<p>London has the greatest number of teams, of course. But where are the locals most soccer-mad?</p><p>A schoolfriend spent so much time at Arsenal games, his mum once yelled at him: “You should bloody well move into Highbury.” (She’d had a trying day.) Don’t tempt him, I thought to myself. Wealthier fans saw such fantasies come true in 2005 when flats in the old stadium went on sale. Every other football fan, alas, will have to settle for a little more distance between their sofas and the six-yard box.</p><p>For sheer number of teams: move to London. Boring! For sheer number per capita: the plot thickens. The Telegraph’s <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/11453267/Which-is-Englands-greatest-footballing-city.html">Jonathan Liew crunched numbers</a> in 2015 to find England’s “greatest football city” via clubs per&nbsp;population: Manchester, followed by Liverpool and then – interesting! – Blackburn.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/24/where-to-move-football-teams">Continue reading...</a>

Where to move for… football teams

Feb 24, 2018 8:00

London has the greatest number of teams, of course. But where are the locals most soccer-mad?

A schoolfriend spent so much time at Arsenal games, his mum once yelled at him: “You should bloody well move into Highbury.” (She’d had a trying day.) Don’t tempt him, I thought to myself. Wealthier fans saw such fantasies come true in 2005 when flats in the old stadium went on sale. Every other football fan, alas, will have to settle for a little more distance between their sofas and the six-yard box.

For sheer number of teams: move to London. Boring! For sheer number per capita: the plot thickens. The Telegraph’s Jonathan Liew crunched numbers in 2015 to find England’s “greatest football city” via clubs per population: Manchester, followed by Liverpool and then – interesting! – Blackburn.

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<p>If the roots of its liberal and creative image are a mystery, its appeal is obvious</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Nobody knows why Hebden Bridge became “Hebden Bridge”, officially the quirkiest/kookiest/koolest/most LGBTQ-friendly/least chain-store-y etc small town in the universe. I have asked. I asked the people in the herb shop on the narrowboat, at the market, on the towpath, at the <a href="https://thetradesclub.com/">Trades Club</a>. I asked Urban Boffins in the university faculty I teach in. Nobody knows. It <em>looks</em> like other northern, post-industrial former mill towns: canal, steep valley, Methodist chapels, chimneys... It <em>feels</em>, though, utterly different, a little rain-soaked paradise. You’d never have guessed it from Hebden Bridge’s starring role in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2014/dec/23/best-tv-of-2014-no-1-happy-valley">Happy Valley</a>’s grimfest; nor from local boy Ted Hughes’ poem <a href="https://poetreecreations.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/stubbing-wharfe-by-ted-hughes-your-favourite-poem/">Stubbing Wharfe</a>: “the hopeless old stone trap”. Two decades after he wrote that in the 1950s, though, others saw what he couldn’t – artists, hippies and conservationists doing up its cheap, knackered buildings. Today the town feels festive even on a wet winter Tuesday: all co-ops, carrot cake and bunting – blunt Yorkshire wit, though, perfectly tempering the earnestness.</p><p><strong>The case against…</strong> Such is the demand to live here, and such is the shortage of space, you’ll pay a premium to move in. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/video/2015/dec/27/drone-footage-of-flooding-in-hebden-bridge-and-mytholmroyd-video">Floods</a>: though how well it bounced back from the last, in 2016. Cosmopolitan it may be, but it’s still a very small town. Occasionally tends towards over-kookiness.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/23/lets-move-to-hebden-bridge-west-yorks">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Hebden Bridge, West Yorks: a rain-soaked paradise

Feb 23, 2018 16:30

If the roots of its liberal and creative image are a mystery, its appeal is obvious

What’s going for it? Nobody knows why Hebden Bridge became “Hebden Bridge”, officially the quirkiest/kookiest/koolest/most LGBTQ-friendly/least chain-store-y etc small town in the universe. I have asked. I asked the people in the herb shop on the narrowboat, at the market, on the towpath, at the Trades Club. I asked Urban Boffins in the university faculty I teach in. Nobody knows. It looks like other northern, post-industrial former mill towns: canal, steep valley, Methodist chapels, chimneys... It feels, though, utterly different, a little rain-soaked paradise. You’d never have guessed it from Hebden Bridge’s starring role in Happy Valley’s grimfest; nor from local boy Ted Hughes’ poem Stubbing Wharfe: “the hopeless old stone trap”. Two decades after he wrote that in the 1950s, though, others saw what he couldn’t – artists, hippies and conservationists doing up its cheap, knackered buildings. Today the town feels festive even on a wet winter Tuesday: all co-ops, carrot cake and bunting – blunt Yorkshire wit, though, perfectly tempering the earnestness.

The case against… Such is the demand to live here, and such is the shortage of space, you’ll pay a premium to move in. Floods: though how well it bounced back from the last, in 2016. Cosmopolitan it may be, but it’s still a very small town. Occasionally tends towards over-kookiness.

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<p>Show your true colours with these visually stunning properties, from Devon to Norfolk</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2018/feb/23/brightly-painted-homes-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Brightly painted homes – in pictures

Feb 23, 2018 15:47

Show your true colours with these visually stunning properties, from Devon to Norfolk

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<p>Anonymous buyer picks up right to collect soaring ground rents on Blythe Court flats from freeholder MPs called ‘crook’</p><p>The freehold to a block of flats in Birmingham regarded as <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/22/freehold-on-disputed-birmingham-leasehold-flats-goes-on-sale">the worst example of leasehold abuse in the country</a> has been snapped up by an anonymous buyer for £180,000. </p><p>The deal leaves buyers of the small one-bedroom flats – who thought they would be paying just £250 a year in ground rent – locked into bills of up to £8,000 a year and ultimately spiralling to £8m a year over the life of the lease. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/22/freehold-worst-leasehold-abuse-block-sold-blyte-court-martin-paine">Continue reading...</a>

Freehold of 'worst leasehold abuse' block sold for £180,000

Feb 22, 2018 22:45

Anonymous buyer picks up right to collect soaring ground rents on Blythe Court flats from freeholder MPs called ‘crook’

The freehold to a block of flats in Birmingham regarded as the worst example of leasehold abuse in the country has been snapped up by an anonymous buyer for £180,000.

The deal leaves buyers of the small one-bedroom flats – who thought they would be paying just £250 a year in ground rent – locked into bills of up to £8,000 a year and ultimately spiralling to £8m a year over the life of the lease.

