Archive | January, 2013

Bored of Buy To Let: 5 Alternative Property Investment Ideas

30 Jan

If you tire of seeing the same old house price indices and fancy a property investment with a difference, check out these lots which are going to auction shortly.

I can’t vouch for their investment potential – but they’re certainly different – and are an interesting conversation starter…or stopper!


Cleethorpes Pier (plus bar, restaurant and nightclub)

Guide Price: £400k

alternative property investment

A rare opportunity to own one of the last remaining east coast British seaside piers.  The pier was first opened in 1873 with the original walkway being 1200ft long, in the Second World War the pier was reduced to 335ft.  In 2011 the pavilion has undergone a £250,000+ refurbishment and has been running as a successful fully licenced bar & restaurant with night club and live entertainment venue.

For more info: Swindells


Ancient Monument, Castle Dyke and Bath Row, Stamford

Guide: £20k

alternative property investment

A Grade II listed Ancient Monument of approximately 14th century date. The building is most probably the remains of the Great Hall and comprises of outhouses with 3 splayed arches with the centre having an ancient iron studded door.

For more info: Shonki Brothers


The Former Marton Cum Grafton Service Reservoir, North Yorkshire

Guide Price: £35k

alternative property investment

A former Service Reservoir / Site area approximately 0.2 hectares (0.08 acres).  The site is located to the rear of Ye Olde Punch Bowle Inn, a Grade II listed building in the popular village of Marton Cum Grafton.  The Service Reservoir building extends to approximately 158m2 (1700sq ft)

For more info: Eddisons


Doncaster Waterfront, Greyfriars Road, Doncaster

Guide Price: £250k

alternative property investment

This prime waterside site is linear in nature and extends to approximately 0.92 acre (3,725m2). Located within the St. George’s Conservation area, the site incorporates two buildings, the larger of which is a two storey former Navigation Warehouse which, due to its waterway heritage value, will be required to be retained as part of any redevelopment. The single storey element of the former depot (positioned on the eastern flank of the warehouse) is not considered worthy of retention.

For more info: Eddisons


Car Park Investment, Sheffield

Guide Price: £950k – 1M

car park for sale

A long leasehold car park located in the city centre and arranged over ground and 3 basement floors to provide a car park on 6 parking levels for a total of 145 car parking spaces.  The property is let to BISHOPSGATE PARKING (No. 2) LIMITED for a term of 99 years from 8th April 1967 at a current rent of £100,000 per annum, exclusive of rates. Bishopsgate Parking (No. 2) Limited have sub-let the property to NATIONAL CAR PARKS LIMITED for a term of 34 years and eleven months from 29th June 2002.

For more info: Allsop

Can I Get Any Mileage From These Roads For Sale?

27 Jan

Curiosity got the better of me.

I obviously have far too much time on my hands – and I need to get a life!

However, I just had to go and visit the roads for sale which I posted about here

I just HAD to see if the Sexy Toll Booth idea would work – aka known as “Boob Booths” since the other half renamed them!

So with the promise of a Sunday lunch out – he joined me on my rather odd auction adventure of looking at the Portfolio of Roads for sale!

Having been, seen, driven and investigated the roads for sale I am still tickled by the idea.  I have no idea what I can do with a portfolio of roads – but I feel I need to do something…

So far having searched on the net for “roads for sale” I have found none.  The only thing google found was Abbey Road – and that’s a cheat as it was “Abbey Road Studios”.

I have, however, found a “Global Toll Road Developer” – although when they see my portfolio of roads I think they will smirk.  In fact, I think they will probably just laugh in my face.

So what to do with a portfolio of roads?  I have no clue.  And so dear reader – I pass it over to you: here’s my little video of the roads for sale – see what you think!


Could SEXY Roads Be My Future Property Cash Cow???

25 Jan

I’m either drunk, stupid or stoned, but I LOVE this auction lot:

Portfolio of Roadways, Industrial Estate, Xxxshire.

roads for sale

And in case you didn’t get it: The property comprises a portfolio of roads within an Industrial Estate.

