Rental Opportunity of the Week: This Tiny Flat Has Barely Any Living Space

Humans don't need hobs or normal-sized sinks, do they??
A tiny one-bed studio for rent in Deptford, London
All photos: OpenRent
What is living in London like? Hell. Here’s proof, beyond all doubt, that renting in London is a nightmare.

What is it? A mezzanine bed-floor hovering over a kitchenette, which yes yes we have seen many times before (which, in itself, is bad – realistically, how many mezzanine bed-floors hovering over kitchens do you think is an acceptable number to have in a supposedly advanced city? In my head, the number is quite low), but there are enough nuances and quirks to this one to make it—


Worth writing 1,600 words about? — well, yeah —

Where is it? In Deptford, which is that place in south London that you are always being threatened with afters at, and so you bundle into an Uber and go, the taxi for some reason has to take some weird route around all the major bridges and tunnels to cross the river, and for some reason this is taking 55 minutes even though you only started in Wapping, but at least the afters will be good, you’re sure of it. Just the word — Deptford — it sounds like “good afters” doesn’t it, it sounds like great expansive floors of warehouses and weird old factories covered in graffiti artists’ stickers, and it sounds like everyone who lives here is a freelance creative and it doesn’t really matter if the whole thing goes on until 2, 3, maybe 4PM the next day; let’s get the decks out let’s get another bag in, actually yeah I am feeling quite ketty actually yeah, yeah shall we shall we yeah?

And then: Oh, you forgot, this is what Deptford is, isn’t it. A load of new-build flats with a complicated entry system involving too many gates. Big walk across a shared car-park/grassless outdoor space with the person who invited you all there shushing you throughout. You slide open the double doors and step out onto a balcony that is only six inches deep. An email from Uber: you just paid £61.03 to get here and all the people you shared the cab with were strangers who seem to have slipped like ether away into the crowd. You have to be quiet because their flatmate is a lawyer. Fucking hell. You have fallen for Deptford’s tricks yet again. 


What is there to do locally? To be fair to Deptford, it does still have quite an old school threatening high street, which I always respect. This isn’t me being ironic or cute: a high street that has a pool club you can’t see directly in to, a load of pizza places that are painted orange for some reason, an off-brand CeX and a train overpass nobody can figure out the exact source or exit for is better than, like, the same run of H&M, O2, Debenham’s and Card Factory you get everywhere else. British high streets should always have a weird alleyway you don’t dare go down, a strange nursery that hasn’t changed its livery for a number of years and an ominous smell. I am sick of walking past a big beige New Look!

Alright, how much are they asking? £1,150 p.c.m., bills included, though with caveats. 

Recently I have been getting into camping videos on YouTube, for the dual reasons of i) I find them very cosy! I find them very comforting! I just really like watching a monotone Canadian man huddle down in a tent in negative temperatures, cook a big flat pan of slop, then fall asleep on a bunk in his jeans, seemingly not having a second of fun but surviving, at least, at least there’s that; and ii) Realistically, with the housing market and the rental market going the way it’s doing, I’m going to have to get good at camping, because it is how I will probably spend the last 20 years of my natural life.


There are a few things you learn from camping videos – always carry a carbon monoxide detector, bears are less of a threat than other people, try not to ever need a shit – but the main one is: Life fundamentally only requires a few essential component parts. The rest is fluff and trinkets invented by thousands of years of society. How many little succulents do you need around your house, really? How many vases with a pair of tits painted on them? Exactly, none. All you need is one big flat chopping knife, a sleeping bag, and a big empty Dr. Pepper bottle to piss in. 

That said, I do quite like sleeping in a bed, and having the heating on, and flushing a toilet, and it seems like society is trying to edge me out from doing those things for much longer. Look at this place in Deptford, for instance, which really does pose the question: How much, really, do you actually need to live? We gave you a sink, didn’t we? The fuck else you want? 