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<p>Ruling in favour of couple filmed on Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away may have repercussions for broadcasters</p><p>A family filmed being abruptly evicted from their home for Channel 5 series Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away has won a high court legal battle, which could force broadcasters to tone down the content of observational documentaries.</p><p>The episode of the show, which says it features “Britain’s favourite high court enforcement agents”, involved the filming of the eviction of a married couple for failing to pay rent.<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/feb/22/couple-filmed-evicted-channel-5-tv-show-win-damages-high-court">Continue reading...</a>

Couple filmed being evicted on Channel 5 TV show win damages

Feb 22, 2018 10:51

Ruling in favour of couple filmed on Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away may have repercussions for broadcasters

A family filmed being abruptly evicted from their home for Channel 5 series Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away has won a high court legal battle, which could force broadcasters to tone down the content of observational documentaries.

The episode of the show, which says it features “Britain’s favourite high court enforcement agents”, involved the filming of the eviction of a married couple for failing to pay rent.

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<p>£8,000 a year ground rent bill for buyers already and rising towards £8m – as watchdog warns time’s up for leasehold</p><p></p><p>The freehold to a 1960s block of flats near Birmingham regarded as the worst example of leasehold abuse in Britain will be auctioned on Thursday, as a new report warns that the leasehold system is on borrowed time. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/22/freehold-on-disputed-birmingham-leasehold-flats-goes-on-sale">Continue reading...</a>

Is this the worst leasehold block in Britain?

Feb 22, 2018 10:37

£8,000 a year ground rent bill for buyers already and rising towards £8m – as watchdog warns time’s up for leasehold

The freehold to a 1960s block of flats near Birmingham regarded as the worst example of leasehold abuse in Britain will be auctioned on Thursday, as a new report warns that the leasehold system is on borrowed time.

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<p>Imagine living life in tweed slacks and Boden quilted bodywarmers</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> A confession: sometimes I pretend to read the Daily Telegraph. It’s a bit like cosplay. I try to imagine living life in tweed slacks and Boden quilted bodywarmer,&nbsp;with a <a href="https://www.plainenglishdesign.co.uk/">Plain English</a> tongue-and-groove kitchen, polenta cake in the oven, pedigree labrador panting at the back door, several cases of vintage claret in the cellar. Perhaps like <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/4wGJsYGWMNnDn1NpG8DzjwY/jennifer-aldridge">Jennifer off The Archers</a>. Probably in Chipping Campden. It’s that kind of place: amazing, if you detach yourself from your entire world view. Gorgeous, rose-garnished 17th-century cottages lived in by Jemima Puddleducks, straight outta <a href="https://www.thisengland.co.uk/">This England</a>. Window frames freshly painted. No stained mattresses abandoned on the&nbsp;pavement. Framed photos of the Queen or St Jacob Rees-Mogg. Topiaried hedges. Quaint local customs (its Olimpick Games). Morris dancing (the horror). If there is a&nbsp;seamier side of closet <a href="https://www.redpepper.org.uk/about/">Red Pepper</a> subscribers, then my undercover research must have&nbsp;failed me.</p><p><strong>The case against…</strong> The rest of reality kept at bay. Morris dancing, etc. Tourists (though far fewer than Broadway and Moreton-in-Marsh).</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/16/lets-move-to-chipping-campden-gloucestershire-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire

Feb 16, 2018 16:30

Imagine living life in tweed slacks and Boden quilted bodywarmers

What’s going for it? A confession: sometimes I pretend to read the Daily Telegraph. It’s a bit like cosplay. I try to imagine living life in tweed slacks and Boden quilted bodywarmer, with a Plain English tongue-and-groove kitchen, polenta cake in the oven, pedigree labrador panting at the back door, several cases of vintage claret in the cellar. Perhaps like Jennifer off The Archers. Probably in Chipping Campden. It’s that kind of place: amazing, if you detach yourself from your entire world view. Gorgeous, rose-garnished 17th-century cottages lived in by Jemima Puddleducks, straight outta This England. Window frames freshly painted. No stained mattresses abandoned on the pavement. Framed photos of the Queen or St Jacob Rees-Mogg. Topiaried hedges. Quaint local customs (its Olimpick Games). Morris dancing (the horror). If there is a seamier side of closet Red Pepper subscribers, then my undercover research must have failed me.

The case against… The rest of reality kept at bay. Morris dancing, etc. Tourists (though far fewer than Broadway and Moreton-in-Marsh).

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<p>It will regenerate again before long</p><p><strong>What’s going for it? </strong>Deptford has been regenerated. It’s like what happens occasionally in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/doctor-who">Doctor Who</a>, only with bollards and negroni bars. Like Doctor Who, regeneration comes accompanied with not a little controversy. And, like Doctor Who, this is very much not the first time. The neighbourhood seems to have been in permanent regeneration mode since Henry VIII stuck his dockyard here. Deptford’s latest shape appears to be Peckhamdalstonhackneyorsomewherelikethat. The old new Deptfords – halal butchers, mighty council estates, continental grocers, the brilliant <a href="http://www.thealbany.org.uk/">Albany theatre</a>, the beautiful 18th-century St Paul’s church, the splendid <a href="https://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/">Laban Centre</a> (ah, the Blair years!), two pie-and-mash shops, stained mattresses and greasy chicken shop wrappers piled on the pavement – they’re all still there, only they’ve been joined by “creative spaces” and craft gin bars. The library is called a “lounge”, dressed in gold lamé, decking and lattes, with a ball court on the roof, so you can throw a few hoops with your Proust. Love it, hate it? Worry not. It’ll regenerate again before long.</p><p><strong>The case against… </strong>Not for the faint-hearted: it’s a vigorous, noisy, traffic-clogged spot, with little green space and relief, bar a soothing walk along the sludgy Deptford Creek. Even more regeneration, in the shape of the vast <a href="http://www.convoys-wharf.com/">Convoys Wharf development</a>, awaits.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/09/lets-move-to-deptford-south-east-london-property-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Deptford, south-east London: love it, hate it? Worry not

Feb 9, 2018 16:29

It will regenerate again before long

What’s going for it? Deptford has been regenerated. It’s like what happens occasionally in Doctor Who, only with bollards and negroni bars. Like Doctor Who, regeneration comes accompanied with not a little controversy. And, like Doctor Who, this is very much not the first time. The neighbourhood seems to have been in permanent regeneration mode since Henry VIII stuck his dockyard here. Deptford’s latest shape appears to be Peckhamdalstonhackneyorsomewherelikethat. The old new Deptfords – halal butchers, mighty council estates, continental grocers, the brilliant Albany theatre, the beautiful 18th-century St Paul’s church, the splendid Laban Centre (ah, the Blair years!), two pie-and-mash shops, stained mattresses and greasy chicken shop wrappers piled on the pavement – they’re all still there, only they’ve been joined by “creative spaces” and craft gin bars. The library is called a “lounge”, dressed in gold lamé, decking and lattes, with a ball court on the roof, so you can throw a few hoops with your Proust. Love it, hate it? Worry not. It’ll regenerate again before long.

