Renting a house

Listen to four different people talking about their experiences with renting accommodation to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.



We saw the ad in the summer, in about July, I think, but we weren't really serious about moving then so we didn't even go and see it. It wasn't until November when they readvertised it that we got in touch with the agency and had a look. They'd put the price down since the summer too, I suppose because it had been empty so long, so that made it more affordable for us which helped us make up our minds. It was perfect – a bigger garden for the kids and enough space for an office. In winter it was lovely, very cosy, in fact, which is important to me as I really feel the cold, whereas my husband will open a window when it's minus temperatures outside! Anyway, in July when summer really started and we had that heatwave, we understood why no one had wanted to rent it over summer. It was boiling! All those lovely big windows that made the flat so light and open were like a greenhouse as soon as it got warmer. From about 8 in the morning until 7 in the evening, it was like living in a sauna! We couldn't stand being at home, and weekends were especially bad. No air conditioning, of course. If only we'd gone to see it when it was first advertised in July, we'd never have moved in!


I always rent apartments when I go on holiday, rather than staying in hotels. Hotels are so impersonal, aren't they? This way you get to feel like you really live in the place you're visiting. It's the first time I've done it the other way round, though, and rented out my place … but it seemed like a good way of making some extra money. The website is really easy to use and they only charge five per cent commission, which is lower than a lot of the other holiday rental sites. It's all about the photos and the reviews. Get the photos right and the place can look really upmarket and spacious, but you don't want to make it look too much better than it really is or you end up with a bad review. It's better to undersell and overdeliver so guests are pleasantly surprised and leave an extra positive review. So far, I'm averaging three stars because of one bad review that brought my average down from four and a half stars, but hopefully I'll get it back up during the busy season.


Buying a house seems so far out of my reach it's almost impossible, as it is for loads of people my age these days. My parents always told me renting was throwing money away, but it was different in their day. Then people could afford to buy a house on a normal salary, but nowadays house prices are so high and no bank will look at you unless you've got a huge deposit. The problem with my dream of buying is that it's never going to come true. Not unless my parents help me out, but I've got two sisters and we're all in the same position. At least they've both got good jobs. Not good enough to buy a house, but at least they can afford to rent places of their own in nice areas. I just don't earn enough to rent around here. Even if I get promoted to manager, it'll be tough to find somewhere unless I share, and call me fussy, but there aren't that many people I want to share a bathroom and kitchen with. Some days I think I'll be stuck living with my parents forever – even renting is like a dream to me.


At first our landlord was really helpful, couldn't do enough for us. You hear stories of nightmare landlords and we felt like we were really lucky, or so we thought anyway. He redecorated the whole place, from top to bottom, and let us keep all the bills in his name so we didn't have the bother of contacting all the companies ourselves. He even offered to come round and do the gardening as he knew we both worked long hours and might not have time. That's where the problems started now I look back. Then he'd pop round 'just to check everything's OK for you' … once a month, then twice a month. Soon he was coming every week with some excuse or other. In the beginning we'd invite him in for tea, but it was only encouraging him, so when we realised, we'd try to have the conversation on the doorstep instead. It got so bad we pretended to be on our way out if we saw him coming up the path. We'd grab our coats and walk round the block until he'd gone. I don't know if he was just lonely or just didn't trust us not to ruin his precious house. In the end we gave our notice and found somewhere else. It's a shame because we really loved that house, but at least it's more peaceful in the new place.

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C1 English level (advanced)

Submitted by jmajo on Thu, 14/07/2022 - 15:33


Well, that depends on how much money you have at the moment to decide between one or another option, personally I think buying it’s always better if you need a place where to live and stay there in the long term, for example to rise a family, but in a situation where you would have to be working for a limited period of time in some place and then leave, I would rent Instead of buying a property to avoid debts and unaffordable loans.

Thanks for the episode.
Great site!

Submitted by Anamyszka on Mon, 04/07/2022 - 10:13


I personally would love to have a house of my own, however, I know I'll probably never have one. My work schedule is pretty hectic and I usually jump from one country to another (Czechia to Britain) to study and get a job here and there. I don't have a stable job as I work in the creative industry, so there's no certainty. But coming home to a lovely house is truly an unreachable dream at the moment.

Submitted by villarreal.a.a on Mon, 20/06/2022 - 17:06


Well, depend situation. Sometimes you'd need rent house when you live in other country (maybe when you travel or studying in different side than you reside) but if they would want live in the rest of their life is better buying a house.

Submitted by misty on Fri, 14/01/2022 - 20:03


In my personal opinion, either buying a house or renting a house to own is much way better than just renting a house. A house you can call your own home is considered as an accomplishment of myself.

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Submitted by Hennadii on Fri, 21/05/2021 - 09:29

I think both ways are good enough but in different situations. I used to rent a flat some years ago. It was when we began to date my wife. Well, you know, you just meet a girl you like and you want to date her but you can't predict how you both will get together. Renting a house is the right choice in this case. You can check how it would be in the future - would you match or not. If you don't - well, that happens sometimes - you can just move away to another place and don't need to divide your property as people do during a divorce. Of course, if you live together long enough to feel - yes, I want to live with this person forever - buying a house or a flat is a thing. Why? Because you can do everything you want in your own apartment - change wallpapers, furniture or so. You can have a dog or a cat (many landlords ban that) or you may have kids as well. Your kids in your kid's room in your house. That's lovely. For example, in our flat, I cover a wall with paper with dinosaurs print. My kids were excited and still, they are!

