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Austin Allegro

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Everything posted by Austin Allegro

  1. £100 a month on clothes?!! £200 a month on food?? What's he eating, caviar and champagne for breakfast? I'm not surprised someone spending that amount can't save anything!
  2. The West Ham slumlord says: A (sic) Immediate Internal Inspection Is Highly Recommended. You don't say! Just wait until the Nathans decide West Ham is the 'new Hoxton'. The Cookham properties aren't too bad IMO - don't let the Slough postcode fool you, it's a lovely, lovely area with good transport links to London and beautiful countryside nearby. A young professional couple would be far better off there than paying the same amount for a shoebox in Balham.
  3. I'm reading an interesting book: 'They Walked Like Men' by Clifford D. Simak (1963). Out of print but available on Amazon. It's about an alien race that take over the world. Instead of violent confrontation (which could result in humans fighting back) they slowly and secretly destroy the world's economy from within - buying up property and destroying the financial systems, so that people become too demoralised/disorganised to fight back. I wonder if that's where BTL landlords got the idea...?
  4. Urgh. My life (or my flatmates' lives, anyway) was far too much like 'This Life' ten years ago. I just wanted to get away from people like that! I was impressed that the funeral scene at the beginning used the 1662 BCP liturgy (normally they get liturgy wrong in TV funerals) but after that I lost interest....zzzzzz
  5. That's odd. The Telegraph on Saturday had a full page article about how house prices were going to drop by 20% in 2007! I always get the impression the Express is read by fifty-something couples called Derek and Maureen, who sit in their PVC conservatories on their big wicker armchairs, sipping coffee and eating 'crassonts', and discussing whether to upgrade their holiday static caravan to a timeshare in Gran Canaria.
  6. I wonder how many people really understand MEWing? I was speaking to a girl at work who's doing it and she seemed to think she was being given money rather than loaned it. Will we see a MEWing 'misselling' scandal in a few years' time (complete with state bailouts, naturally)?
  7. But the neighbours have glazed theirs in completely! I wonder how they got that through the council planning department, if they bothered at all...!
  8. OK the actual size is not that bad, it's about the same as my current flat. What is ridiculous however, and sums up the cynical attitude of those 'in property', is the pathetic attempt to squeeze an extra bedroom in. Without that it would be a small but okay-ish flat for a single person. As it is, it is just a way of maximising profit whilst minimising quality of life. Still, I suppose that's 'market forces'. I don't know about the location, but in certain parts of London this would sell for half a million!
  9. I am beginning to wonder if the concept of being able to buy an average home on an average salary was an anomaly - a blip in social and economic history. Until the housing and mortgage boom of the thirties, unless you were extremely wealthy you rented your home. Very few people had the luxury of a private establishment - many families lived with several generations under one roof, and single people generally lived in lodgings and bedsits, or private hotels/clubs if they were better off. At least though a family on an average middle-class income only required one breadwinner to be able to rent (and later buy, when mortgages became widespread) a reasonable 3 bed suburban house - now this is pretty impossible, so in many ways we have gone back to a nineteenth century housing situation...
  10. Great post. Preach on! I've said it before, but bankers are the equivalent of butchers in the old days, who were the fattest people in town simply because they had closest proximity to the food supply. Boasting about bankers' salaries is about as pointless as a sewage worker boasting about how much sh*t sticks to his shoes...
  11. Sounds good in theory, but how do you ensure everyone pays their portion of the bills on time? You can't really have direct debits from everyone's accounts I don't think, so you are relying on someone having to collect cheques from people and send them off. This applies to the cleaner's wages as well. When I shared a flat, we had one 'appointed' person to collect the cheques, but this involved a lot of chasing, reminders etc and we even got cut off once because someone bounced a cheque. Dirty washing up is a possible problem too, as a cleaner will only be coming once a week. One way round this is to dump dirty washing up in people's rooms or in the bin, but in practice this obviously creates resentment!
  12. A few years ago my parents inherited a 3 bed house in a zone 4 London suburb which they have rented out for some time. However for various reasons they are now thinking of selling it. I would estimate the current selling price to be around £300k, though it hasn't been valued yet. They are keen to help me get my own place, and have discussed the possibility of selling it and 'lending' me enough to buy a flat of my own nearer where I work in zone 2. Before I discovered HPC I would have jumped at the chance, but now I am not so sure. I do not wish to appear ungrateful but this raises a couple of questions: 1. Will I be complicit in propping up the crazy London market? I am pretty sure that a lot of people of my age can only afford property because of things like this - eg a friend of colleague was given £400k by her parents to buy a flat in Hackney! Is this kind of thing keeping the madness going, or are there other forces at work? 2. Would it be better to thank mother and father, but advise them to put their money in a high interest account and I will take a 'rain check' for a couple of years to see what the market does - I just don't really like the idea of being indebted to my parents for that much money, although their view is it is better to borrow from them than from a bank. 3. Would it be better to offer to become a tenant in the existing house? It's not really suitable for me as it is too large for one person, needs a lot of work and would mean a long commute, but I would be paying a below-market rent. Any advice welcome!