The case against… Not for the faint-hearted: it’s a vigorous, noisy, traffic-clogged spot, with little green space and relief, bar a soothing walk along the sludgy Deptford Creek. Even more regeneration, in the shape of the vast Convoys Wharf development, awaits.

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<p>Yes, the green welly brigade is in evidence, but this market town is one of those rare spots in the countryside where Guardian readers can be out and proud</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> It’s not often one yearns to set eyes upon a concrete multistorey car park. But Stroud is a welcome corrective to most Cotswolds towns, which are a succession of cutie pies, all Country Casuals, antiques shops and unmuddied green wellies, like scoffing three boxes of Thorntons with <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/may/14/the-waltons-ian-sansom-dynasties">The Waltons</a> on loop.</p><p>First of all, multistoreys. The town has its pretty moments, but much of it is ordinary (good ordinary), occasionally shabby (good shabby). Second, although the green welly brigade is in evidence, it is outnumbered. There is a Peacocks. There is the great <a href="https://twitter.com/stroudbookshop">Stroud bookshop</a>. There is <a href="http://www.fattoni.co.uk/stroud/">Fat Toni’s pizzeria</a> (slogan: “history in the baking”). It has health-food shops. It has community farms. It has “Britain’s first totally organic cafe”. It has a spirited community that likes nothing more than seeing off Tesco, McDonald’s and the BNP while rooting for trees, hospitals and post offices. That is right: Stroud is one of those rare spots in the countryside – such as <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2009/may/09/lewes-sussex-properties">Lewes</a> or <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/sep/28/lets-move-to-totnes-devon">Totnes</a> – where Guardian readers can be out and proud.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/02/lets-move-to-stroud-gloucestershire-cotswolds">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Stroud, Gloucestershire: a spirited community in the Cotswolds

Feb 2, 2018 16:30

Yes, the green welly brigade is in evidence, but this market town is one of those rare spots in the countryside where Guardian readers can be out and proud

What’s going for it? It’s not often one yearns to set eyes upon a concrete multistorey car park. But Stroud is a welcome corrective to most Cotswolds towns, which are a succession of cutie pies, all Country Casuals, antiques shops and unmuddied green wellies, like scoffing three boxes of Thorntons with The Waltons on loop.

First of all, multistoreys. The town has its pretty moments, but much of it is ordinary (good ordinary), occasionally shabby (good shabby). Second, although the green welly brigade is in evidence, it is outnumbered. There is a Peacocks. There is the great Stroud bookshop. There is Fat Toni’s pizzeria (slogan: “history in the baking”). It has health-food shops. It has community farms. It has “Britain’s first totally organic cafe”. It has a spirited community that likes nothing more than seeing off Tesco, McDonald’s and the BNP while rooting for trees, hospitals and post offices. That is right: Stroud is one of those rare spots in the countryside – such as Lewes or Totnes – where Guardian readers can be out and proud.

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<p>Beverley’s minstrels used to be quite the thing in the 14th century, like One Direction with lutes</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> I tell you, <a href="https://beverleyminster.org.uk/visit-us-2/misericords/">the misericords of Beverley Minster</a>! You have never seen<strong> </strong>the like. And don’t get me started on the stone carving. Oh, go on then: Beverley’s minstrels used to be quite the thing in the 14th century, like <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/music/one-direction">One Direction</a> with lutes, their fame preserved for posterity in limestone, drummers, pipers and hornblowers emerging from the minster’s surfaces in full song. If I lived in Beverley, I’d visit this astonishing church – without compare anywhere in Britain – every day.</p><p>Even if you’re not a fan of early English ecclesiastical architecture – shame! – Beverley is the bees’ knees, one of those towns that’s a delight from market square to city limits. Its chief fault – relative isolation – is the key to its chief attribute: not having been buggered about with. Despite the occasional boutique hotel and the arrival of quinoa, Beverley’s character, I imagine, is much the same as it was when its minstrels were riding high in the pop charts.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/jan/26/lets-move-beverley-east-yorkshire">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Beverley, east Yorkshire: a delight from market square to city limits

Jan 26, 2018 16:30

Beverley’s minstrels used to be quite the thing in the 14th century, like One Direction with lutes

What’s going for it? I tell you, the misericords of Beverley Minster! You have never seen the like. And don’t get me started on the stone carving. Oh, go on then: Beverley’s minstrels used to be quite the thing in the 14th century, like One Direction with lutes, their fame preserved for posterity in limestone, drummers, pipers and hornblowers emerging from the minster’s surfaces in full song. If I lived in Beverley, I’d visit this astonishing church – without compare anywhere in Britain – every day.

Even if you’re not a fan of early English ecclesiastical architecture – shame! – Beverley is the bees’ knees, one of those towns that’s a delight from market square to city limits. Its chief fault – relative isolation – is the key to its chief attribute: not having been buggered about with. Despite the occasional boutique hotel and the arrival of quinoa, Beverley’s character, I imagine, is much the same as it was when its minstrels were riding high in the pop charts.

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<p>I’m planning to leave London and I’m thinking about renting out my property</p><p> <strong>Q</strong> My family and I are planning to leave London and move north. Ultimately we want to own a house in the place we move to, but we are planning on renting for the first year whilst we get established.</p><p>Ten years ago we bought a two-bedroom flat in East Dulwich on part-rent part-buy scheme for key workers. At the time we could afford to buy a 25% share of the flat which was valued at £240,000. Later on, we purchased a further 50% when the value was £350,000, then bought the final 25% when the value was £415,000. Our current mortgage loan stands at about £300,000 and the flat is now valued at £500,000.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/12/flat-interest-only-mortgage-london-property">Continue reading...</a>

Should I keep my flat on an interest-only mortgage when I move city?

Feb 12, 2018 15:11

I’m planning to leave London and I’m thinking about renting out my property

Q My family and I are planning to leave London and move north. Ultimately we want to own a house in the place we move to, but we are planning on renting for the first year whilst we get established.

Ten years ago we bought a two-bedroom flat in East Dulwich on part-rent part-buy scheme for key workers. At the time we could afford to buy a 25% share of the flat which was valued at £240,000. Later on, we purchased a further 50% when the value was £350,000, then bought the final 25% when the value was £415,000. Our current mortgage loan stands at about £300,000 and the flat is now valued at £500,000.

