Living in a London Party House
People come to London for all sorts of reasons and meeting loads of people and partying hard ranks right up there with saving money and travelling to Europe as much as possible. Unfortunately, the partying hard bit sort of conflicts with the saving money bit which sort of puts a damper on the travelling to Europe bit.
But fear not! There's a way to do all three. In London's major antipodean areas like Acton, Shepherd's Bush, and Willesden Green you'll find lots of giant houses packed to the rafters with party animal working holidaymakers. The theory is that the more people you cram into a house, the less rent each of you will pay and the more money you'll have to spend on writing yourself off every weekend. Plus you'll have so many people living there that you can have an instant house party whenever you feel like it.
A good party house will be big, have a backyard, lots of toilets, a couple showers and will be pretty average when it comes to the world of cleanliness. There will probably be broken cupboards, smashed floor tiles and other victims of house parties of the past. It's likely that the house will have had a lease running for several years with a huge amount of people passing through the doors. The lease could still have people on it from 3 years ago who nobody knows but seem to appear in the occasional photo on the photo wall. You'll probably be getting mail from dozens of people you've never heard of. In short, it'll be a place much loved by its past and current residents but will horrify your parents if they ever decide to visit their darling in London.
You can have the perfect party house but if it's full of people that don't get along then it will be a terrible experience. You'll be living in a crappy place with crappy people and everyone will be miserable. But if you get things right and have a house full of people who get along and are on the same page then you'll be in for some good times. It's really important for everyone to be pretty laid back and easygoing. If little things like getting jumped on in the middle of the night by drunken friends or having your milk pinched now and then are going to set you off then you'll probably want to find somewhere quieter.
To keep rents low you'll probably be sharing with at least another person in your room. It's pretty common to have triples and when things get really extreme the bunk beds will make an appearance and quad rooms will be created. You'll be living in close quarters so trying to get an idea of whether you'll click with your potential roomie is really important. When it works it can be great and your roommate will be your best friend but when it goes bad things can get really uncomfortable.
Booze, Drugs and Sleepless Nights
Be prepared for lots of crazy nights and people staying up all weekend. If you join in it won't seem so bad, if you're completely sober it has the potential to be unbearable. If the idea of drugs makes you feel uneasy then living in a party house might not be for you because they're in large supply in these surroundings.
Cramming silly numbers of people into a house is almost always done without the landlord's permission. In fact, even if your landlord did approve of it, it would still probably go against fire safety laws and who knows what else. So the trick is keeping your landlord happy. Most will have a vague idea that their house has more occupants then it should but as long as they keep getting their rent cheques on time they won't hassle you. It's sort of a don't ask, don't tell sort of thing. Party houses tend to want as little to do with the landlord as possible and don't want him coming around at all so when something's broken it's pretty common for everyone to just chip in some money to fix it rather than risking a landlord visit.
If you're in a typical London neighbourhood with terraced housing and backyards that are practically on top of each other and you enjoy impromptu Tuesday night parties, your neighbours will probably not like you much. If you're lucky, you'll be sandwiched in between two other party houses and life will be good but it's more likely that you'll be getting visitors now and then from your neighbours or the noise police. It really is a good idea to keep your neighbours happy by keeping everyone inside at night, the doors closed and the music at a reasonable level. If you're well behaved most of the time and your neighbours are ok then it's a good idea to warn them about any big parties you might be having. Assure them you'll still try to keep the volume down past a certain hour and leave a contact number.
If you can't keep your neighbours sweet then you'll start getting visits from the Council noise police and soon after you'll be getting noise warnings through in the post. At first they won't seem too bad but after a few warnings they'll start threatening £5000 fines. Chances are good that your landlord will get a copy with a threat of a fine as well so he'll be on your case to get things under control.
Living in a big, messy, party house full of drunken antipodeans isn't everyone's idea of a good time but you'll have an instant group of people always up for a party and will probably come away with some lifelong friends and some crazy memories. If you can pull together a good house and a great bunch of housemates then you'll be in for some of the best times of your life!
MONEY & COSTS