London Property Matters // Issue 01 // Autumn/Winter 2021

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in this issue: Going South: How the likes of Battersea, Earlsfield and more have evolved to become hot property Simple Life London: The new team that will change how we look at build to rent and property management Top Tips: KFH experts on their first time buying experiences and what you should do

Issue 1 • Autumn / Winter 2021 • • FREE

REIGN SUPREME Issue 1 • Autumn / Winter 2021 •

Exploring the many reasons why Edwardian properties should be at the top of every buyer's and renter's wishlist

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Hoxton Square, Hackney N1 £1,850,000 A stunning three bedroom duplex penthouse which benefits from two en suites and a large wraparound terrace with views of the city skyline. Duplex penthouse | Three double bedrooms | Two bathrooms | City views Wraparound terrace | Desirable location | No onward chain | EPC Rating C | Leasehold


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Birkbeck Road, Beckenham BR3 £1,000,000 A fantastically well presented three bedroom home full of modern features including a courtyard garden and double electric wooden gates for two cars. Three double bedrooms | Three bathrooms | Gated access | Courtyard garden Open plan living space | Outstanding condition | EPC rating C | Freehold


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KFH's Founder and Managing Director opens the first issue of London Property Matters by reflecting on 18 months like no other


On the Cover Claverley Grove, Finchley N3 £900,000 – under offer KFH Finchley 020 3993 3404 Photography by Mark Hazeldine



You have moved into your new place, but it needs sprucing up: Little Greene and Humphries and Begg show you the way


The latest on how KFH has embraced new technology, more on four new office openings, and three stand out new developments

Whether it's sales or lettings, South West London is hitting the mark with the public. We take a look at the many reasons why



Although Edward VII was only king for nine years, his legacy lives on in the capital. We take a closer look at why Edwardian properties are so in demand

Six KFH experts reveal the stories behind their first property purchase


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“In all my years in property, I have not witnessed such a thriving market” p7

ISSUE 1 Autumn/Winter 2021


With a new branch open there, KFH's area experts explain why Queen's Park is so in demand and the kind of properties you can find


As our lives become busier and busier, landlords are looking to outside support to run their portfolio. Here's how KFH's Property Management can help


The relationship between our homes and the environment is coming under more scrutiny than ever before – but you can go green with simple changes


Think sustainability and luxury don't go hand in hand? Think again as we visit a home that is putting the planet first


Exploring how build to rent continues to go from strength to strength across the capital


KFH have joined forces with Simple Life London to change the build to rent landscape in London. We meet the team to find out more


There's a housing shortage in the UK, but London's town centres may just have the answer thanks to permitted development rights


KFH's Block Management has been a part of the business since day one. We look at how it has evolved to offer a five-star service


London Youth has, for over 100 years, offered the capital's younger generation opportunities to grow. Here's how KFH are helping

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Claremont Road, Highgate N6 £4,950 pcm / £1,142 pw A delightful four bedroom semi-detached house with off street parking located on a highly desired street in Highgate. Four double bedrooms | Two bathrooms and a WC | Two reception rooms | Conservatory Modern interior | Character features | South facing garden | Furnished or unfurnished


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Just the start The inaugural issue of London Property Matters emerges from an unprecedented period for us all – and yet the capital’s housing market has defied all expectations


espite beginning 2021 in lockdown, the property market was booming. In fact, in all my years in property, I have not witnessed such a thriving market. In the first six months of this year, we agreed 44% more lets and 71% more sales compared to the same period last year. While business was good, we faced the added challenge of providing the exceptional service and results our clients and customers know to expect from us, while keeping everyone safe. Although the market has flattened since the tapering of the stamp duty holiday, we are expecting a strong end to the year as many Londoners now focus on a different holiday – wanting to be in new homes by Christmas, eager to make up for moments lost last year. Along with helping thousands of Londoners make their next property move, this year we have expanded our network with the opening of four new branches (meet our Queen’s Park team and find out what makes the area so desirable on page 32). We have also brought

two build to rent developments to market in partnership with Simple Life London. Read more about the build to rent market (page 48) and how we are helping to bring the Simple Life promise to London (page 52). Looking ahead, we explore the relationship between our homes and the environment, along with the future of green mortgages, on page 42. We also delve into why our housing shortage needs imaginative solutions and whether permitted development rights (PDRs) are the answer on page 54. Please do take a few minutes to read about the work of London Youth, as told by CEO Rosemary Watt-Wyness, on page 62. We are very proud to be in our fifth year of supporting their invaluable work with young Londoners, both through staff fundraising challenges (more on page 63) and by donating £1 for every property valuation we undertake. Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to enter our competition to win an overnight stay at The Kensington Hotel, along with breakfast, dinner and a tour of Kensington Palace, on page 66. After the 18 months we have endured, I think we could all do with a bit of R&R. I hope you enjoy reading the first issue of this magazine as much as we enjoyed creating it. We are delighted to share with you our expertise and knowledge of the London property market. If you have any feedback, we would love to hear from you. Please email 

