Archive for May, 2016

The Junior Apprentice house valued at £3.1m

Thursday, May 27th, 2016
For those of you who haven’t watched or heard of the BBC One programme Junior Apprentice (Wednesday nights), essentially it’s the same format as its older brother (The Apprentice), where two teams compete in different challenges and one member of the losing team ends up on the receiving end of Siralun’s “You’re fired!”. However the [...]


And Around We Go

Tuesday, May 25th, 2016
The property market is like Groundhog Day without the gags. It’s an eternal, infernal cycle where people buy piles of bricks and mortar, either to live in or to charge others for the privilege. The value of these bricks subsequently soars off into the troposphere, or plummets to the very centre of earth’s molten core. Bystanders must then either celebrate or commiserate, as the news reports bang sonorously and portentously on about this situation being either really, really bad or very, very good.

Meanwhile, tenants watch helplessly from the sidelines, wondering how this will affect their lives, hearing talk of something mythical called Capital Gains Tax which may (or may not) compel their landlord, aka the de facto owner of their immortal soul to sell up or hang onto their investment. This means they are either homeless or housed – either really. It’s all so tenuous and fanciful.

Astonishingly, the Housing Minster no longer sits on the cabinet, and something which sent the economy spiralling into disaster like a vast tornado devouring public funds, forcing thousands out onto the street as novice landlords went bankrupt, forcing the state to take steps to stem the first run on a bank in hundreds of years, is regarded as an distraction, not a vital economic, or a basic human need, namely: a safe home and security of tenure.

Sometimes I wonder if I am engaged in my own life: or am I at the mercy of a huge game of piggy-in-the-middle crossed with monopoly, with giants flipping coins and throwing rubber balls over our heads to decide where ordinary people will get to live, and for how long they can stay. I want a home, a permanent home. I do not want to live in a piggy bank, but once again, I am.

What’s bought this on? Well, commercial property is cranking up for a new boom, with mothballed sites being reactivated. Buy-let-mortgages are back on offer and soon, building will begin again.

Again. And again. Which means: speculative short term investment in shabby, toy-town new build dovecot, with the private rental sector entrusted with housing us all, and no improved regulation of letting agents, building standards and no end to the dire renting culture here in the UK, with renters hanging on the end of fraying rope, with landlords and letting agents tugging furiously at the other end.

I suppose the saturation of one or two bed flats might help us still, as landlords are desperate to rent, and anyone who bought in the recent ‘fire sales’ might not expect to crank up the rent to cover an extortionate mortgage with a gifted deposit.

Except – except… that’s all staring to happen again – soon we’ll see re-animated Inside Track staffers staggering around like zombies, promising vast inflated profits before eating neophyte investors and saving the best part (their beating heart) for last.

Have we learned from the recent past? No. We didn’t. And so it goes – around and around we spin, back on the speeding hazardous carousel again…and again.



Thursday, May 20th, 2016
Following on from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats releasing their ‘Coalition Agreement’ document on 12th May which confirmed, under the Environment section (pt 6), that “Home Information Packs (HIPs) are to be scrapped and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) retained” mass confusion set in and home owners, agents, Lawyers and HIP providers each reacted in their own way [...]

From Property Rich List 2016

Tuesday, May 18th, 2016
The Property Rich List 2016 lifts the lid on the most exclusive places in the country to live. The past 12 months has seen house prices in the leading areas of the country rebound at a far faster rate than the average, contributing to a widening of the North-South divide. Here are some of [...]


Girls and Boys.

Tuesday, May 18th, 2016
My, but aren’t we modern? Men and women now live together when in previous less enlightened times they would have been forced to marry by the league of decency at a mass ceremony like the moonies.

Even so, some flatshare ads specify the sex of the tenant, and some rented households are still single gender. Others aren’t so specific.

How quaint you think – how Victorian. But always remember: in ancient times, men and woman lived in separate villages, and with good reason. When you’ve lived in a house with boys and girls together this begins to make sense.

Firstly, there’s the shared bathroom. Anthropologists have written thick editions of theories about male toilet habits, and here’s a brief summary of their learned conclusions: ‘They’re horrible!’

No really; the adage about snaps and snails, and puppy dogs tails missed out appalling mess, hideous invasive smells last used in the trenches of WW1 that melt your nasal passages and permeate the entire house, before heading off down the street to make their way into town.

There’s the fact that (despite an ability to programme computers and re-assemble engines) a toilet brush is a bewildering and complex piece of technology. There’s shaving beards (and heads, and god knows what else) leaving the detritus on the bathroom floor, and they make good use of all your beauty products, whilst disdaining you for vanity.

Yes, I know – females are not innocent. Much to the amazement of men without sisters or mothers – ladies function just the same, digestively speaking. And yes, women and baths is an extreme, experiment in hygiene. Sugar and Spice? Make that leg shavings in the bath, sanitary products discarded openly in the bin, and hours, and hours, and hours (in fact a residency) in the bathroom. One flatmate was oddly coy, insisting that spare loo roll was stored in the kitchen cupboard, but not so coy about drying half washed knickers in the lounge (I will spare you the details…suffice to say it was like a surgery scene ER.)

