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An Englishman's Home Is His Castle

Apr 20, 2008
In the unfortunate position of finding myself and my children homeless, our local authority housed us in what they call 'safe, suitable temporary accommodation'. This is where we have lived for four months now. There are two rooms and a kitchenette for myself and two teenage boys with a woefully inadequate and unhygienic shared bathroom on the landing.

All of the other residents are in the same position as myself, some get through it with the aid of illegal drugs and some, such as the Polish residents, feel they are living in a veritable palace. I personally cried when they told me where I was going. Don't think me ungrateful, I was glad of a roof over my head, but this place was frequently in the news.

There had been accidents with children through exposed pipe work, drug and gang related fights and numerous break ins, so you can see why I wasn't exactly looking forward to it. The day I moved in, my car was broken into and my purse stolen. When the police came out it seems they already knew the entrance code because they are always there.

My front door was already kitted out with a total of ten assorted locks, chains and bolts as well as metal reinforcement after a previous robbery. This doesn't come under the heading of 'safe, suitable accommodation' in my book. There hasn't been more than 48 hours without a police presence in this building.
So, this week I open the local paper to find that after investigations into this property, it has been condemned as unfit for human habitation. I could have told them that four months ago!

It is proposed that the building is proving too costly to bring up to standard and that it is to be sold off to developers. They have already seen the potential in this building as an investment property and their intention is to pull it down and put a virtual estate of tiny houses in its place and sell them on for a fortune.

This is the intention of the so called 'garden grabber' property developers these days. Investment properties come in many forms but the trend at the trend at the moment is to buy up buildings, particularly the older style that usually come with a little more land, and then bulldoze them and start again.

This creates large estates of miniature properties which may be more affordable for first time buyers but are a little useless unless you are a fan of sliding doors and you don't have a cat to swing. It does, however, provide a multitude of investment properties for landlords who are looking for properties to rent out to those that cannot afford to get a foot on the housing ladder.

New builds are usually, in themselves, good investment properties as they have to conform to much higher standards than in earlier years. They have to be more environmentally friendly in the area of energy saving and are constructed to relatively high standards.

The only area where this type of investment property is difficult is for those with families. There really is no space in a doll's house for a baby and all the clobber that they bring and if a couple have just managed to indulge themselves in this type of investment property when they fall pregnant, they could very quickly find themselves on the move again.
About the Author
Property expert Catherine Harvey looks at the business of buying up investment property and if it's still viable.
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