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<p>I’ve got a deposit and am excited about buying – but friends tell me to wait in case prices fall</p><p> <strong>Q</strong> My husband and I are finally in a position to buy our first home after many years of saving for a deposit. However, both family members and friends have told us to wait a little longer as they feel prices are set to fall slightly in 2018 due to Brexit and a change in interest rates being imminent. We are paying a fairly high monthly rent of £1,500 as we live in a popular commuter town in the south-east but estimate that our mortgage will cost about £1,000 a month. I am so excited that we are finally in a position to be able to buy our own home but at the same time wonder if we should just exercise a bit of caution as to the market. <strong>LB</strong></p><p><strong>A </strong>Your family and friends must have been reading a different newspaper because – apart from in London – experts believe that rather than falling, house prices will stop going up or, at least, go up by no more than 1% in 2018. As for interest rates, the bank base rate is expected to rise in late spring by another 0.25% meaning a rate of 0.75% which, it is thought, won’t change over the course of the year because of the weak economy. Even though base rate is higher than it has been, mortgages are still cheap and expected to stay that way.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/05/delay-buying-home-brexit-prices">Continue reading...</a>

Should I delay buying my first home because of Brexit?

Feb 5, 2018 13:28

I’ve got a deposit and am excited about buying – but friends tell me to wait in case prices fall

Q My husband and I are finally in a position to buy our first home after many years of saving for a deposit. However, both family members and friends have told us to wait a little longer as they feel prices are set to fall slightly in 2018 due to Brexit and a change in interest rates being imminent. We are paying a fairly high monthly rent of £1,500 as we live in a popular commuter town in the south-east but estimate that our mortgage will cost about £1,000 a month. I am so excited that we are finally in a position to be able to buy our own home but at the same time wonder if we should just exercise a bit of caution as to the market. LB

A Your family and friends must have been reading a different newspaper because – apart from in London – experts believe that rather than falling, house prices will stop going up or, at least, go up by no more than 1% in 2018. As for interest rates, the bank base rate is expected to rise in late spring by another 0.25% meaning a rate of 0.75% which, it is thought, won’t change over the course of the year because of the weak economy. Even though base rate is higher than it has been, mortgages are still cheap and expected to stay that way.

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<p>The owner has agreed a new 12-month lease on the property and I would like to live in it</p><p> <strong>Q </strong>I want to buy a flat, and I am a first- time buyer. The owner put the property on the market in October, but has agreed a new 12-month lease with his tenants, so the tenancy won’t expire until December 2018.</p><p>I want to buy this flat to live in, but am not sure if, because there are tenants living there, I would have to get a buy-to-let mortgage or my own residential one. Can you help? <strong>NG</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/jan/31/buy-to-let-mortgage-flat-tenants-lease">Continue reading...</a>

Do I need a buy-to-let mortgage to get a flat with tenants still there?

Jan 31, 2018 7:00

The owner has agreed a new 12-month lease on the property and I would like to live in it

Q I want to buy a flat, and I am a first- time buyer. The owner put the property on the market in October, but has agreed a new 12-month lease with his tenants, so the tenancy won’t expire until December 2018.

I want to buy this flat to live in, but am not sure if, because there are tenants living there, I would have to get a buy-to-let mortgage or my own residential one. Can you help? NG

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<p>I’ll need to repay 12.5% of the value when I pay the loan off – I might lose out if it’s worth more</p><p> <strong>Q</strong> My wife and I have reserved a new-build property in Surrey costing £600,000. We are now considering whether or not to use the help-to-buy scheme. If we did we would put down a deposit of 7.5%, get a help-to-buy loan of 12.5% and a mortgage of 80% of the value of the house. If we didn’t use the help-to-buy scheme, we would have a 10% cash deposit and 90% mortgage.</p><p>Assuming we were to pay back the 12.5% equity loan of £75,000 within five years (so as not to attract interest), will we lose any equity if the house increases in value?<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/jan/22/help-to-buy-scheme-new-build-home-loan">Continue reading...</a>

Should I use the help-to-buy scheme for a new-build home?

Jan 22, 2018 10:00

I’ll need to repay 12.5% of the value when I pay the loan off – I might lose out if it’s worth more

Q My wife and I have reserved a new-build property in Surrey costing £600,000. We are now considering whether or not to use the help-to-buy scheme. If we did we would put down a deposit of 7.5%, get a help-to-buy loan of 12.5% and a mortgage of 80% of the value of the house. If we didn’t use the help-to-buy scheme, we would have a 10% cash deposit and 90% mortgage.

Assuming we were to pay back the 12.5% equity loan of £75,000 within five years (so as not to attract interest), will we lose any equity if the house increases in value?

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<p>My brother now wants us to change to being joint tenants, but I’m not sure if this is the right thing to do</p><p><strong>Q</strong> When my mother died, my brother and I inherited a property which we currently own as tenants in common. But my brother now wants us to change to being joint tenants. He’s getting divorced and thinks that becoming joint tenants will mean that if he dies, his ex-wife won’t get a share of the property as she currently would under the terms of his will as would his two children.</p><p> I’m not sure if this is the right thing to do and worry about how it would affect my share in the property which I intend to leave to my husband if I die before him. My brother is putting me under immense pressure. <strong>NN</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/dec/11/tenancy-inherited-house-joint-tenants">Continue reading...</a>

Should I change the tenancy on an inherited house to suit my brother?

Dec 11, 2017 10:53

My brother now wants us to change to being joint tenants, but I’m not sure if this is the right thing to do

Q When my mother died, my brother and I inherited a property which we currently own as tenants in common. But my brother now wants us to change to being joint tenants. He’s getting divorced and thinks that becoming joint tenants will mean that if he dies, his ex-wife won’t get a share of the property as she currently would under the terms of his will as would his two children.

I’m not sure if this is the right thing to do and worry about how it would affect my share in the property which I intend to leave to my husband if I die before him. My brother is putting me under immense pressure. NN

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You can navigate your way through what can be a long and complex process by following these steps<p>Buying a home can be a long and complex process, but typically it involves going through these steps:</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/nov/24/factsheet-buying-home-property">Continue reading...</a>

Factsheet: Buying a home

Nov 24, 2014 14:10

You can navigate your way through what can be a long and complex process by following these steps

Buying a home can be a long and complex process, but typically it involves going through these steps:

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'How to' guides for a wide variety of personal finance issues including: claiming benefits, taking out a loan, interest rates, buying a house, insurance, pensions, savings and tax<p><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2007/oct/25/state.pensions">State pensions</a><br><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2008/sep/11/taxcredits.familyfinance">Tax credits</a></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/nov/20/money-factsheets-benefits-loans-interest-rates-buying-house-insurance-pensions-savings">Continue reading...</a>

Money factsheets: How to organise your finances

Nov 20, 2013 12:35

'How to' guides for a wide variety of personal finance issues including: claiming benefits, taking out a loan, interest rates, buying a house, insurance, pensions, savings and tax

State pensions
Tax credits

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<p>Five properties, from Manchester to the Isle of Wight, that could work well for some buyers</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2018/feb/16/homes-in-former-commercial-buildings-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes in former commercial buildings – in pictures

Feb 16, 2018 13:07

Five properties, from Manchester to the Isle of Wight, that could work well for some buyers

