisingly quiet, given how close to town it is.

How have you made the flat feel like home?

I’ve put a fair amount of energy into making it feel like mine. It was completely unfurnished and needed a good paint job and new flooring etc. So I kind of went a little overboard with paint (even the floors are painted) and colourful furniture and decorations – but it was well worth it. 

Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?

It’s definitely been an issue in the past but luckily my landlord is of the “As long as you don’t remove doors or walls…” variety. So I could really let my creative juices flow.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

I definitely thought I would struggle in this space but it’s surprisingly big for one person.

Plus I have amazing storage space. 

Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with? 

My main issue is quite silly. I only have one window so I don’t get as much natural light as I’d like.

I also had a pretty bad silverfish infestation when I moved in but managed to sort that out.

Do you have plans to move again any time soon?

Not currently! I’m really happy with my flat and the location and the rent is amazing so I can’t see myself giving that up any time soon.

And do you want to own a place some day or are you happy to rent?

I’d love to own but it seems so unachievable for me personally, so I’m definitely just happy to continue renting.

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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