CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Housing crisis: ‘Absurd’ £1,100 monthly rent for tiny flat leads to calls for reform

Renters despair at “converted utility cupboard” in Hampstead

06 June, 2018 — By William McLennan

The property was advertised on spareroom.co.uk 

SHOCKED reactions to the “absurd” rent being charged for a bedsit likened to a utility cupboard has led to renewed calls for reform of the private rental market.

The flat in Hampstead, which has only a few feet of floor space between the single bed and the kitchen sink, was on the market for £1,100 per month.

A listing on spareroom.co.uk described it as a “modern small self-contained studio flat in the heart of Hampstead village”. It added that it was situated in a “fabulous highly prestigious location”.

But one potential renter, who shared the post with the New Journal, described it as a “converted utility cupboard” and said it made them despair at the state of the housing market.

The small room in Rosslyn Hill contains a fridge, microwave and washing machine, with a separate shower room.

Robert Taylor, of the Camden Federation of Private Tenants, said that “these kinds of really small rental properties are increasingly common”.

He added: “The advert is also a typical example of letting agent speak where it describes the property as having a fully fitted kitchen, rather than the kitchen is the living space. Sadly, we suspect that people have been falling over themselves to live in this tiny space where you can reach the fridge while still lying in bed because it’s located ‘in the heart of Hampstead village’.”

He added: “Properties like these are yet another sign that the private rented sector is not currently “fit for purpose” and urgently needs to be reformed. The simple question we would also ask any landlord who rents out such properties is – would you be prepared to live here?”

Conservative ward councillor Oliver Cooper said: “There’s no doubt that Hampstead is expensive, but this is absurd. It’s fortunately not representative of what’s out there – I rent in the middle of Hampstead Village and pay only slightly more than this for a flat several times the size.”

He added that flat showed the “importance of providing accommodation for key workers that work unsociable hours, have to live locally, and aren’t able to say no.”

Town Hall housing chief Councillor Meric Apak said: “Unless we start looking at houses as homes, and accept, as a collective nation, the concept of state intervention in the form of an investment to provide genuinely affordable council homes, the housing market will remain broken for the many and will continue to serve the interests of only the few. As a collective, about 70 years ago, we accepted an ideology that being healthy was a right enacted for each and every one of us, to be provided by the state to which we all contribute. In my opinion, the same rights should exist for the provision of decent genuinely affordable homes.”

When the New Journal rang a mobile number listed on the advert, a man answered and said the flat was now “not available”. He declined to comment on concerns over the price and lack of space.

Spareroom.co.uk did not respond to request for comment.

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