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<p>Feel the love at these properties in romantic settings, from Dorset to London’s Southbank</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2018/feb/09/love-nests-valentines-day-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Love nests for Valentine’s Day – in pictures

Feb 9, 2018 12:48

Feel the love at these properties in romantic settings, from Dorset to London’s Southbank

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<p>Want to own a piece of history? Here are five of the best properties on the market </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2018/feb/02/grade-i-listed-homes-for-sale-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Grade I listed homes for sale – in pictures

Feb 2, 2018 7:00

Want to own a piece of history? Here are five of the best properties on the market

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<p>Our gardening expert on how to get the best crop of this popular herb</p><p>That clean, green, mineral-like flavour of flat-leaf parsley in winter, particularly in salads, is one of the ways I hold dear to getting through the darker months. It’s rich in iron, vitamin A and C, several B complexes, packed with flavonoids and has a long history of aiding digestion.</p><p>For such a health-giving herb, parsley has long been marred by strange superstitions and devilish ways. Apparently, one of the reasons it is notoriously slow to germinate (and it can take over a month) is because the seed has to visit the devil several times first, often forgetting to come back from the underworld. In reality, this is just the vagaries of being in the Apiaceae family: it is notorious for having seed with underdeveloped embryos, which results in patchy germination.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/24/how-to-grow-parsley-seeds">Continue reading...</a>

How to grow parsley | Alys Fowler

Feb 24, 2018 11:00

Our gardening expert on how to get the best crop of this popular herb

That clean, green, mineral-like flavour of flat-leaf parsley in winter, particularly in salads, is one of the ways I hold dear to getting through the darker months. It’s rich in iron, vitamin A and C, several B complexes, packed with flavonoids and has a long history of aiding digestion.

For such a health-giving herb, parsley has long been marred by strange superstitions and devilish ways. Apparently, one of the reasons it is notoriously slow to germinate (and it can take over a month) is because the seed has to visit the devil several times first, often forgetting to come back from the underworld. In reality, this is just the vagaries of being in the Apiaceae family: it is notorious for having seed with underdeveloped embryos, which results in patchy germination.

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<p>Plant a star magnolia, visit the Camellia Show, prune your winter jasmine</p><p><strong>Plant this</strong> If you love magnolias but can’t fit a big tree in your garden, the slow-growing, compact <a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/10721/Magnolia-stellata/Details" title="">star magnolia</a> (Magnolia stellata) is your answer. The white flowers are a welcome sign of early spring. Needs full sun and protection from cold winds, but minimal pruning. Height and spread 3m x 3m, eventually.</p><p><strong>Visit this</strong> If you’e in need of some garden glamour, Chiswick House in west London’s Grade I-listed conservatory is the ideal refuge right now. Its camellia collection – huge, venerable and utterly gorgeous – is at peak bloom this month and next. <a href="http://chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk/event/camellia-show/" title="">The Camellia Show</a> is until 25 March.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/24/plant-star-magnolia-visit-camellia-show-prune-winter-jasmine">Continue reading...</a>

Gardens: what to do this week

Feb 24, 2018 11:00

Plant a star magnolia, visit the Camellia Show, prune your winter jasmine

Plant this If you love magnolias but can’t fit a big tree in your garden, the slow-growing, compact star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) is your answer. The white flowers are a welcome sign of early spring. Needs full sun and protection from cold winds, but minimal pruning. Height and spread 3m x 3m, eventually.

Visit this If you’e in need of some garden glamour, Chiswick House in west London’s Grade I-listed conservatory is the ideal refuge right now. Its camellia collection – huge, venerable and utterly gorgeous – is at peak bloom this month and next. The Camellia Show is until 25 March.

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<p>Hardy annuals to sow, bulbs to buy, pots to pick, snowdrops to split… now is the time to get plans in gear</p><p>Gardeners, rejoice! We’re on the brink of spring. And although it is still officially winter in the UK for another week or so at least – depending on whether you talk to a meteorologist or an astronomer, <a href="https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/seasons/spring/when-does-spring-start">spring begins on 1 March or 20 March</a>, the vernal equinox – now is the perfect time to get plans in gear for the horticultural year.</p><p>Hardy annual flowers are the advance party of the seed-sowing world, so think of these first (just beware occasionally freezing or waterlogged soil). Get your seed order in now, and most hardy annuals can be sown direct into the soil in a month’s time, provided the soil has warmed up enough that you can imagine performing the old farmer’s trick of comfortably sitting your bare buttocks on it.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/24/gardeners-year-starts-here-jane-perrone">Continue reading...</a>

Ready, get set, plant: a gardener’s year starts here

Feb 24, 2018 11:00

Hardy annuals to sow, bulbs to buy, pots to pick, snowdrops to split… now is the time to get plans in gear

Gardeners, rejoice! We’re on the brink of spring. And although it is still officially winter in the UK for another week or so at least – depending on whether you talk to a meteorologist or an astronomer, spring begins on 1 March or 20 March, the vernal equinox – now is the perfect time to get plans in gear for the horticultural year.

Hardy annual flowers are the advance party of the seed-sowing world, so think of these first (just beware occasionally freezing or waterlogged soil). Get your seed order in now, and most hardy annuals can be sown direct into the soil in a month’s time, provided the soil has warmed up enough that you can imagine performing the old farmer’s trick of comfortably sitting your bare buttocks on it.

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<p>Go graphic for a nostalgic vibe</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gallery/2018/feb/23/the-10-best-retro-homes-pieces-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

The 10 best retro homes pieces – in pictures

Feb 23, 2018 16:30

Go graphic for a nostalgic vibe

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The ‘innovative’ savings product is expected to excite investors – but it is not risk-free<p>His business empire spans everything from low-cost flights, hotels and buses to coffee shops, dog-walking and groceries. Now Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is moving into the world of savings and investment with an Isa paying a headline-grabbing 4.05%. But this is far from a risk-free investment.</p><p>The billionaire founder of easyJet is launching (or rather, relaunching) a financial services arm called – what else? – easyMoney, and the Isa being unveiled on Saturday is the first of many planned products.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/24/stelios-easy-isa-investment">Continue reading...</a>

Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s new ‘easyIsa’ offers a 4% return

Feb 24, 2018 9:14

The ‘innovative’ savings product is expected to excite investors – but it is not risk-free

His business empire spans everything from low-cost flights, hotels and buses to coffee shops, dog-walking and groceries. Now Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is moving into the world of savings and investment with an Isa paying a headline-grabbing 4.05%. But this is far from a risk-free investment.

The billionaire founder of easyJet is launching (or rather, relaunching) a financial services arm called – what else? – easyMoney, and the Isa being unveiled on Saturday is the first of many planned products.