And emotionally it can get a very messy, with boyfriends made insecure by male flatmates, or boys hijacking your man for that Simpson’s marathon, or something called ‘The Match’.

Certain are assumptions linger: many men assume that women love to clean, while women assume that men can instinctively mend stuff, when neither is true. While the exception proving the rule is always a joy to find, I have encountered men ask if lettuce needs cooking, and girls who called the gas company when the meter ran out. I also know of ladies who cooked boil-in-the-bag-fish, or reheat takeaway curries for breakfast, and men who insisted upon cooking carefully prepared, delicious, nutritionally balanced meals every night.

When a house with a large amount of inmates divides along gender longs during conflict – well that’s not a good thing. And there’s the drama and recrimination when couples pair off and then split up. It’s unavoidable and cranks up the drama. And there’s no going back.


Jamie Oliver’s old pukka pad is for sale

Sunday, May 16th, 2016
Image taken from Fancy yourself as a bit of a chef? Got a spare £1,195,000? Well the Naked Chef’s (aka Jamie Oliver) old pad is for sale. Remember when he first graced our TV’s in ’98/’99? Well this is where the Naked Chef series was filmed. It’s a stunning architect-designed three bedroomed house and [...]


CONFIRMATION: Grant Shapps Housing Minister

Friday, May 14th, 2016
Grant Shapps, the Conservatives’ former shadow housing minister,  has confirmed, via his twitter page last night, that he has been appointed Minister of State for Housing. It is understood that the role no longer has Cabinet status and therefore, unlike his Labour predecessor, he will not attend Cabinet meetings. Is this, coupled with the time it [...]


West Hampstead Letting Agents

Thursday, May 13th, 2016

There are a number of reputable letting agents in West Hampstead, who deal mainly in letting apartments (studio to 2 bedroom) rather than rooms.

The first to mention is Paramount Properties ( of 150 West End Lane West Hampstead London, NW6 1SD, who were established as an independent London estate and lettings agency in 1989 by Mark Greig. They have many good testimonials including this one:

“I am really very grateful for all your help in getting someone in so I could leave so quickly I am stuck for words to tell you how grateful I am for all your kindness and understanding – it has been a really tough time for me these past few months but made so much easier becuase of all your help – I am sincerely grateful.. I am so sad to be leaving Paramount I dont think I will ever have a nicer landlord! :0)”

Then there is Tatlers (, who’s slogan is “Lifestyle Begins At Home”. Established in 1986 Tatlers are one of the area’s leading residential Estate Agents covering the Edwardian tranquils of Muswell Hill, Crouch End, Alexandra Park, East Finchley and surrounding areas.

A saunter down the Kilburn Highroad may see you stumble across Let Express (364, Kilburn High Rd, London, NW6 2QH) Their website seems to have expired.

1st Choice Properties ( were founded 16 years ago by 2 partners with over 28 years experience between them in the property service industry, 1st Choice Properties have become one of the capital’s leading independent specialist letting agents. Our in-depth knowledge of the London property market and our ability to effectively address the needs of both Landlords and Tenants has contributed to our success.

There are more letting agents as can be found on Yell.

See West Hampstead Letting Agents for original article.

by Chris Jamieson

CONFIRMATION: HIPs to be scrapped

Thursday, May 13th, 2016
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have released a ‘Coalition Agreement’ document setting out the what has been reached between the two parties on a range of issues. In the document the following is buried towards the end under the Environment section pt 6 – a confirmation that Home Information Packs (HIPs) are to be scrapped [...]


West Hampstead Studios

Tuesday, May 11th, 2016

West Hampstead Studios are the cheapest way to rent in the area without having to share a communal area with other people. Studio apartments are flats where the main living area is also used as the bedroom, thus the entire flat consists of a reception area and a separate toilet (and sometimes the kitchen is separate too). This means that people will often need a sofa-bed so that the same room can be used as a lounge during the early evening and a bedroom at night. Therefore studio apartments can be less appealing than 1-bedroom apartments and are often more suited for occasional visits than long-term living. My opinion is that it is cheaper and more “luxurious” to share a 2 bedroom flat with a friend and enjoy a separate living space but with the privacy of your own bedroom. If you live in a country where studio apartments are large then beware … in London they can be as little as a 200 square foot ’slave box’.

However there are some benefits of studio living:

  • One room to heat, cool, and light – utility bills are very low.
  • Cleaning is a breeze with only one room to dust and vacuum.
  • The pride you get from living efficiency and simply.

West Hampstead Studio Appartment

In West Hampstead, Studio Apartments rent for around £220 a week (£950 pcm), with prices going higher or lower depending on your specification. You can search for studio appartments on portal sites such as Rightmove or Find a Property, and you may also find some on Gumtree or Spareroom sites too.



See West Hampstead Studios for original article.

by Chris Jamieson