Submitted by Fivecats on Thu, 04/03/2021 - 13:46

From my point of view, while you are studying at university it is good, that you are renting an apartment, but when you have a well-paid job it is better to have your own house. Thus, you will not overpay for your accommodation.
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Submitted by El Cuy Mágico on Tue, 23/02/2021 - 23:34

I think buying is one hundred percent better. When you rent a house you waste money. I mean if you don’t have enough salary to buy a house, you could get a bank loan or even a family loan. Having your own house is the best investment because land never goes down in price, and if you regret it, you can sell it and get extra money.
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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Wed, 14/10/2020 - 15:07

I think buying a lego house is better. ;)

Submitted by Cami on Mon, 05/10/2020 - 11:48

I think that it’s a very generic question, otherwise I believe that, having the possibility, it is better buying a house rather than renting it. If you buy a house, you can make an investment, if you rent it, no.
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Submitted by Kien Alang on Tue, 16/06/2020 - 14:14

About the verb "To give notice", what I read in the Cambridge Dictionary is that "to ask someone who works for you to leave one's job usually after a period of time." But here is different. Could you explain it? How about using "hand in my notice"?

Hello Kien Alang,

The meaning of notice here is warning. We can use it in the phrase without notice to mean that something was sudden and unexpected:

The storm hit without warning.


In the context of jobs and work, warning means information that a person is leaving their job. This may come from the worker or from the company, and this is difference between the two phrases:

If I want to leave my job then I give in my notice or I give them my notice.

If the company wants me to leave then they give me my notice.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by yoyoraw on Tue, 02/06/2020 - 15:13

well, I guess it depends on how high your income is, so if you can afford buying a house then this will be a better option, but also it rely on peoples preferences .
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Fri, 22/05/2020 - 23:22

From my point of view, i think buying a house is better.

Submitted by hrahmani on Tue, 04/02/2020 - 12:27

As a person that has rented several apartments in different cities, I think affording an apartment is not the most important point for buying one. I would buy an apartment where I am sure that I am going to stay for a long period of time. Of course, I assumed I afford it! My own apartment brings me the freedom of how to decorate it, not being worried of the owner or making a small hole in the wall for the board, etc. However, it is costlier than a rental apartment, on short time scales, since I need a loan to pay for it. Hence, I would go for buying an apartment whenever I am very much sure that I am going to live there for years and years.

Submitted by HelianG on Sat, 14/12/2019 - 18:41

Personally, I think that most of the time it's better to buy a house if you can afford it, of course, but also it depends on the situation if you are a person who moves very often you should rent a house instead. buying a house nowadays is too difficult for an average person even for a family and it's getting worse each day everything gets more expensive, so if you have the opportunity of buying a house you should think carefully about what kind of house and neighborhood you want to live in.
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Submitted by Hoàng Nhung on Fri, 15/11/2019 - 04:11

Dear Kirk, Plz explain me this sentence: "I'm averaging three stars because of one bad review that brought my average down from four and a half stars". Thanks you
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Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 15/11/2019 - 07:41

In reply to by Hoàng Nhung


Hello Hoàng Nhung,

We'll be happy to help you, but I think it will be easier if you can tell us which part of the sentence you find confusing. Is it a particular phrase, for example, or something about the way the sentence is structured?



The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter, The structure of sentence is ok. I think the meaning of the sentence: The landlord for rent his house, he was averaging price of house at four and a half star but he is underselling the house at three stars because of one bad review. But he thinks that he will raise prices on tourist season. Is it correct ?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 17/11/2019 - 08:46

In reply to by Hoàng Nhung


Hello again Hoàng Nhung,

On various online sites there is a reviewing system which averages out the reviews a particular seller or product has to provide an overall score.

Let's say a landlord rents out his house five times. The first person gives him five stars and the second gives him four stars, so his average is four and a half (9/2=4.5. But then the next person gives him zero stars. Now his average is only three (9/3=3). In this situation he might say 'I'm averaging three stars because of one bad review that brought my average down from four and a half stars'.



The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Hoàng Nhung on Fri, 15/11/2019 - 04:06

I want to buy a house so i can decorate it's up to me.

Submitted by AliMir on Sun, 28/07/2019 - 07:43

If all the living conditions remain stable in the future, it may be better to rent a house rather than buy it. Then you won't need to get a big portion of your capital blocked in that. How ever, it is actually impossible to witness a zero inflation in the society and house prices will continually be increasing. Therefore it looks like our money are losing its value. Accordingly many people tend to buy a house, so they not only provide their shelter, but also are making their investment.
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Submitted by AL-Mustafa on Sun, 14/07/2019 - 08:45

Off course buying a house is better , but not all of people can afford it .

Submitted by Sridhar reddy on Sat, 13/07/2019 - 11:28

By far this is the best English learning site ever. I love all the lessons. I can't thank you guys enough. Great job! Keep up the good work.

Submitted by nikoslado on Tue, 21/05/2019 - 15:41

Dear Team, thanks a lot again for helping us.Is there anything wrong in the phrase''...our landlord was really helpful, couldn't do enough for us.''? How can we say someone being ''helpful'' without him be able to do ''enough for us''?
Hello nikoslado Yes, I can see how that would sound strange. When we say that someone 'can't do enough for us', it means that the person is always trying to do more to help us. It's as if, from that person's point of view, they can't do enough for us, because they always want to do more for us. It's a somewhat strange way to say it, but the expression is quite common! All the best Kirk The LearnEnglish Team