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

Yesterday, 12:39
Bob Warnock outside the Royal Courts of Justice after the verdict was handed down

The superintendent of Hampstead Heath said he was pleased the outcome of the dams project judicial review has provided “clarity” – and he insisted it will “enhance” the landscape.

Yesterday, 12:11
Members of the Heath swimming associations outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Picture: Polly Hancock

Opponents of the Hampstead Heath dams project insist the fight is not over after losing their High Court challenge – and they are set to lobby the environment secretary and Camden Council.

Yesterday, 12:55
The YouGov webpage about the Ham&High

You are Mercedes-Benz drivers who are arrogant, introverted, curious and daydreamers!

Yesterday, 12:00
Lorraine Chase and Peter Egan with Ira Moss (left) from charity All Dogs Matter at Burgh House 23.11.14. with the cake donated by supporter Ricky Gervais.

It was a busy day for dog rescue charity All Dogs Matter on Sunday.

Most read news

The comedian returned to his home town for the prestigious award ceremony.

The helicopter crashed through the roof of the Clutha pub.

Twitter sat back and watched as the world went bargain-hunting crazy on Black Friday.

There was definitely something buzzing at JCB when he delivered his immigration speech.

Digital Edition

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