In fact, they even have an OS map showing the portfolio of roads:

road for sale

I feel I should buy it.

I don’t think anybody in the Mr-Big of The Property World is going to take me seriously unless I have a Portfolio of Roads.

Nah.  I don’t think Mr Big Property People worry about this portfolio of houses malarky – that is so “Recession Depression”You’ve got to think BIGGER and BETTER!

So, I think I’m going to buy the Portfolio of Roads as I have come up with a *stunning* idea the bank manager will love:


road for sale

Yes – and I mean S-E-X-Y.

Like – “WTF, am I in Amsterdam this is so damn sexy?”

Like – manned (or even wo-manned) by actual “Booth Babes”

Like – in sexy booth gear.

When in actual fact….

You’ll just be on a road in an industrial estate.

But, then you will see:

You’re on a road with Sexy Toll Booths otherwise known as (STBs) but not the sort of place where you’ll catch STD’s.

I haven’t decided the price yet – but I reckon the guys won’t mind queuing to pay…

The Problem Of “Perception” When Selling A Property

23 Jan

It’s been two weeks since the new estate agent have been on the case with selling the refurbished property.  The price has been dropped by £5k – to £179,995 allegedly to open the property to a “new audience”. I know that sounds like typical estate agent clap-trap, but they informed me that home buyers search in 10k price brackets.

So I did my own research and I discovered, in fact, that does appear to be true!  Just go on Rightmove or Zoopla and you will see the prices are in 10k bands.  Doh! (Homer Simpson moment!)

So what’s the feedback?

Well the new estate agent has now had 8 viewings.

Hatched have had 4 viewings.

I am not sure how the new estate agent has managed to get double the amount of viewings than Hatched.  Maybe there is a “dark art” to being an estate agent…maybe there is something to be said of the oft-heralded and (I believed before) “mythical” mailing list.  Maybe it is even something to do with the “call outs” they claim to do to customers. I don’t know, but the numbers do not lie.

The good news: 12 viewings in 2 weeks.

The bad news: 12 viewings and 0 offers.

So what’s the problem?


lack of parking problem to sell a house

Well, it’s not even that parking is a problem.  But, it’s the *perception* that parking is a problem, which is the problem.  The parking at the property is communal, there are no allocated spaces; its communal parking.  And it is the communal parking which is the killer.

The perception that parking is a problem is an absolute deal breaker…in fact, a deal can’t even be made because of the problem of the perception of the parking problem.  Which is purely perception.

There is NO problem with parking.  It is only a perceived problem.

perception of parking problem

I don’t know what to do.  Every single piece of feedback features the “parking problem”:

“I think the lack of parking is putting me off, we have 2 cars, so I think I need a better property parking wise”

“It has the kind of space we’re looking for and the decor is lovely. I wasn’t keen on the parking

“Love the house, parking is an issue as my husband drives a transit”

And I could go on…

But I won’t.

Truly, I don’t know what to do.  The property does NOT have a problem with parking.  I have never had a problem parking, the estate agents have never had a problem parking, the tradesmen (and at one point there were 4 vans in the car park!) did not have a problem with parking.


People *perceive* there to be a parking problem.

So I am stuck with a perceived problem, which is actually creating a very real problem.


Should I Pay, Or Should I Go -To Court?

16 Jan

Yet again, I find myself in another fine mess on account of my tenants…I’m going to call them “tenant tangles” – far less expletive than the words I would normally use, and considerably less libellous.

So what’s the story?

As ever it starts with a letter.  A letter which pops through my letter box, unannounced and which I have no fair warning I am about to receive. It was an invoice for works to the tune of £190.40 for boarding up a door.

I checked the address – yes, indeed I own that property.  But, No, I did not authorise those works.  Especially not when I read the letter further and discovered the works were carried out in April 2012 – some nine months ago!

Satisfied the letter had nothing to do with me I filed it. And ignored it.

One week later: another letter arrives, this time with DEFAULT SUMMONS; and adds a court fee of £110, bringing the total due to £300.40. 

