[Ben Reeve Lewis states his preference for Californian temples …]
Have you ever been in one of those chocolate box English cottages? Do you own one?
I was in one recently and the difference between ye olde worlde charm from the outside becomes something else inside.
They are dark and dingy with not much light getting through those leaded windows even on a hot summer’s day let alone the depths of December.
I once had friends who lived in a Kentish oast house too. All very nice from the outside but inside dark, freezing cold and full of spiders.
Seeing the light
As I get older I find myself more drawn to those kinds of Californian temples to light that you can see if you subscribe to ‘Curbed house of The Day’ A fantastic daily email for those who like property porn or just day dreaming about a shiny life with no bills.
I can recommend the website to the poor denizens of the new build block (pictured to the side). As disgusting a piece of architecture as you’ll see this side of hell.
It’s just up the road from my office.
Dear god what were those architects and planners thinking? It looks more like Belmarsh prison than a desirable pied a terre. More ‘Dread Res’, than ‘Des Res’.
My guess is those windows are deliberately narrow to prevent the luckless inhabitants from hurling themselves to death in their depression at having ended up there.
The Chinese are coming (or are already here …)
But I’ll bet it still poses an attractive proposition to the Chinese middle classes who according to the Daily Mail are snapping up anything they can lay their hands on to invest their money.
I never thought I’d see an article in the Daily Mail criticising the middle classes of any country but there ya go.
The piece talks of a recent sales exhibition for Chinese investors who can’t afford Mayfair but are using their cash to snap up properties in what the article calls “Crime ridden estates” with their “Street gangs”.
In keeping with their usual style the Mail yells:
“English estate agents vied like barrow-boys to sell flats and houses to cash-rich Chinese speculators”.
Going on to say:
“Alice Macdonald of Knight Knox International, remarked jubilantly after sealing another quick deal: ‘These people are buying British property as if they were shopping in Tesco!”.
All a worrying trend if its true though.
Foreign billionaires already own many ghost homes in prime locations and we can live with that down at the feeding trough end of housing where most of us live but if we start getting ghost homes in Croydon or Tottenham it’s a different kettle of fish balls.
PRS not a priority for Councillors
In the wake of the local elections I was surprised to read the results of a survey carried out among local councillors with the remit for housing issues, which revealed that only 2% of them think that the problems and conditions in the Private Rented Sector should be a council priority
In my borough the PRS has doubled in size in the last 10 years and more people are renting private than social.
Mind you for our councillors it is a major priority and you have to wonder at a survey’s findings which clearly ‘fess up to the fact that only 42 councillors actually responded, which is a probably more of an indicator that only 2% of councillors give a shit about filling in pointless surveys.
LAG blog supports rent control
Andrew Arden QC made one of his occasional forays into the light this week by penning an interesting article on the LAG blog, the first paragraph of which will have all landlords coughing into their tea:
“With house prices and rents unaffordably sky high, we wonder whether it is not time to think again about a method that was historically successful both for tenants and owner-occupiers – rent control.”
Provocative as ever.
I remember a year or so back we were in court as the local authority where Mr Arden was defending the other side. When asked to round-up the by then bored judge, he gave him 40 minutes saying “You’ve ridden this particular hobby horse around the court for some time now” haha
The main thrust of his argument is that high rents push the benefit bill up whilst draining cash from tenants who cant afford to buy.
Contrary to popular belief he points back to the old rent control and heretically suggests that it didn’t result in the homelessness applications we see today.
He is right too. I worked in frontline homelessness both before and after the introduction of the Housing Act 1988 and trust me…..we have far more of a homelessness crisis now than we did then.
For many years and writings I have been against rent control for all the usual arguments espoused by landlords at a time of acute housing shortage but at this late stage in the game I’m simply seeing too many new homelessness cases created by unaffordable rents.
Am I making a special case for London? Probably but not even all of London. In many of the boroughs on the edge of the capital the gap between housing benefit levels and market rent isn’t as marked as it is in the inner boroughs where it is propelling the repossession and homelessness crisis.
So I’m with Andrew Arden and Generation Rent on this one.
The Mushroom House
Finally, having photographed that bloody eyesore of a development in my area I fell in love with the Mushroom House, reported on in this week’s Telegraph
A concrete surrealist dream situated on the Canadian border with New York state. The kind of imagination that is entirely unknown to the architects of my local monstrosity.
Linking in nicely to the biggest bee house in the world also covered in the Telegraph.
Notting Hill’s shrine to bees created by Sarah and Emilio Orrechia to raise awareness of Britain’s declining bee population, except it isn’t really.
Admittedly it has a beehive shaped lampshade in the living room but beyond that the hymn to all things buzzy are yellow cushion covers, a yellow coffee maker and what the article calls “Artfully scattered bee books (with yellow covers).”
I’m sorry but what does all this do to save bees?
What it does do is promote Sarah Orrechia’s natural Health products company “Unbeelievable Health”.
But that’s trendy Notting Hill’s chattering classes for you….call up a mate at the Telegraph and get him to write a property article that handily gives you free publicity for your company.
Cynical? Moi? Its not the self publicity that I’m cynical about just natural healthcare generally.
I once starved myself and went without alcohol for 9 months as part of an ongoing homeopathy thing to cure childhood asthma.
I had to foreswear any Pfizer style medication and wheezed my way forward for the best part of a year only to find once I’d developed an abscess on my tooth the bloody hippy told me to get anti-biotics from the doctor.
Now I am firmly of a mind that if you are lying by the side of the road following a car crash you wouldn’t say “Quick….pick me some Parsley” would you?
See ya next week.