This week’s What I Rent location is a first for the series, which, for those not in the know, is a weekly article that takes you inside people’s rented homes.
We typically stick to the UK and US, but today we’re exploring a flat in Antigua, Guatemala.
James, 36, is a consultant, model, and writer who moved from Manchester to Guatemala three years ago, having fallsn in love with the area on his travels.
These days he works and lives in the city, renting a one-bedroom flat – with views of volcanoes – solo for the past six months.
Hi, James! How much do you pay to live here?
I pay £300 per month for the apartment and that includes all of the bills; maintenance, water, electricity and WiFi.
And what do you get for what you pay?
It’s a loft apartment and I have two main rooms; a combined living, kitchen and dining area downstairs and my bedroom with en-suite bathroom and terrace upstairs.
Do you think you have a good deal?
Yes, I think so. The price is good especially for the location and the two levels with terrace.
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I really like the property because it’s safe and secure and full of character.
How did you find this flat?
I was recommended the property through a friend. It came at a good time as I was looking for a new place and the previous tenant had decided to move on so there was no crossover.
Whereabouts is your home based? What do you think of the area?
I live in a condominium – a gated complex on the edge of Antigua, Guatemala.
Antigua is a Spanish colonial city around 10 miles from the capital Guatemala City. The place is popular with tourists, it’s a small but busy city with great restaurants, bars and social scene.
I really like the area because I am conveniently close to the town centre but the complex is set back, at the foot of the mountains and surrounded by jungle forest. The place is very quiet with incredible views of the neighbouring mountains and three volcanoes.
How have you made the flat feel like home?
With it being a rental it started to feel like home when I moved in my belongings.
I don’t have too much stuff out here so it’s all fitted in well and there is plenty of storage space.
I made some small changes to the layout of the furniture and bought new soft furnishings and kitchenware to put my stamp on it.
I love the character of the apartment, especially the spiral staircase, exposed brick walls and tiled floors.
I am a big fan of the Spanish-influenced baroque architectural features like the wrought iron staircase, outside chimney and wood panelled roof. The apartment is well-equipped with a bath, cable TV and sofa-bed.
My favourite space is the terrace, I love to bbq, eat, read and relax outdoors – and the climate here in Guatemala is great.
I have epic views overlooking the town and the surrounding mountains and volcanoes. You will often find me on the terrace at sunset taking photos of the sky and volcanoes.
Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?
I have not asked to make any decorating changes with this property because it is all clean, freshly painted and well-maintained.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
I have plenty of space here. The downstairs is fairly small and the kitchen is a little confined, but upstairs the bedroom is large and the terrace is a big living space where I spend a lot of my time.
The apartment came fully-furnished so I have everything I need.
Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with?
I have not really had any problems to deal with here.
There was some damp damage to the walls from the rainy season but the landlady was very efficient with getting this fixed.
The property seems to withstand the regular earthquakes as well.
Do you have plans to move again any time soon?
Right now I’m very happy with the place and don’t have any plans to move, but who knows what the future holds?
And what about buying a place?
I actually owned two places previously in the UK but I sold those.
For now I enjoy renting because it is less responsibility and more flexible for my lifestyle. I have everything I need here, but also the flexibility to move if I need to.
I like renting because if there are any big problems with the property I am not liable for it and I’m also the type of person that likes to move around – so renting suits me perfectly.
Fair play. Shall we take a look around?
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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