The letter states: “If you do not wish for Court Action to be taken against you and your property then payment must be made”.

Now there are many things I wish for – a Lamborghini Aventador being the top of my wish list – but Court Action, “Nah”, can’t say I have ever wished for that.

Lamborghini Aventador

So I called the company, I felt it best to share my wish list with them – perhaps they would enjoy listening to the merits of a Lamborghini over the boarding up of a door?

They didn’t.  They wanted my money and they wanted it NOW.

I felt such a demand was pretty unjust – don’t they know how long it is going to take me to save for a Lamborghini Aventador?  I have a piggy bank the size of Waterloo Station next to my house which I need to try and fill before I die if I am ever going to buy one!

I told them:

a) I did not know anything about these works

b) I did not instruct these works

c) I did not authorise these works so…

d) I am not paying for these works.

To which they told me:

a) the police instructed these works

b) we did the work

c) you own the house so…

d) you should pay for the works

I told them no matter how many sub-points they use, the fact remains I did not do the damage, nor have anything to do with the reason why the damage was caused in the first place, nor ask them to do anything about the unknown damage so NO I am NOT paying the bill!

I told them to contact the tenant (who still lives at the property) – after all he was the one who was to blame for the whole mess anyway – the police were NOT trying to break into MY house to arrest ME!  They were trying to break into HIS house to arrest HIM.  I am his landlord, NOT his mother, NOR his guardian, NOR his bill payer.  I will NOT be held liable for my tenant’s actions when all I do is rent him a house!

The exchange got pretty heated. So I slammed the phone down. “How dare they try and rob my Lamborghini fund!”

Fuming.  I was steaming.  All I do is rent a property to a person and suddenly when they don’t let the police in to enact a warrant for their arrest it’s somehow something to do with me?


It is NOT something to do with me.

I am just the landlord. I am just the owner of the property.  I am NOT the person who is liable for the tenant’s actions.

And so the letters continued.

And they became ever more threatening.

And then I got *really angry*

I am just a landlord not my tenants billpayer

So I called the police and told them to pay the bill.  They did the damage so what the hell has it got to do with me.  They told me it was not their bill to pay.  I told them it was not my bill to pay.  They told me it was my tenant’s bill to pay.  We agreed.

So I called the company again.

I told them to stop harassing me and start harassing the tenant whose fault it was anyway and whose bill it was to pay.  And I told them the police had also said it was the tenant’s bill to pay and that the tenant had agreed at the time of arrest to pay the bill.

I think I must have really *shouted* because all I heard at the other end of the line was a quivering voice which said “We have tried writing to the tenant, but he has never responded to us” 

*BINGO* Life lesson learned: if you ignore something for long enough, it goes away…it becomes somebody else’s problem.  I DON’T THINK SO!

So I called the NLA helpline, a solicitor and posted my question on my Landlord Network Forum where I got lots of great advice.

The outcome?

There’s two options:

  1. Pay the bill and deduct it from the tenant deposit (fine, but it’s unlikely there will be anything left of his deposit due to other “tenant tangles”
  2. Don’t pay the bill and fight them in court

Right now, I’m heading for option 2.  The deadline for payment is today otherwise they’re taking me to court.  I have mused on this a lot.  Probably far more than what the sum is actually worth.

But this feels like a principle.

This is not just about the money.

This is about fighting for landlord rights.

This is about landlords NOT being treated as scapegoats for their “tenant tangles”.

******************  UPDATE 18:14 16 Jan 2013 ******************

Thanks so much for all your comments, tweets and FB messages – which were all overwhelmingly in favour of *FIGHT* – you are such a blood-thirsty lot!!!

I was especially inspired by Tom’s comments (or as he said “pep talk”) which said:

“principles…shape who we are as people”…”You may of course WIN! And set a new precedent for future landlords who fall foul of this outrageous behaviour…”

Well that did it for me! Such fighting talk – I went off and polished up my sword!

So let battle commence – I will wait for my summons with glee and let you know what happens!