Lee Watts

KFH Founder and Managing Director ISSUE 1 · AW2021

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Forward thinking

Instant access  KFH has launched new landlord and tenant portals with the aim of improving the customer experience. At the time of launch, the landlord portal went international immediately with users logging on from over 60 countries. At a click of a button, KFH landlords have access to their accounts, can action requests and also access financial data. KFH tenants access the portal to submit maintenance requests and review documentation. Future plans include an applicant portal which will allow tenants to seamlessly transition from applicant stage straight to the resident portal.


NEWS The latest news and launches from KFH

173% increase in property sales across the KFH network in the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period last year.


 Tasked with delivering on a vision to digitally transform the business, the KFH technology team is executing a roadmap that encompasses network infrastructure, in-house software development, connectivity and communications, collaboration, business continuity, and IT support, all underpinned by a group-wide cyber security initiative. What does that mean in layman’s terms? Tom Bryant, Head of Technology at KFH, says: “Put simply, it means we are using technology to streamline operations and processes, collaborate more effectively, and create a more productive and engaging working environment that benefits our staff, suppliers and, most importantly, our customers and clients.” It also means the business can adapt fast to cope with the ‘unexpected’, something that proved crucial in 2020. Building a modern workplace based on agility and innovation is part of a wider strategy to ensure the business keeps up with an ever-evolving property market.



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BACK TO THE OFFICE  The Gatehouse, a development on Armoury Way close to Wandsworth Town overground, launched recently. The development offers four floors of office space, plus reception and basement areas. As well as being close to the station, the premises are near to the bustling restaurant and cafe culture of Old Wandsworth High Street. For more information contact KFH Commercial Property 020 3993 0584 or email


KFH has opened four new branches over the course of the year

 KFH has expanded its Londonwide network with the opening of four new branches in 2021. There are new lettings offices in Brook Green and Forest Hill, Queen's Park sales and lettings, and Sydenham sales and lettings. "The London property market has seen record activity levels for the past 12 months," comments Lee Watts, Managing Director at KFH, "which allowed us to forge ahead with the opening of four new branches across the capital."

of people want to live in a community with amenities for all ages (Source: Home of 2030, July 2020)

KFH New Homes 020 3993 0443

3 OF THE BEST... new developments from KFH


Shakespeare House, N3

Featuring 48 brand new contemporary apartments with generous proportions. Available now, with prices from £285,000.


Hollamby Lane, SE27

A high-end development of bespoke one- and three-bedroom apartments. Available now, with prices from £390,000.


Conan Apartments, SE25 A collection of studio suites and spacious one-bedroom homes, perfect for first time buyers. Available now with prices from £295,000.

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Chimneys often sited halfway down the slope of the roof so they stand directly above the fireplace.

Reign Supreme Often larger, airier and more ornate than their Victorian predecessors, homes built in London during the reign of Edward VII are being rediscovered

Photography by Mark Hazeldine



hat wide staircase, airy hallway and decorative porch of the attractive Victorian house you’ve got your eye on are all clues that it’s probably not Victorian at all, but Edwardian. Built at the turn of the last century, these properties are sturdy, stylish and eclectic – and just a little bit misunderstood. Despite only having a nine-year reign, Edward VII lent his name to an era that resulted in thousands of grand homes springing up in the capital, which are often confused with those built during the Victorian period that stretched for most of the 19th century. Edward, who was nicknamed ‘Bertie’, was the second child and eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and who became king in 1901 and died in 1910, although the Edwardian period is accepted to have lasted up to the start of World War One in 1914. The Prince of Wales was one of the most popular and highly intelligent royals who enjoyed sport, travelling and architecture, and helped restore the monarchy’s popularity. During his reign, Britain experienced big cultural and political shifts; the Liberals returned to

Sash windows often with the upper section divided with glazing bars and a plain lower one.

Dukes Avenue, Muswell Hill N10 £1,825,000 KFH Muswell Hill 020 3993 4558



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Steep pitched roofs with gable ends and dormer windows featuring little-pointed barge-boards.


“These properties are sturdy, stylish and eclectic – and just a bit misunderstood”

Mock timber frame patterns, hanging tiles, a coat of pebbledash, or a plain render with patterns pressed into it on the upper storey.

Porches and balconies edged with timber railings and fretwork patterns, now usually painted white.

