Rental Opportunity of the Week: Would You Pay £650 to Sleep in a Kitchen?

This is actually the reduced price. Lucky you!
A bed squeezed into a kitchen in Reading for rent
Photo: RightMove
What is living in London like? Hell. Here’s proof, beyond all doubt, that renting in London is a nightmare.

What is it? One of those ones where the bed is exactly as wide as the room. Was the room built around the bed or was the bed built for the room? Well, to answer any philosophical question concerning landlords, we must of course ask: Which is the cheapest possible solution to that problem?


Where is it? Continuing along our theme of a Great British Tour, to point at patches of damp outside of the nation’s capital and say, “See? Look”, we are this week in: Reading.

What is there to do locally? I just typed “I have never been to Reading”, but then I remembered the time I actually did go to Reading, which is quite astonishing actually: the imprint Reading left on me (I went to Reading less than three years ago) was so mild and glancing that the existence of the entire city just shot right out of my head. All I really recall is it was pissing down raining, there were a lot of low new builds and gridlocked A-roads through and towards them, and I had one of the top depression McDonald’s of my life (Big Mac meal, large, plus Chicken Selects, large, plus McFlurry: walk to the station and pause for a few minutes to stand really close to a bin in case I needed to throw up). I think I hovered around a branch of Black’s for a bit so I didn’t have to get too wet.

Is that a fair account of the concept of Reading? I’m going on intuition alone here, but it feels like it is. I reckon it’s one of those places that has just way too many out-of-town-centre shopping centre complexes where you can go to Homebase and the cinema in the same acre of car park. Again all of this will be cheerfully redacted if anyone can prove that Reading does actually have culture – 


I suppose they have the Reading side of Reading & Leeds Festival, don’t they? Hm.

What, “hm”? Yeah no it’s. No, it’s good.

You love Leeds Festival! That field that smells of vinegar is home to both the best and worst moments of my life, granted, but –

But? Biffy Clyro playing every two years slightly near your city doesn’t count as culture.

Alright, how much are they asking? £650 PCM, and I can tell this is too much for Reading because if I saw this flat being listed for the same amount in London I would say, “that costs too much”. A fun side-detail: This listing was reduced on the 17th of January 2022. They were originally asking for more.

You know, I’m a “get out of bed using my legs” guy. That’s who I am. I’m upfront and honest about this. When I get out of bed… I like to use my legs. I like to start each day swivelling my legs to the left hand side of the bed, planting them on the floor, and standing immediately up. Some people, maybe the leg move isn’t for them. Sure. But me: I’m a till-the-end-of-days leg out of bed man. 

This does not work for me:

A mattress next to a radiator

​Photo: RightMove​

The recurring theme of this column in recent weeks has been: shuffling out of bed like you sleep in a van. For some reason, among landlords, making us do this is the new thing. And perhaps I am oversubscribing the importance of the literal first act of the day to getting out of bed, sure. Previously in my life I have scrunched my legs down and shuffled out of bed and had to roll through the duvet before, yes.


I have done this, for instance when I have slept on futons in too-crowded spare rooms, where you sleep amongst see-through storage boxes with a load of old photos in them or a single, slightly deflating, exercise ball. I have also done the shuffle-up when I sleep in a tent or something. But if I’m paying rent on a place, and regularly sleeping in it and therefore getting out of bed in it, I want to get out of bed in a normal way. I don’t want to have to roll out of bed like members of the armed forces are firing at me with snipers. I don’t want to get out of bed like I’m a dog scooching across the floor to relieve its anal sac. 

The expanded meaning of all this is, of course, if I had to get out of bed like it was Year 7 PE and I’d just been shouted at to do a forward roll, I would be OK with doing that if I emerged into a flat that was in any way nice. You could imagine taking that L, couldn’t you? Like yeah, you have to get out of bed using your entire body like you’re a toddler scrabbling across some netting above a ball pit, but you’d be OK with that if you came out into, for instance, the Palace of Versailles.

A small kitchen with two hobs

​Photo: RightMove​

Sadly you are instead coming out into “just a kitchen”, and not a particularly thrilling kitchen: You have one of those strange landlord two-hob things to cook on (directly next to a wall so, at certain angles, you cannot turn a pan); a microwave that has somehow been set in a cupboard in a way where it requires an elaborate vent; presumably a fridge, though hard to tell; absolutely no washing machine, or anything like that.


Once again – and I know I rail against them a lot – but the landlord has thoughtfully put in a really ugly dining table to take up literally all of the remaining available floorspace, so you have to contend with that, even though I think only around one in ten single people sit at the table to eat their dinner these days, and most of the same people use their laptop from bed.

So, yes, I suppose you could use this as a dining table cum desk, but I think personally you would prefer to just, like. I don’t know. Have literally anywhere to put your clothes. Or: even a hint of a comfortable chair. Anything to make life easier or nice to live in any single way. I do not want to live in a world where dining tables are becoming a luxury item, but in the dreadful places I keep having to look at for this, we are rapidly getting there. 

Other features include: a very small radiator directly next to your bed so you can wake up with a seared leg and a heat-headache every morning, and also a folded-up chair that you don’t have any space to unfold, but it is there in case… I don’t know, if you choose to have guests over and you can manage to move your bed into the hallway first. One of the primary walls of the flat is arched quite acutely inwards, too, so you don’t have a significant amount of headroom. If you want to get a plate from the little plate stand they have provided, you need to crouch.

There is zero evidence that this flat has a bathroom from the photos, but I took the video tour and technically there is one, it’s just so narrow (it’s in that small jutting out space between the kitchen and the front door) that, to move around in it in any way, you have to walk sideways. So to recap: you have to scoot out of bed, crawl through the kitchen, and crabwalk through the bathroom. There is no area of this flat that you do not have to contort yourself slightly to live within. If you want to stand up straight, go outside. And even when you do that you are not even in a particularly practical part of Reading. 

Just thinking what they were trying to charge before they reduced this to £650 a month. Do you think they reduced it by, say, £5 – it was £655, and now it’s £650, and they are going to do this month-by-month to see if anyone is ever interested – or, more realistically, do you think they thought they could get £750 for this, and then begrudgingly reduced it to £650, which they now think is too little? That they will actually be mad if someone gets this for the bargain price of six hundred and fifty fucking pounds?

I always wonder whether landlords ever, ever notice that their mortgage payments on their actual homes are significantly less than what they charge for the shit little enclaves they carve out in Reading, or they just look at that information with a blank stare the same way the robots in Westworld can’t reading certain schematics that will hurt them. What am I doing, expecting human emotions from vermin? It’s like asking if a rat can do maths. Of course it fucking can’t. What the fuck am I even saying—