Rupert Hunt, the founder of housemate hunting website SpareRoom.co.uk, has launched a hunt for his ideal flatmates. The lucky pair who score a room in his £3 million Georgian house in Spitalfields, will pay whatever they can afford, and Rupert has stated that he'd rather have the right flatmate paying £1 a month than the wrong flatmate altogether.
The house is incredible. It has six bedrooms, and is ranged over five floors. Unusual features include a baby grand piano in the 'music room', a 'Disco Lounge', a taxidermy bear, cat, goat and two peacocks. One of the rooms has an en-suite bathroom, while the other is next to a spare room with a bathroom that you can use unless there are guests staying.
He has created a video advert, in which he seems terribly nice, and he shows off the property in a relaxed and self-effacing way - noting aspects such as the house next door that is used for filming, and the big cupboard of booze that needs drinking up.
The rent seems too good to be true, but Rupert insists he is offering it on a 'pay what you can afford' basis, adding: "I'm far more interested in finding the right people to share with, who I'll enjoy having around and add something to my life, than maximising my rent (and market rent round here would price some people out). So if you're my perfect flatmate and happen to be volunteering and can only afford £100 per month, I'd sooner take you over someone who can pay full whack but who isn't quite right."
Full whack - it's worth noting - is £1,000 a month.
He added: "I ended up living on my own a couple of years ago after I split up from my wife, so I decided to use SpareRoom to find a couple of housemates. To be honest I saw it entirely as a chance to learn something about the business, but I ended up learning that sharing with the right people beats living on your own any day. So, now my last housemate is leaving, I've decided to do it again."
Will you qualify?
Rupert hasn't spelled out entirely who he would consider the perfect housemate. He said: "I'm open to living with pretty much anyone, as long as we get on and they add something interesting to the dynamic of the house."
His advert mentions that the garden needs a bit of TLC, so it would be nice to have someone with green fingers. He also mentions that nobody plays the grand piano, so it might be nice to have a musician; and that it would be good to have a pet to go with his stuffed animals. He calls himself 'moderately tidy' - so suggests anyone very tidy might not enjoy the house - and that anyone too untidy might drive him mad.
The most important aspect - however - is that you get along, and your lifestyles suit one another. He describes his approach as: "I'm a work hard and play hard sort of person. During the week I often head to bed at 10pm and get up at 6 or 7am, while at the weekend I might not get to bed till 6 or 7! On the other hand I'm easily tempted into fun so do end up having the odd unplanned big night in the week."
The right person will have to be happy spending evenings during the week chatting in the kitchen before having an early night, and the weekends in a bar then a club until closing time - followed by more drinking and dancing at home.
Potential flatmates will also have to accept the fact that this is not just an advert for a housemate, it's also a publicity stunt for SpareRoom.co.uk. As a result, Rupert is filming his search - including the interviews, some Speed Flatmating events, and even a party for the finalists. It's essentially a low budget reality show in which you get the chance for affordable housing.
But what do you think? Is this a great opportunity or your idea of a nightmare? Let us know in the comments.