Saturday, July 13, 2024

From house sharing to house hunting with London Living Rent 

  • Name: Gulden Belli and Alessandro Cuccaro 
  • Job: Product Expert and Technical Customer Service for Marketing Company 
  • Ages: 29 and 28 
  • Type of home: two-bedroom apartment at The Gateway 
  • Deposit: £1236.92 
  • Monthly rent: £1,072 
  • Monthly savings: £500 

Though house sharing with a sibling in West London worked well for their finances, couple Gulden and Alessandro knew they needed more space, and fast. 

Gulden explains, We were sharing a two bedroom private rental flat with my sister in North Acton and paying £1,700 rent between three of us. The rooms were quite small and both Alessandro and I work remotely most of the time. There wasn’t a lot of room!
While we dreamt of having a place of our own, we were unsure whether we would be able to afford it – especially if we wanted to stay in a similar area.”

Feeling apprehensive but hopeful, the couple began their search for alternative living options in the capital and soon discovered London Living Rent (LLR), a scheme that would enable them to rent at a discounted rate and put the extra savings away for a deposit. London Living Rent is a scheme introduced by the Mayor of London. Aiming to provide affordable rental homes for middle income Londoners, LLR sets maximum rent levels at below market, according to location and property size. The scheme is designed to be the ideal stepping stone between renting and home ownership. 

“We came across L&Q’s Chiswick development, The Gateway, and it seemed to tick all of our boxes,” Alessandro comments. “We applied in February 2022. It was a quick decision, but we were happy with everything, so we wanted to commit. The LLR scheme would save us a lot of money and we were able to view the specification of the apartments to get a good idea of what our home would be like if we wanted to purchase it after the tenancy.” 

“Plus, the location sold it to us,” Gulden adds, “we were keen to stay close to where we had lived previously and my sister, and there are excellent transport links for commuting.” 

The couple submitted a joint application with L&Q for a two bedroom London Living Rent apartment at The Gateway, moving in in March 2022. 

Gulden says, “Overall, it was an amazing experience. London renting can be very stressful due to how fast-paced the market is and how expensive properties are. However, once we had applied for London Living Rent through L&Q, the process was straightforward and quick – we were able to give notice and book removals within a month.” 

“We talk about the scheme to people all the time – I’ve said to my friends and sister that, once they’re in a position to be eligible, they should definitely apply to help get their foot onto the property ladder. Compared to our previous rental home, Alessandro and I pay over £500 less a month between us and we’ve been able to put that money towards a deposit – we’ve almost reached our savings goal to buy!” 

Two years down the line, Gulden and Alessandro have saved enough of a deposit to start looking at buying a home of their own. Through LLR, it is possible to go on to purchase a home through Shared Ownership or on the open market – this could be the home being rented, or a different one entirely. 

Alessandro explains, “We’re currently looking at moving outside of London to give us more space for the future. We’d love a three-bedroom house with a garden in a peaceful countryside location, that will still allow us to easily travel back to London to see friends and family. While we’ve just started house hunting, we feel this is achievable with the money we’ve been able to save over the past two years as LLR tenants with L&Q.” 

Reflecting on their experience Gulden says, “Looking back, we have achieved most of what we wanted to do in the last couple of years. We got married in 2023, both secured new full-time jobs and saved towards a house deposit – all of which was made possible thanks to London Living Rent.” 

“We’re really looking forward to buying a home of our own, with more space for us and our cats, and a family, if we decide, in the future.” 

L&Q is currently marketing London Living Rent homes in several London boroughs including Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Croydon and Hillingdon. 

All applicants over the age of 18 must undertake a financial assessment to confirm their affordability and eligibility for the London Living Rent scheme. Should your household circumstances change at any stage during the application process or throughout your tenancy, you may be required to undertake a further financial assessment to ensure your household meets the London Living Rent eligibility criteria. 

Find out more at: 

First Time Buyer is an exciting bi-monthly glossy which takes a stylish and comprehensive look at all the options available, setting them out in an entertaining and informative way, and helping potential customers navigate their way through what is often a daunting and complex process. We dispel the myths, reinforce the facts and arm the reader with the tools necessary to make their homeownership dreams a reality.

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