[Ben Reeve Lewis has been thinking …)
I have been thinking about the gap between rich and poor in housing
Many moons ago, in a previous life as a professional musician my band were managed by Jim Beech, whose other clients were Chris Rea and Queen.
Back then money from records basically came in two forms, mechanicals and royalties. Mechanicals is for records sold and royalties for stuff played on radio and TV.
Royalties by far outstrip mechanicals by a country mile. Both were paid quarterly per territory and there were 84 territories in total.
I once saw a mechanicals cheque on the office desk for just one Queen album, one quarter, in one territory, Argentina, which was for £224,000.
Multiply that by 84 territories 4 times a year, add the quarterly royalty cheques to that and then times it by the number of albums you have out, not including merchandise.
My calculator just blew up.
Chatting to Freddie
I was once sitting in the management office chatting to Freddie Mercury (as you do) he was moaning that he was house hunting in New York but couldn’t find anywhere suitable and was spending money renting out an entire floor of a hotel which he had been doing for 6 months.
Of course I played along, rolling my eyes at the absurdity of the New York real estate market, tut-tutting in agreement, as if my life offered up identical problems instead of trying to work out how to make the £50 running money I had just been given last until next Friday.
And it appears that there are still plenty of people in Freddy’s camp out there as this piece in the Evening Standard proves. A flat for rent at £25,000 a week.
If you fancy a gold ceiling …
Described humbly as a “Super-Luxe trophy home” the 7,700 sq foot monster boasts its own shoe rack to hold 500 pairs and comes with ceilings lined with 24 carat gold.
All this but the tenants still have to share the garden and communal gym.
An absolute scandal and one I am sure the new tenants will take to the Residential Property Tribunal. I’m happy to help out for a small fee.
This set me thinking about where the most expensive place to rent might be.
What’s the most expensive city?
London has to be high on the list surely? I watched a documentary about Karl Marx the other week where they read out a letter from his wife to a mate in Germany saying that they were renting a tiny room on Soho for what they could get a 5 bed house for back home and this was the late 1800s.
But I was surprised to read this set of stats from the Global Cities Business Alliance that reveal Beijing tops the list with London a full 9 places below them on the list of rents that are in the “Youre ‘avin a laugh aincha?” camp.
Apparently 7.7 million migrant workers in the city live underground and the article pointed me to another one about renting costs in San Francisco where Peter Berkowitz had built a 32 foot square plywood box in a friend’s flat, without a gold ceiling (imagine that?) paying $400 a month rent from which he was chucked out by the council.
Mind you a different set of figures came via CEOWorld which ranked New York top of the world’s most expensive cities in which to rent with London only 2 places behind, whilst Beijing and its 7.7 million subterranean migrant workers not even on the list at all.
Just goes to prove the point that 72.4% of statistics are made up.
So if Beijing or New York are the most expensive places to rent (depending on whose report you are relying on) where is the cheapest?
Thailand apparently a one bed flat will take £300 of your hard earned in rent.
The commute is a bugger though, be warned.
Anti social cooking
Leaving behind the gap between rich and poor I fell across my fave story this week from the Metro where a housing association tenant is attempting to sue landlords Viridion Housing for failing to prevent her upstairs neighbour from cooking foreign food, arguing that the culinary exploits of her neighbour amount to anti-social behaviour mainly because of the excessive use of chillies.
“At times, she has ‘choked in her sleep’ and ‘staggered to her balcony gasping for air’ after the fumes brought on breathing problems.”
Trumpets the article.
Maybe if she had her ceilings lined with gold in a “Super Luxe trophy home” style the fumes wouldn’t get upstairs.
That’s the trouble when you are so strapped for cash you cant afford a solid gold ceiling……………….bloody peasant!
At last! A proper punishment
Regular readers will know that as a prosecutor of landlords for harassment and illegal eviction for a quarter of a century I long ago become disenchanted with criminal prosecution because of the paltry fines handed down by the criminal judiciary.
So I was amazed and encouraged to read of the recent result of Brent Council in London who not only whacked a thug landlord for £20,000 in costs and damages but also got him jailed for 4 months.
All of this being part of Brent stepping up its licensing scheme and targeting rogue landlords, achieving an impressive two to five prosecutions each week.
Rehan Sheikh had illegally evicted 6 tenants, assaulted one and had no HMO licence.
He is now languishing in a room, smaller than anything he has previously let out and having to empty his own toilet by hand at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
If I was him I would call in environmental health to look at the building standards. Its not right is it?
I’ve heard he hasnt even got a gold ceiling.
What made me smile this week.
Discovering the excellent Jacob Collier and his album “In my room”.
A sickeningly talented individual who plays all the instruments on his debut album and is only 21.
Hailed as the savour of British Jazz he was signed up by no less a luminary than Quincy Jones who spotted videos the kid had put up on youtube covering Stevie Wonder classics.
Check out the single Hijada, it somehow blends elements of Lemon Jelly, Hatfield and the North, Jamiroquoi and Jamie Cullum.
If those names mean anything to you then you’ll know where he is coming from.
See ya next week