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

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

Sasha Gordon

A star pupil from a school in Hampstead Garden Suburb has been dubbed Britain’s brightest girl after making it to the final of a television series featuring child geniuses.

14:43
Camden Lock

It is cheaper to live in Madrid and commute to London than it is to rent a flat in Camden Town and work in Liverpool Street, according to new figures.

10:28
Highgate police officer Pc Allan Greig, right, with master locksmith Jim Caldwell of William Channon Locksmiths, left, and neighbourhood watch co-ordinator Christine Nickles. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Vigilant residents have teamed up with police to clamp down on burglaries in response to a spike in the crimes in a cluster of Highgate streets.

Yesterday, 14:54
Winner Jack Reynolds with Radio 1 presenter Cel Spellman. Picture: BAFTA/Jamie Simonds

A Highgate schoolboy has won a prestigious Bafta award for designing a computer game.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder