[This week our intrepid reporter Ben Reeve Lewis considers renting property out for the Olympics and transport Sarf of the river … ]
I try to think of different angles each week for this column. I use a thing called Google Reader to gather my information. It is a tremendously useful add-on to Google whereby you can lock in the sites, blogs and various bits and bobs that you look at often which are then held together so you don’t have to keep searching for individual websites every time, all the new entries get laid out before you in 1 place. Aint technology grand????
As posted before, I have got heartily sick and bored of all the articles and reports doing the rounds about how house prices are going up, going down, end of recession, worsening of recession, but I was inspired by the late night return of the love of me life, the wonderful Frazzy Cox, spinster of this parish (but not for much longer-we are engaged) native of Barbados (via Deptford), travel agent, Salsa teacher and general well intentioned nag.
She brought in this week’s property oriented copy of the free London newspaper Evening Standard. There’s loads of interest in there, landlord and tenant related and I thought I would give you a snapshot of the 29th July 2011.
Lucy Tobin is reporting on how landlords can earn 20% extra in renting their homes out for the Olympics. Apparently this spreads throughout London as different sports are going to be doing their funky-thang in different places. For instance, equestrian sports will be galloping away in Greenwich.
I thought that originally this was only going to be for homes near the site in Stratford, so my mates Lee and Tracey in Hackney are in with a shout with their flats.
Lucy says that in Greater London, planning permission is needed to use property for temporary sleeping accommodation. breaches bringing in fines of up to £20,000. A sobering thought for over enthusiastic young estate agents and their fantasies of ‘Olympic – money porn’
There are also sanctions on tenants taking advantage of the event to sub-let temporarily in that the owners might be able to sue for damages.
Being a Londoner who works in a council housing department and so for whom the word ‘Cynical’ is like a religious motif, and who sees so much property fraud every bloody day, I can predict a rash of dodgy geezers signing up for flats a month before the event and then renting them out before doing a runner. And probably to more than one hapless foreign sport tourist.
Can you imagine 20 shot putters, 15 javelin throwers and a brace of high jumpers turning up with keys on the same day to take up residence of the same property, having paid a couple of grand each up front to a guy who by then is safely tucked up under an AKA in a Hammersmith council flat that actually belongs to someone else, long returned to country of origin?
Also in the good old Evenin’ Stan’ard, the unfortunately named David Spittles, reports about the new north-south divide. Not in the UK but in London. All Londoners know the feeling well. North London is posh and connected by multiple tube lines to the centre.
Traditionally south Londoners are resentful of what they perceive to be their better connected and richer neighbours, while north Londoners don’t believe there is civilised life beyond Hoxton and think you need a passport and a stun gun to venture over London Bridge. [Bits of Sarf London is posh though – what about Blackheath? – Ed]
South London’s transport connections on the other hand have always been rubbish, plus, South London is renowned for psychos, scammers, street crime and general ne’er do wells. But all that is changing and he writes that South London is the new Dubai……..ok I lied about that but his enthusiasm is based on an improved transport infrastructure.
I have noticed this myself. Since the East London line has connected my manor, Sarf East London with Islington, the Trustafarians who can’t actually afford a pied a Terre in Upper Street have been relocating.
The ELL comes to Forest Hill, just up the road from me and I have seen a change. Kebab shops and nail bars are being replaced with organic café’s and even a deli and the ubiquitous sign of affluence….the gastro pub with a favourable review in Time Out if ya please!!!!!.
My favourite local website run by teenagers, the Knowhere guide to Forest Hill has a list of the best things about Forest Hill. My favourite being number 3, which states “McDonalds – Has only been ONE shooting outside it EVER!” Welcome Shoreditch’s finest, the world is yours!
Ruth Bloomfield writes of the £250,000 threshold for avoidance of stamp duty for first time buyers, (running out next year) and finds 60 locations in London where you can still buy a view of the river in that price range.
One of the things I notice about London housing life is the modern obsession with the river. How did it take so long for developers, owners, landlords and tenants to realise it was cool to live by one of the most famous rivers in the world?
I was born and brought up in Deptford, the south London docks that hold Millwall football club, we never thought about the river at all. The docks are now gone, the back to back houses are gone and been replaced with glass and steel things that make the most of the view over to other glass and steel things on the Isle of Dogs.
When I first started work in the homelessness department of Lewisham council in the late 1980s if we offered someone a place on the Pepys Estate in Deptford, a group of 3 tower blocks, tears would flow, husbands would kick-off, sit in’s would take place and we would have to call the cops while we forced the keys, attached to bits of hairy string into their reluctant hands.
Now one of the towers has been dolled up and you can’t get a flat there for love nor money, as developers realise the value of a river view.
Gone is the smell of wee in the lifts, to be replaced with bunches of Gladiolas tastefully arranged in glass vases. The burnt out nicked cars have gone and have been replaced with Beemers and Mercs.
We do indeed live in strange times.