Stuart Kelly, 31, earns £28,000 a year, yet he can't find anywhere decent to live in London."Back home in Edinburgh I'd be rich, but here my money goes nowhere," he laments.
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Now my girlfriend wants to come down to London but she won't be earning any money to start with, and I just can't find a double room we can afford.
I'm in pretty dire straits, to be honest." Which is why he is spending the evening at Sound, a West End nightclub in Leicester Square, the venue for a new and unusual type of event called Flat Night Fever.
This is the property world's version of speed-dating.
People with rooms to let put on orange-coloured name badges and sit at tables labelled north, south, east or west, according to the part of town where their accommodation is located."It works both ways, of course," explains the event's organiser, Paul Curry, of accommodation website uk.
"The person looking for the room might not hit it off with the person offering the room, either.
That is the purpose of this event: to prevent having to do that thing we've all done, which is trek halfway across London to see a flat you hate, lived in by people you wish you'd never met." As it happens, tonight's participants are not only saving on Tube fares, but the first 30 to turn up at Sound get vouchers for a free drink.
On top of this, no one is being asked to pay the usual £10 entrance fee."This isn't an evening we make any money out of," says Easy Roommate's founder Karim Goudiaby, who usually charges for this introduction service via email, with subscribers getting the contact details of the flat-seeker or flat-owner they want to see.
"This shows we are more than just a property bulletin board: we want to ensure that the people we match up are compatible.
Just as you would choose a wife with great care, so you should choose a flatmate with great care, too." To assist this renter-rentee interaction, body language expert Sarah Hopwood has been brought in for Flat Night Fever to help home seekers maximise their flatmate-ability."Only 7 per cent of communication is through words, but 38 per cent is through intonation and 55 per cent through body language," she says.
"So when you meet people, it's important to maintain eye contact, and ask open rather than closed questions.
"So don't ask a question that invites an answer of just yes or no, like 'Do you have a walk-in shower? ' And build up a rapport, not by mimicking but by gently mirroring the other person's movements."At all times, think about your feet.