Search

Property investors flock to buy ‘Britain’s worst hotel’ despite cockroach infestation and raw sewage

13:00 01 May 2014

Owner of the

Owner of the 'worst hotel in Britain' was confused to find a one pound coin among seven-figure offers for his property. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Property investors from across London have been flocking to buy what has become known as “Britain’s worst hotel” – with cash offers ranging from £1.8million to, bizarrely, just £1.

In a sign of the capital’s crowded property market, the landlord of the Happy Vale Hotel, Mornington Crescent, says he has been forced to leave his phone off the hook as estate agents and developers try to snap up the troubled property.

Owner Stephen Gethin, 62, became famous after the Ham&High and national news outlets reported on the raw sewage, cockroaches and leaking ceilings plaguing his five-storey building in Harrington Square.

It followed court action brought by Camden Council against landlord Mr Gethin for breaches of his House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence – which resulted in £20,000 of court fines and costs.

But Mr Gethin’s troubles with the council and the condition of his bedsit-style hotel seems to have only furthered interest from top property moguls.

“The phone has been off the hook with interest,” said Mr Gethin. “People have come in chauffeur-driven cars offering seven-figure cash sums. I’ve had nine offers, all offering large amounts.

“But selling this place will be a last resort. I have to think about my tenants – many of whom are vulnerable – and I’m worried about where they’ll go.”

In a bizarre twist, Mr Gethin even received an anonymous letter containing a £1 coin – which he is convinced has come straight from Camden Council.

“I went to pick up the post and among all the letters offering me millions for the property, I saw a distinct and very official looking letter,” he said.

“I noticed it was the same as the ones I get from the housing benefits office. But when I opened it all I found inside was a £1 coin.

“I was a bit confused – and then thought it must have been a wind-up by someone from the council.

“I’ve spent it now, but it’s not what I wanted from the council.

“All I want now is to get some help so I can fix the place up and get back to managing the property and helping my tenants.”

A spokesman from the council accused Mr Gethin of fabricating the story, adding: “Our housing team has offered advice and support to him in relation to accessing grants to bring the horrendous conditions up to standard.

“These have so far been refused.”

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Jude Goodall,10, Sawdah Mohamed, 11, with headteacher Kate Frood collect money at the school gate to help pupils at their Ebola-hit sister school in Sierra Leone. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Schoolchildren in Kentish Town are on the frontline of a fight to save an Ebola-hit school in Sierra Leone from permanent closure

Yesterday, 18:12
Ian Campbell outside Hendon Magistrates' Court. Picture: Polly Hancock.

A man who threatened to burn down a bus packed with Jewish women and children has been jailed for five months for his anti-Semitic tirade.

Yesterday, 17:00
Left to right: Jeremy Clynes, Deborah Warland, Hetty Colchester and Jonathan Seres, who all helped to set up Garden Suburb Community Library. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Campaigners who took over running their local library to save it from closure fear that new multi-million pound cuts will “decimate” Barnet’s library service.

Yesterday, 16:45
Will Jenkins, of Highgate School, was a finalist in the 11-14 category at the 50th Wildlife Photograher of the Year Awards

When an 11-year-old Highgate schoolboy leapt out of a swimming pool to capture a striking dragon-like iguana on camera, he had no clue the snap would class him among the best young photographers in the world.

Most read news

The billionaire businessman is joining his team in the Mojave desert.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day.”

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California. An eyewitness reported that the craft exploded in flight after ignition. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the […]

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition