Image may contain: Woman, Long Sleeve, Denim, Jeans, Female, Sleeve, Face, Chair, Furniture, Pants, Person, Human, Apparel, Clothing

Meet the third year UCL students living it up on a boat

Cruisin’ down the canals pickin’ up the laydeez

Rent in London is a bit of a joke, but two UCL students might have found the best alternative to an extortionate flat in Elephant and Castle.

A boat.

Meet Kuba Zálešák and Mantas Pastolis, two third year UCL students who have decided to pack up their things and live on a house boat.

Image may contain: Denim, Jeans, Accessory, Accessories, Sunglasses, Sweater, Pants, Human, Person, Long Sleeve, Clothing, Apparel, Sleeve

Kuba is on the left and Mantas is on the right

When asked why he decided to spurn dry land Mantas explained that living on a boat is "much more cost-effective. In fact, it’s virtually free!"

Indeed, if you can afford the initial price to buy a canal boat or a narrowboat (which costs anywhere between a few hundred to a few million pounds) you can sell it for practically the same price.

The type of boat Mantas and Kuba own is a 27 foot GRP boat and would go for around £1,000-10,000. They are planning on selling it in a year when they finish their degrees.

Image may contain: Vessel, Watercraft, Vehicle, Transportation, Boat, Human, Person

The interior of the boat consists of a tiny kitchen with a gas hob, an even tinier bathroom that only fits a sink and a portable toilet, a table with benches and a mattress at the back that fits two people.

It's perfect for people who want to practice a minimalist life style, or for anyone who has wanted to feel like a giant in their home.

Image may contain: Wood, Vessel, Watercraft, Human, Person, Vehicle, Transportation

Since Kuba and Mantas refuse to pay for a mooring licence, which tend to be quite spenny, they instead move their boat every two weeks to avoid paying mooring fees. So far they’ve sailed all across London, from Heathrow through Camden to Paddington.

Image may contain: Plant, Grass, Footwear, Outdoors, Apparel, Clothing, Human, Person

Kuba mooring the boat

As fancy is this may may seem, in reality life on a boat is not so glamorous. There's no landlord you can run to when the pipes are leaking or the heating stops working. You have got to be the fix-it-all person at all times.

Maintaining a boat is no easy job. There’s the changing of the fuel, refilling the water and the gas tanks, disposal of all the waste (since there’s, obviously no sewage system) and making sure everything works as it should.

“It’s a full-time job really,” Kuba admits.

Image may contain: Pants, Wood, Building, Apparel, Clothing, Machine, Human, Person

Mantas fixing the engine

On top of all that, a typical boat doesn’t have the same amenities as a house or a flat. You moan about not having a dryer in your flat? Well, imagine not having a washing machine, or even a shower.

Luckily, UCL has many shower rooms around the campus (not just in the gyms) that are free to use. As for the laundry, the guys use local laundrettes (yes, they still exist) or wash their clothes at friends’ flats.

And then there’s the issue with personal space. When your living space is less than five square metres, it can be a little difficult to get some privacy.

You think sharing a bathroom with your room mate is bad? Try sharing room so small you can't stand up in it.

The guys have tried to overcome this problem by allocating certain times when only one of them will be on the boat.

Despite all the challenges, the boys don’t complain. “It’s all worth it,” they say, “when you wake up to views like these every day.”

Image may contain: Towpath, Path, Boat, Transportation, Vessel, Vehicle, Watercraft, Canal, Outdoors, Water

If Kuba and Mantas's story tells us anything, it's that there is a cheap form of accommodation in London. You just have to be prepared give up showers, personal space, and move your home every two weeks to enjoy it.