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Bank accuses businessman of gross negligence after his account is cleared of £20,000<p>Metro bank is one of the fastest-expanding new banks in Britain, aiming for 100 branches. But what if your account falls victim to fraud? One customer says he is outraged after Metro refused to refund £20,000 stolen from his account, despite accepting he did not authorise the payments.</p><p>Paul Graham*, a Kent-based businessman, lost £20,000 after fraudsters were able to go into the Brixton, south London branch of mobile phone company EE and take over his phone account, which they used to set up a series of new online payments, that subsequently emptied his Metro account.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/24/metro-bank-refuses-to-refund-scammed-customer">Continue reading...</a>

Metro bank refuses to refund scammed customer

Feb 24, 2018 9:14

Bank accuses businessman of gross negligence after his account is cleared of £20,000

Metro bank is one of the fastest-expanding new banks in Britain, aiming for 100 branches. But what if your account falls victim to fraud? One customer says he is outraged after Metro refused to refund £20,000 stolen from his account, despite accepting he did not authorise the payments.

Paul Graham*, a Kent-based businessman, lost £20,000 after fraudsters were able to go into the Brixton, south London branch of mobile phone company EE and take over his phone account, which they used to set up a series of new online payments, that subsequently emptied his Metro account.

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<p>Former recruitment consultant Rob Anderson on how he organises his finances – and why he isn’t keen on bucket lists</p><p>I live in the East End of London and own my flat. I have a brain tumour. I’m dying – it’s inoperable, and I’m halfway through my third round of chemo.</p><p>I try to live my life to the full, in four-week sprints, with a round of chemo coming up every month.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/24/im-37-im-dying-and-this-is-how-i-spend-it">Continue reading...</a>

‘I’m 37, I’m dying and this is how I spend it’

Feb 24, 2018 9:15

Former recruitment consultant Rob Anderson on how he organises his finances – and why he isn’t keen on bucket lists

I live in the East End of London and own my flat. I have a brain tumour. I’m dying – it’s inoperable, and I’m halfway through my third round of chemo.

I try to live my life to the full, in four-week sprints, with a round of chemo coming up every month.

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<p>Cash Isas are falling out of favour – but there are deals to be found if you can lock money away</p><p>It’s tough for savers: the best-paying easy-access cash Isas – from Virgin Money and Leeds building society – pay just 1.21% interest. Meanwhile, official data earlier this month showed that inflation <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/13/uk-inflation-living-standards-squeeze-brexit-pound">remained high at 3% in January</a> – meaning savers are losing money in real terms.</p><p>That may help explain why cash Isas have <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/31/popularity-cash-isas-collapses-tax-rule-interest-rates">collapsed in popularity</a>, with government data showing a £20bn fall in the amount invested in the space of 12 months.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/24/isas-best-rates-deals-cash">Continue reading...</a>

Isas: what are the best deals now interest rates are low?

Feb 24, 2018 14:25

Cash Isas are falling out of favour – but there are deals to be found if you can lock money away

It’s tough for savers: the best-paying easy-access cash Isas – from Virgin Money and Leeds building society – pay just 1.21% interest. Meanwhile, official data earlier this month showed that inflation remained high at 3% in January – meaning savers are losing money in real terms.

That may help explain why cash Isas have collapsed in popularity, with government data showing a £20bn fall in the amount invested in the space of 12 months.

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The bank blocked the only card a Guardian feature writer had while on holiday in the US<p>Congratulations to Lloyds Bank for launching a timely mental health awareness campaign this month. In the Channel 4 adverts, famous people (including Jeremy Paxman and Victoria Pendleton) and members of the public, wear sticky notes on their heads featuring words and phrases such as bipolar disorder, agoraphobia, depression and anxiety. The voiceover tells us: “Mental health problems affect one in four of our customers, of our staff, of everyone. Let’s get it out in the open. Lloyds Bank – by your side.”</p><p>Of course we should get it out in the open. So let’s start with Lloyds Bank, and how it has contributed to my mental health problems by relying too heavily on algorithms and too little on human staff.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/24/lloyds-debit-card-blocked-us-holiday">Continue reading...</a>

‘Lloyds ruined my trip of a lifetime’

Feb 24, 2018 9:15

The bank blocked the only card a Guardian feature writer had while on holiday in the US

Congratulations to Lloyds Bank for launching a timely mental health awareness campaign this month. In the Channel 4 adverts, famous people (including Jeremy Paxman and Victoria Pendleton) and members of the public, wear sticky notes on their heads featuring words and phrases such as bipolar disorder, agoraphobia, depression and anxiety. The voiceover tells us: “Mental health problems affect one in four of our customers, of our staff, of everyone. Let’s get it out in the open. Lloyds Bank – by your side.”

Of course we should get it out in the open. So let’s start with Lloyds Bank, and how it has contributed to my mental health problems by relying too heavily on algorithms and too little on human staff.

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<p>Will pricey brands such as Dyson really pick up the dirt, or should I stick with a conventional one?</p><p><strong>Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.</strong></p><p><strong>This week’s question:</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/24/is-it-worth-buying-a-cordless-vacuum-cleaner-dyson">Continue reading...</a>

Is it worth buying a cordless vacuum cleaner?

Feb 24, 2018 14:24

Will pricey brands such as Dyson really pick up the dirt, or should I stick with a conventional one?

Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.

This week’s question:

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<p>Shopper thought they were buying beef and it was against their religion to eat pork</p><p><strong>My partner bought what he thought were 12 Angus beef sausages from Waitrose just before Christmas but when he opened the packet there were only six. He cooked four which I thought were a bit spicy but ok, and he said he would return the other two as they didn’t match the packet description. When I looked at the receipt it said six pork chorizo sausages and I was horrified as (for religious reasons) I don’t eat pork.</strong></p><p><strong>He took what was left – and the receipt – to Waitrose which kept the package (specifying no pork ingredients) and said they would investigate. They offered a replacement, which he declined, and a voucher for £10 or £20 from head office, also refused. Correspondence suggests they are not taking it very seriously. We have been loyal customers for many years and are shocked they are treating this so lightly. </strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/20/waitrose-sausage-beef-pork">Continue reading...</a>

Waitrose customer left ‘horrified’ after sausage label mix-up

Feb 20, 2018 7:00

Shopper thought they were buying beef and it was against their religion to eat pork

My partner bought what he thought were 12 Angus beef sausages from Waitrose just before Christmas but when he opened the packet there were only six. He cooked four which I thought were a bit spicy but ok, and he said he would return the other two as they didn’t match the packet description. When I looked at the receipt it said six pork chorizo sausages and I was horrified as (for religious reasons) I don’t eat pork.

He took what was left – and the receipt – to Waitrose which kept the package (specifying no pork ingredients) and said they would investigate. They offered a replacement, which he declined, and a voucher for £10 or £20 from head office, also refused. Correspondence suggests they are not taking it very seriously. We have been loyal customers for many years and are shocked they are treating this so lightly.

