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St Alban's residents in a 'hole' lot of trouble

Posted by: Adam Male on 2 October 2015
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Twenty residents of a Hertfordshire street were lefts scratching their heads today when a 20 meter wide sinkhole opened in the middle of their suburban street!

The first sign that something was amiss on Fontmell Close, a quiet St Albans street, came five days ago, with residents noting that a man hole cover appeared to be ‘sinking’.

This was followed by a small hole appearing, which the council had plans to fill on Thursday. However at 1am on Thursday morning, residents woke to the crashing sound of a 20 meter wide hole eating through their street and gardens, rupturing a gas main and demolishing brick walls. The chaos led to the emergency evacuation of six homes and has left a further 50 families without gas, water or electricity. 

It is believed that the 10 meter deep crater opened due to the road being built on the site of a former rubbish dump from the Victorian era. Historically the clay soil had been excavated to make bricks, and the space filled with the town's waste - in time the waste has degraded and compacted leaving an underground cavity which filled with rainwater. This caused a larger void to open, eventually the structure because sufficiently weak that the 'roof' (the road above!) suddenly collapsed in a very dramatic fashion.

There are plans to carry out full archaeological and geological records before repairs take place, however the council believe that they will have utilities back online within the next couple of days and have the hole filled in as soon as possible. 


Stairway to... Clapham?

Posted by: Adam Male on 1 October 2015
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Some estate agents are famous for re-branding small properties as ‘bijou’ or ‘charming’, here at we like to be open and honest, and this London let, which was made famous online by a disgruntled viewer earlier this week is, quite frankly, a cupboard under the stairs.


The current tenants of the property, which is located in desirable Clapham, tried to convince the poor viewer that the advertised space was indeed a fully furnished bedroom, and was worth every penny of the advertised price of £500 pcm, with an additional share of the household bills on top!

The tenants describe their ideal new flatmate as someone ‘friendly, open-minded and outgoing’ who is ‘not looking to stay in their room a lot.’ Although presumably they will be allowed in their room when the Hoover, football boots, coats and washing power are out for the night.

For rental properties with a bit more space, check out what's available on our website

Urban Q&A

Posted by: Adam Male on 30 September 2015
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Q: I have to have a Carbon Monoxide detectors, but I’m not sure where to put it? I want to make sure that the detector safeguards not only my tenants, but the rest of the people who share the building too. Where does it have to go?

A: The location of carbon monoxide detectors is a common problem with rental properties, and one that is essential to get right. Carbon monoxide poisoning kills up to 14 people in the UK every year, and it’s not something to be taken lightly.

We spoke to GasElec, specialists in Gas Safety and certification, who were able to give us the most up-to-date information for our confused customer, taking into account the floorplan of her property. However, it is worth noting that every case is different and there is no definitive ‘best place’ for a detector. However, we have drawn up a best practise guide to advise us on the best plan of action.

The first thing to make sure is that you have purchased the correct type of alarm. They are widely available from all good DIY/hardware stores and most large supermarkets, and are priced from around £15. It is important to make sure that your alarm complies with British Standard EN 50291, and make sure you take note of the alarm’s life span – most units are built to last three to ten years, and they must be replaced once this life span has come to an end.

Once you have the correct alarm, there is a few rules you can follow to make sure that you give it the very best chance of performing properly.

  • Ideally you need an individual alarm in every room with a fuel burning appliance
  •  It should be positioned 2m to 4m from the fuel burning appliance
  • Carbon monoxide is lighter than air, so you need to ensure that the detector is positioned higher than any door or window in the room.
  • It should also be positioned away from any extractor fans, air vents or other ventilation
  • A ceiling mounted detector should be at least 300mm from any wall, and a wall mounted detector should be at least 150mm from the ceiling
  • Don’t position the alarm in an enclosed space, or obstruct it with anything like furniture or curtains
  • Don’t position the alarm directly above a sink or water source where it can be affected by damp or humidity
  • Extreme temperatures can damage the detectors and cause them to becoming less effective, so if you have a property that is subject to temperatures of below -10°C or in excess of 40 °C, it is worth investing in a hardier alarm.

If you are unsure of the best place to position your alarm, you should seek advice from a Gas Safe Capita registered engineer, who will be able to visit your property and advise you on the perfect location to maximise effectiveness.


ATTENTION LANDLORDS: Section 21 changing from October 1st 2015

Posted by: Adam Male on 30 September 2015
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There are serious changes due to the way landlords are allowed to operate within the UK, and it is important that you are aware of what is happening, and how it affects you, and your tenants. 

What’s it all about?

It surrounds the Section 21 act, a section of the Housing Act 1988 that allows landlords to seek recovery of possession of a property which has been let on an assured shorthold tenancy. 

The new legislation, which will be enforced with heavy fines if not adhered to correctly, will ensure that both tenants and landlords are protected by a more effective paper trail throughout the duration of a lease, and will help ensure that you and your tenants are able to communicate  


When is it happening?

All new assured shorthold tenancies in England that start on or after 1 October 2015 will be affected, whilst all remaining assured short hold tenancies in England will be have to comply with the under the new rules from the 1st October 2018


What’s changing?

The new act signals fairly significant changes to the way landlords serve notice, and tenants communicate issues within the property. 

  • It will no longer be possible to give a section 21 notice in the first four months of the tenancy
  • Once a section 21 notice has been given, possession proceedings must start (where appropriate) within six months of the service of the section 21 notice. If this doesn’t happen, the order becomes invalid. 
  • If your tenant makes a complaint about the condition of your property in writing, you will have to respond within 14 days in writing setting out what you intend to do about it and what the timeline for doing this is. If the landlord (a) fails to reply or (b) replies by serving a section 21 notice or (c) gives a reply that is inadequate, then the tenant may complain to the local authority who must inspect the property


What do I need to do? 

From these dates, a valid Section 21 Notice of Eviction can only be served on a tenant if that individual has been served with the following:

  • A valid copy of an up-to-date Energy performance certificate (EPC)
  • A gas Safety certificate carried out by a Gas Safety Capita registered engineer
  • A copy of the most recent booklet ‘How to Rent: The checklist for renting in England must be provided at the start of every lease. This is available for download : 

Can you help!?

It sounds like it is going to be a very confusing time, but don’t worry – the regulations have been introduced in order to ensure a more secure industry for both tenants AND landlords. are able to assist you however you require – if you have any questions ensuring you have all of the relevant paperwork in place before you undertake a new tenancy – our lettings team are more than happy to handle any questions you may have. 

We work hard to ensure than not only the tenants we help place, but also our landlords are protected and able to rent their properties 

Ray of hope for the property shortage!

Posted by: Adam Male on 30 September 2015
Comments: 0

We would always advocate a lick of paint, and a spruce up of your property to ensure you stand out from the crowd when you’re marketing your property for sale, but there are some properties that even the most immaculately presented semi is going to struggle to stand out against!


Plans for the floating ‘City of Meriens’, an ocean-going ‘designer city’ with the capacity to house 7,000 residents in sleek, contemporary style, have been making a splash onto the housing market, with French designer Jacques Rougerie certain that turning to the sea is the answer to the housing shortage on land. 




Shaped like a manta ray, the floating city will be powered by renewable energy sources and operate a ‘zero waste’ programme, as well as planning to boast Aquaculture tanks to farm fish and hydroponic gardens for growing fruit and vegetables, allowing residents to be primarily self-sufficient. 


Residents will be able to moor their boats in inner lagoons (allocated parking is always a selling feature!) which would also house research vessels, such as Mr Rougerie’s SeaOrbiter, an ocean skyscraper and floating lab which is currently under construction.