  13. Does that mean that French teachers are 'qui' workers? ...J'obtiendrai mon manteau...
  14. An excellent catechism and funny as well. May I politely request that the layout is improved a bit - the text is tightly packed and it is not always clear whether Bull or Bear is talking.
  15. I assume because it is a cheaper alternative to actually building council housing. With 'affordable housing' the local authority can look as if it is at least doing something about the problem.
  16. You had a lucky escape! I decided to call flat sharing a day when one of my fellow sharers turned out to be a mentally ill alcoholic with suicidal tendencies and a liking for all night parties! The way I see it is that nobody really WANTS to share a flat, they're just doing it under sufferance. All this 'Friends' style bonhomie is a lot of nonsense mostly. Sharing with friends is risky as well, as I did that and had a falling out over cleaning etc. However, if you do get a good group of like minded people, it could be good fun, but in six years of sharing I never found such people!
  17. I've had this problem. You need to find out really if it's structural damp or just condensation. If it's structural, this is probably rising damp due to a broken damp proof course (DPC) on the outside wall, or penetrating damp due to damaged rendering or pointing (ie a break in the surface of the external wall). This can also be caused by plants or other items against the wall. It could, though this is less likely due to the position, be falling damp due to a broken gutter above. In addition to mould there will probably also be salt extrusion on the inside wall (little lumps of white grit). If none of these are in evidence it is probably condensation, especially if your house was built before 1930 or so, which means the external walls do not have a cavity. This means you're liable to get condensation building up on external walls which causes mould in areas where there is no air movement (eg behind furniture). This generally only requires you to clean the mould off with bleach, then ensure that there is adequate air circulation (ie, you have an extractor fan or a window open anywhere there is steam produced) and you keep the windows open a crack, even in winter. A dehumidifier will also help. The important thing to establish is whether the damp is structural, in which case I would be pretty sure the landlord is obliged to fix it. If it's condensation they should ensure there are proper extractor fans, which I believe are a legal requirement also, but I don't know how any of this will affect your terms of notice.
  18. But gypsies are generally allowed to park their caravans where they wish, are they not, under some sort of 'Human Rights' legal catch-all? Perhaps farmers could get their labourers to sign forms declaring themselves to be Romany (which many of the Romanians may well be anyway) and the council will have Cherie Blair fighting their case before you can say 'council tax increase'!
  19. It does sound a lot, and it's one of the less nice parts of Hampstead. Could this be the knock on effect of city bonus/Russian mafia money? If the merchant w*nkers and the sushi poisoners are buying up all the £1m+ homes, they have displaced the next level down: the company directors/lawyers/film producers etc with a £100k+ salary and a lot of equity, hoping to make a step up from Highbury etc. They can't afford the REAL luxury places but might be willing to stretch to £1.4m for a fixer-up with an NW3 postcode.
  20. £2.99 for a bottle of wine?? I make my own wine from fruit juice (known as 'Buck' or 'Prison Wine') which costs me about 20p a bottle....
  21. My heart bleeds for you. On just £100k a year, I really don't know how you manage. If I were you I'd just put my head in the oven and end it all.... Seriously though, financial disputes are one of the most common reasons for marital strife. If your fiance/e doesn't share your views in this area I'd say it's a more worrying sign than house price rises. My ex simply could not understand why I lived in a small rented flat - she bought at the trough in '96 with her then partner, and just had no concept of the reality of property prices in London. When I got dumped, one of the reasons was that 'she didn't like my flat'! That just proved we weren't compatible to be honest....
  22. I have a friend with an IO mortgage, who is confident that his parents will both be dead in 25 years' time and he will have inherited enough to pay off the mortgage. I suspect this is a common attitude. What people don't bank on is the fact that their parents may still be alive or may have had to sell their homes to pay for care in their old age. They could both go senile at 75 and live for the next 20 years at £500+ per week each in nursing home fees. What is more likely is that when these IO policies mature, there will be a 'misselling' scandal whipped up which will make the Farepak crowd look like they dropped a tuppenny bit. There will be emotive campaigns, websites, bucket collections outside stations, charity fundraisers, etc etc and eventually HMG will make a 'generous gesture' from tax money and bail them out...
  23. Being able to buy a house certainly shows you have risen out of poverty. But how many people are actually able to buy their house, as opposed to getting a mortgage (not quite the same thing)? In London for example, you could earn £70k a year (not poor by any standards) and yet you would still only be able to afford a mortgage on a flat next door to a single mother who got hers free from the council, whilst you would be paying enormous sums of interest to the bank each month. Who is the one living in poverty? For many people, renting is cheaper than buying, meaning they can save and thus increase their actual net worth.
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