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<p>The Bank of England’s chief cashier, Victoria Cleland, on why people still like cash </p><p>It is perhaps not entirely surprising to learn that the woman whose signature adorns Bank of England banknotes is a big fan of cash. She does not use contactless payment cards for personal spending – not least because she is yet to trust the technology completely.</p><p>Victoria Cleland, the Bank’s chief cashier, says she habitually reaches for notes and coins when she makes small purchases. But she may now be in a minority. <br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/21/i-dont-use-contactless-the-woman-whose-name-is-on-british-banknotes">Continue reading...</a>

'I don't use contactless': the woman whose name is on British banknotes

Feb 21, 2018 6:00

The Bank of England’s chief cashier, Victoria Cleland, on why people still like cash

It is perhaps not entirely surprising to learn that the woman whose signature adorns Bank of England banknotes is a big fan of cash. She does not use contactless payment cards for personal spending – not least because she is yet to trust the technology completely.

Victoria Cleland, the Bank’s chief cashier, says she habitually reaches for notes and coins when she makes small purchases. But she may now be in a minority.

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Sim-swap fraudsters hijack customer’s phone and try to access his bank account<p><strong>Miles Brignall </strong></p><p><em> </em></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/10/ee-sim-card-swap-fraud-security">Continue reading...</a>

‘Totally inadequate’ EE slammed over security

Feb 10, 2018 7:00

Sim-swap fraudsters hijack customer’s phone and try to access his bank account

Miles Brignall

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<p>Embroiderer Chloe Savage on why she spends thousands updating her wardrobe</p><p>Because I work in the fashion industry, as a couture embroiderer for high-end fashion houses, I’m expected to look a certain way. I can’t walk into Chanel’s head office in a pair of H&amp;M jeans and be taken seriously.</p><p>That means constantly updating my wardrobe – I have to keep up with the latest trends. Effectively, I have to sell myself and embody Chloe Savage Embroidery. Sometimes that means I wear my own work, but when I go for a job for a specific client, I always wear some key pieces that show I get that brand and understand where it is right now.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/10/i-work-in-fashion-so-i-have-to-spend-horrific-amounts-on-clothes">Continue reading...</a>

‘I work in fashion so I have to spend horrific amounts on clothes’

Feb 10, 2018 6:30

Embroiderer Chloe Savage on why she spends thousands updating her wardrobe

Because I work in the fashion industry, as a couture embroiderer for high-end fashion houses, I’m expected to look a certain way. I can’t walk into Chanel’s head office in a pair of H&M jeans and be taken seriously.

That means constantly updating my wardrobe – I have to keep up with the latest trends. Effectively, I have to sell myself and embody Chloe Savage Embroidery. Sometimes that means I wear my own work, but when I go for a job for a specific client, I always wear some key pieces that show I get that brand and understand where it is right now.

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<p>An ex-council worker on how she makes her pension stretch to holidays, a car and theatre trips</p><p>It always fascinates me when I talk to other retired people that they don’t seem to know what their income is. I always know exactly what my earnings and outgoings are and, because I’m of the generation that was taught to be canny with money, I make a little go a long way. £18,000 might not seem a lot given the expense of living in London, but I manage a very good life on it.</p><p>The mortgage was paid off 20 years ago, so I don’t have to budget for rent or repayments, though the four-bedroom Victorian house where I raised my family and where I still live is always having expensive things wrong with it. I mean to move somewhere smaller and cheaper to run, but haven’t got round to it.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/03/78-18000-income-london-pension-holidays-car-theatre-trips">Continue reading...</a>

‘I’m 78 on an £18,000 income and live a very good life in London’

Feb 4, 2018 9:36

An ex-council worker on how she makes her pension stretch to holidays, a car and theatre trips

It always fascinates me when I talk to other retired people that they don’t seem to know what their income is. I always know exactly what my earnings and outgoings are and, because I’m of the generation that was taught to be canny with money, I make a little go a long way. £18,000 might not seem a lot given the expense of living in London, but I manage a very good life on it.

The mortgage was paid off 20 years ago, so I don’t have to budget for rent or repayments, though the four-bedroom Victorian house where I raised my family and where I still live is always having expensive things wrong with it. I mean to move somewhere smaller and cheaper to run, but haven’t got round to it.

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The manufacturer repaired our machine with the promise there was no further risk<p><strong>We own a Hotpoint tumble dryer (bought February 2014 for £399) which was subject to the Whirlpool/Hotpoint recall/repair programme. Ours was repaired in 2016 and we believed this ensured there was no further fire risk. But in early February this year – a few seconds after switching it on – it caught fire. The cause was a build-up of fluff and lint on the heating element. We would consider ourselves reasonably diligent regarding cleaning and maintaining the filter, yet it clearly wasn’t sufficient. </strong></p><p><strong>I have been liaising with John Lewis, which provided the warranty, to get the device inspected. I have also written to my local MP, asking him to bring this to the attention of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee which took evidence on this matter, and a possible link between cuts to a Trading Standards budget and the agreed course of action for Hotpoint. Most worryingly, Trading Standards and Hotpoint claim the agreed modification makes the appliance safe. </strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/21/hotpoint-whirlpool-tumble-dryer-recall-fire-risk">Continue reading...</a>

‘Made safe’ Hotpoint tumble dryer catches fire

Feb 21, 2018 6:59

The manufacturer repaired our machine with the promise there was no further risk

We own a Hotpoint tumble dryer (bought February 2014 for £399) which was subject to the Whirlpool/Hotpoint recall/repair programme. Ours was repaired in 2016 and we believed this ensured there was no further fire risk. But in early February this year – a few seconds after switching it on – it caught fire. The cause was a build-up of fluff and lint on the heating element. We would consider ourselves reasonably diligent regarding cleaning and maintaining the filter, yet it clearly wasn’t sufficient.

I have been liaising with John Lewis, which provided the warranty, to get the device inspected. I have also written to my local MP, asking him to bring this to the attention of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee which took evidence on this matter, and a possible link between cuts to a Trading Standards budget and the agreed course of action for Hotpoint. Most worryingly, Trading Standards and Hotpoint claim the agreed modification makes the appliance safe.

