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'Squat' Apartment In London Bought For £1,000 Now On The Market For £3.7m

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'Squat' Apartment In London Bought For £1,000 Now On The Market For £3.7m

London is a notoriously expensive place to live, a place where you basically have to sell a kidney to afford a month's rent for a studio flat.

But back in 1974, one savvy young man who had just lost his job bought a 'slum' apartment in Great Cumberland Place, in the centre of the capital, for just £1,000 - and is now selling it for £3.695 million ($4.76m).

While on a boat trip down the Thames, Colin, who didn't wish to give his full name, met two people who were living in a run-down, four-bed property, which had just a year-left on its lease.

And in a move that is now no longer permitted, Colin made a £1,000 'key money' payment to the couple and took over the lease on the property - going on to negotiate a new nine-year lease with the landlord, The Portman Estate.

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But while it might not seem like a lot of money, Colin told Metro: "The property was in a terrible state and £1,000 was not the pittance it seems now.

Colin bought the lease on the property for £1,000 back in 1974. Credit: Lord Estates
Colin bought the lease on the property for £1,000 back in 1974. Credit: Lord Estates

"I had to borrow the money from my mother."

Over the years, he has spent around £350,000 on improving the flat, including installing a large kitchen/dining room extension.

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In 1984, he negotiated a 74-year lease on the property, costing him £40,000, which was extended to 125 years at a cost of £35,000.

Overall, Colin has forked out £150,000 in dealings with the landlord - who now owns no apartments in the building.

But having since moved to the south coast, he says he's ready to sell up or continue to rent it out for £1,450 per week.

He said: "I do have an emotional attachment to it. I lived there for so much of my life. But my life is on the south coast now and at 76, I probably need to sell it."

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Although it might sound like an incredible story, Colin says the rags to riches narrative isn't quite what it appears.

"It makes a great tale, but it is rather misleading," he said.

He's now trying to sell it for £3.695m. Credit: Lord Estates
He's now trying to sell it for £3.695m. Credit: Lord Estates

"When the houses were built, Great Cumberland Place was a very prestigious address. Alexander Murray, who became the 8th Earl of Dunmore, lived there with his wife for four years from 1901, while in far more recent times Madonna and Guy Ritchie had two houses down the road.

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"But it really suffered in the war and the flat, when I first lived there with five of my friends, was a truly primitive place.

"It was freezing cold with no heating except a gas Aga water heater and an electric bar heater.

He added: "I remember watching the Two Ronnies TV show on an old TV, with the help of a coat hanger aerial, where Ronnie Corbett did a monologue that described a man who'd become a success and moved from Lewisham to Great Cumberland Place.

"We fell about laughing because our flat was really a slum. More like a squat."

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The apartment is on the market with Lord Estates.

Featured Image Credit: Lord Estates

Topics: Entertainment, Property, London

Dominic Smithers
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