Bed in mezzanine floor of one-bed for rent in Deptford, London

Photo: OpenRent

The quick tour: upstairs you have your bed shelf, with a mattress flopped onto a low futon stretched across it, and not a lot of ceiling space (this flat asks the question: How much raw space do you really need above your head while you sleep? You’re not using that space. You’re asleep). This is also where your smoke detector, skylight and a huge big dome-light that shines directly onto your face if you turn it on live (this flat asks the question: Why shouldn’t the Big Light be directly over your bed where your face goes? You turn it off to sleep, you turn it on when you’re not in bed. How is this impractical at all?). That is the whole bedroom tour (this flat asks the question: What else does a bedroom need? How much, truly, do you need a bedside table, or a charging socket, or a lamp?).

Shower room in one-bed for rent in Deptford, London

Photo: OpenRent

Downstairs you have an incredibly compact shower room (how much space do you need to shit and wash yourself and brush your teeth in? You don’t need to do pirouettes in there. Get in and get out), a kitchenette (what meals are you cooking that require more than a kettle, a microwave, and a fridge? If you want to do some Gordon Ramsay shit, go to a kitchen you share with five other people, many floors and corridors away, and cook your dinner there!), a TV that is mounted behind a ladder (you can move your ladder so you can see the TV, it’s not that inconvenient!) and a sofa that is pointed at nothing and sort of gets in the way of you entering the flat through the front door (no notes), and a huge ominous wardrobe that I’m not sure you can actually fully open due to the position of the sofa and is, as always, visibly slumping apart.

This is what £1,150 a month gets you, in Deptford. 

Small living room slash kitchen unit in one bed for rent in Deptford, London

Photo: OpenRent

Some notes: the first one is a recurring bugbear of mine with any flat that provides a TV. Of all the places to put a TV in this flat, no sane normal person on earth would put it where they have put this one. If you asked 100 people to walk around this flat with a Post-It note and stick it where they think the most practical place for a small flatscreen TV would be, only 1 percent of them would put their Post-It note there, and when they do a team of very calm scientists grab them gently by the arms and walk them to a facility.


There are a lot of absurdly-mounted TVs in London, all of them in rental flats, all of them at mad impossible angles – you cannot watch this TV from either the sofa OR the bed, rendering it almost entirely pointless – and I know for a fact if you email the landlord and ask them about getting someone to move it they will just get back to you three months later saying “no” before reminding you a guy is coming to “look at the fridge” at 7AM tomorrow so you need to be in all day. Watching television isn’t the most important thing in the world, but I do think it’s more important as a form of escape if you live fucking here. 

Close up of TV in one bed for rent in Deptford, London

Photo: OpenRent

Secondly: I have been doing this for a number of years now (and my mental health is doing fine, thanks!) and every year there is a recurring property theme: we had mezzanine beds, we had the Airbnb influx and the financial chaos of the post-pandemic, we had beds in kitchens, we had little sinks. In a year of particularly severe rental carnage – there are people queueing up in the streets for open houses, there are people offering over the already inflated rents, there is a metallic taste of mania in the air – it has been hard to see what 2022’s overarching theme is, but it’s this: Charging more for two people to stay in a flat than one.

“The split level of bed platform will really impress as will the flat screen TV and fully tiled en-suite shower room,” the advert reads (it’s cheap to ask ‘Impress who?’, I know that, but: impress who?). “The flat is suitable for a couple to share and it will be cheaper for single occupy.”

Why? Why is this flat – which is bad – cheaper for one person, (already a bad flat for one person), than it is for two? Two people occupying this small crap flat is already an inconvenience for both of them, and now they have to pay more for the privilege? Why? It’s the same flat whether one person lives in it, or two, or a hundred. Like: it’s still a piece of shit. Why is there a sliding scale of how much the piece of shit costs depending on how many people are living inside of it? I do not understand that. Can someone explain that to me. In a way that makes actual sense, not in a way that makes landlord sense. 

I am having a rhetorical logical argument with the person who decided putting a ten-inch flatscreen TV behind a ladder was normal, so I’ve already lost, and I admit that. I am off to see what the best small little axe there is to chop firewood out with. The bricks and mortar and plasterboard era is soon coming to an end. I am ready to embrace Age of Polyurethane when it truly swings into play over the next five years.