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IT consultant Steve Norton on how he lives a simple life in order to focus on his hobby<p>I’d always had a fantasy about racing cars, but it’s a hobby that needs time and money, neither of which I had enough of until five years ago. Then two random things happened that pitched me onto the track. I’d been working for Lancashire police in IT development on £32,000 a year when budget cuts meant that I was moved to maintenance programming and went from playing&nbsp;with shiny new gadgets to fixing people’s viruses all&nbsp;day.</p><p>That didn’t do it for me, so I resigned and set up as a freelance IT consultant. It’s a hard schedule – 12- to 13-hour days five days a week – but it’s doubled my earnings to £60,000 to £70,000 a year.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/17/car-racing-cost-motors">Continue reading...</a>

‘I spend £10,000 a year and most weekends on car racing’

Feb 17, 2018 6:30

IT consultant Steve Norton on how he lives a simple life in order to focus on his hobby

I’d always had a fantasy about racing cars, but it’s a hobby that needs time and money, neither of which I had enough of until five years ago. Then two random things happened that pitched me onto the track. I’d been working for Lancashire police in IT development on £32,000 a year when budget cuts meant that I was moved to maintenance programming and went from playing with shiny new gadgets to fixing people’s viruses all day.

That didn’t do it for me, so I resigned and set up as a freelance IT consultant. It’s a hard schedule – 12- to 13-hour days five days a week – but it’s doubled my earnings to £60,000 to £70,000 a year.

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Customers are scrambling to get credit card refunds after the award-winning ethical retailer fell into administration<p>Customers who recently ordered from bedmaker Warren Evans, which went into administration last week, look to have lost their cash after staff confirmed that no more deliveries will take place.</p><p>The firm, a long-time favourite with Guardian and Observer readers because of its ethical stance, called in administrators on 6 February after failing to find a new investor.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/17/warren-evans-beds-refunds-administration">Continue reading...</a>

Warren Evans buyers sleep uneasily as bed firm folds

Feb 17, 2018 6:59

Customers are scrambling to get credit card refunds after the award-winning ethical retailer fell into administration

Customers who recently ordered from bedmaker Warren Evans, which went into administration last week, look to have lost their cash after staff confirmed that no more deliveries will take place.

The firm, a long-time favourite with Guardian and Observer readers because of its ethical stance, called in administrators on 6 February after failing to find a new investor.

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Rebecca Parkin, an ‘obsessive money saver’, bought her Audi TT car for cash last year<p>I’m 42 years old and mortgage-free. I’ve also managed to downshift so that I now work only two days a week full-time. It helps, I suppose, that I’m single and don’t have kids. I’ve always been an obsessive money saver but not in a way that’s really tight. I have a nice car and take one or two foreign holidays a year. For me it has always been about keeping my expenses down. The downshift was the result of my low outgoings; I could only afford to do it because I’ve always been careful with money.</p><p>The trouble is, if you say you are obsessive about saving money, it can look a bit shonky. Like you’re nutty about everything, that you use both sides of the toilet paper to save money. But it’s not like that. My parents didn’t have a lot of money when we were growing up, and it has just stayed with me. It’s not that I don’t buy what I want or need – I’m just very careful. For example, when I go out to eat with friends, I always find a voucher that we can use.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/jan/27/teacher-saver-audi-tt">Continue reading...</a>

Teacher: I’m 42, paid off my mortgage and I only work two days a week

Jan 27, 2018 6:45

Rebecca Parkin, an ‘obsessive money saver’, bought her Audi TT car for cash last year

I’m 42 years old and mortgage-free. I’ve also managed to downshift so that I now work only two days a week full-time. It helps, I suppose, that I’m single and don’t have kids. I’ve always been an obsessive money saver but not in a way that’s really tight. I have a nice car and take one or two foreign holidays a year. For me it has always been about keeping my expenses down. The downshift was the result of my low outgoings; I could only afford to do it because I’ve always been careful with money.

The trouble is, if you say you are obsessive about saving money, it can look a bit shonky. Like you’re nutty about everything, that you use both sides of the toilet paper to save money. But it’s not like that. My parents didn’t have a lot of money when we were growing up, and it has just stayed with me. It’s not that I don’t buy what I want or need – I’m just very careful. For example, when I go out to eat with friends, I always find a voucher that we can use.

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I didn’t know I had to give my car registration, and ended up with a parking charge notice<p><strong>I called into my local East of England Co-op branch (in Leiston, East Suffolk) in January just before 6pm. It was dark and I parked in the middle – not on the edge –of its car park and saw no signs (though I was later told by staff there were 30!) so I didn’t realise there was a new system. When I went through checkout no one mentioned having to tap the number of your car registration plate into a machine. Considering the parking is free, this is most unusual. The next thing I knew, a PCN (Parking Charge Notice) landed, which had been issued two days later. I filed an appeal online, including a copy of my bank statement showing my purchase of £20.17 at the Co-op, and received confirmation. To date I have heard nothing. To add insult to injury, it said that if the penalty is paid within 14 days the amount is reduced to £60, otherwise it is £100. So much for “free parking”.</strong></p><p>RS, <em>Leiston, Suffolk</em></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/19/co-op-car-park-free-fine-penalty">Continue reading...</a>

Why was I fined £100 for parking in a ‘free’ Co-op car park?

Feb 19, 2018 7:00

I didn’t know I had to give my car registration, and ended up with a parking charge notice

I called into my local East of England Co-op branch (in Leiston, East Suffolk) in January just before 6pm. It was dark and I parked in the middle – not on the edge –of its car park and saw no signs (though I was later told by staff there were 30!) so I didn’t realise there was a new system. When I went through checkout no one mentioned having to tap the number of your car registration plate into a machine. Considering the parking is free, this is most unusual. The next thing I knew, a PCN (Parking Charge Notice) landed, which had been issued two days later. I filed an appeal online, including a copy of my bank statement showing my purchase of £20.17 at the Co-op, and received confirmation. To date I have heard nothing. To add insult to injury, it said that if the penalty is paid within 14 days the amount is reduced to £60, otherwise it is £100. So much for “free parking”.

RS, Leiston, Suffolk

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<p>If you’re planning to remortgage, do it now – a little-known change could push up rates</p><p>There’s going to be an interest rate rise on 28 February. In just a few weeks you are going to see about 0.25% added to mortgage and savings rates. But you won’t see a press release from the Bank of England that the base rate has gone up. Instead, for the first time in years, banks are going to be scrambling to offer savers better rates – and the losers will be anyone taking out a new mortgage.</p><p>So what’s happening? On 28 February an extraordinary financial measure, put in place in the days after the Brexit vote, will end.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/feb/03/interest-rates-rise-february-remortgage">Continue reading...</a>

Watch out: interest rates will rise at the end of February

Feb 3, 2018 7:00

If you’re planning to remortgage, do it now – a little-known change could push up rates

There’s going to be an interest rate rise on 28 February. In just a few weeks you are going to see about 0.25% added to mortgage and savings rates. But you won’t see a press release from the Bank of England that the base rate has gone up. Instead, for the first time in years, banks are going to be scrambling to offer savers better rates – and the losers will be anyone taking out a new mortgage.

So what’s happening? On 28 February an extraordinary financial measure, put in place in the days after the Brexit vote, will end.

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