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Ceramic tiles often in black and white used to decorate the pathway up to the house and the floor of the entrance hall.

Measures taken to reduce the problem of rising damp such as bitumen or slate damp proof courses, bands of engineering bricks used as a barrier and a raised ground floor so air bricks could be fitted.

power in 1906 and targeted those sections of society that had largely been excluded, such as labourers, servants, and the industrial working class. But, while they provided a starting point for the development of a state-funded support network, many of these reforms were criticised for not going far enough. American author Samuel Hynes once described the Edwardian era as a “leisurely time when women wore picture hats and did not vote, when the rich were not ashamed to live conspicuously, and the sun really never set on the British flag”. A powerful and affluent Britain had a voracious need for more housing, explains Victorian Society Director Joe O’Donnell, who says that although there may be far fewer Edwardian properties than their Victorian counterparts, London saw huge expansion at the turn of the last century – becoming the biggest city in the world – as the country built up its armies and industry pre-World War One. The rapidly increasing population and growth of the railway lines gave rise to the suburbs where Edwardians could build their homes often on larger, leafier plots of land.


In the quest for space, houses appeared in great numbers on the edge of the capital, meaning that Edwardian properties are now typically found in Muswell Hill, Hampstead, Greenwich, Hackney, Dulwich, Blackheath and Richmond. “There was no sudden or big change in style from Victorian houses, it was more like an evolution,” O’Donnell adds, “but they were the apex of traditional building with all the years of development leading up to a conclusion.” During the Edwardian era, despite the growth of the wealthier middle class, there was less demand for servants, which led to fewer floors in houses – more typically two rather than the common three in Victorian times – while toilets were more likely to be built internally for the first time. (As modern homebuyers have discovered, unlike Victorian properties, there’s no need to convert a bedroom for the purpose.) In contrast to the smaller, darker Victorian homes, Edwardian houses were more squat, wider and roomy, so there was often more space for a larger hall, wide staircase and more windows, while rooms were also more spacious and airy, often finished with decorative



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Very high ceilings, originally with a picture rail, designed as outward displays of wealth.

“Bricks were dense and durable, timber was of high quality, and windows can last for centuries” corbels and cornicing. With more space and an everincreasing desire for privacy at that time, it was common for Edwardian properties to have a front garden and to be set back from the pavement. “The majority of houses built from the 1890s through to the outbreak of World War One in 1914 used bricks that were dense and durable, the timber was of a high quality, and windows and doors, which with a bit of maintenance, can last for centuries,” says historical architecture author Trevor Yorke. “Speculative builders then applied many of their features onto the mass market of semis and terraces.” Two key styles to emerge from Edwardian architecture were mock Tudor, also known as Tudorbethan, and Arts and

Crafts. Both used simplistic, rustic approaches that paid homage to nature and incorporated locally found materials in retaliation to mass production in the Victorian age. It meant there was a fashion to half-clad the property exterior in timber or to sub-divide windows into smaller square panes. Affordable glass made larger bay windows possible and there was an increased use of dramatically coloured stained-glass. Industrialisation also meant it was easier to produce features such as the wooden fretwork on porches. European architecture also influenced buildings including the neo-Baroque architecture first discovered in Italy in the 17th century, resulting in sash windows, columns and pilasters. In Edwardian buildings, this translated to small paned leaded windows, magpie-work and rustic bricks. But Jacobean details were sometimes used such as gargoyles, heraldic devices, mullioned windows, studded doors and Dutch gables, while the truly modern Edwardians even included Art Nouveau influences in fireplaces, light fittings, stained glass and door furniture in their houses.

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Tall and thin houses built along relatively straight streets, part of Edwardians’ desire for simplicity of design.

On the market Claverley Grove, Finchley N3 OIEO £900,000 A flawless three double bedroom Edwardian house that enhances the period features, complemented by modern fixtures and fittings. KFH Finchley 020 3993 8109 Hillcrest Road, Ealing Common W3 £1,350,000 This is a bright and airy five bedroom semi-detached home full of character. Stand out features include high ceilings and period fireplaces. KFH Acton 020 3993 7431 Ribblesdale Road, Furzedown SW16 £500,000 This three-bedroom period conversion offers 696sqft of well arranged accommodation, including an open plan kitchen living area with bay windows. KFH Tooting 020 3993 0920

Front doors typically with the upper two-thirds glazed, often with coloured glass or a series of small arched openings.


Spacious, solidly-built and with attractive period details, these homes are often in fantastic locations and offer practical period living for buyers seeking style with substance, says KFH Sales Director for South East London, Julian Peak. “The Edwardian period lasted just nine years and given the limited number of properties built during this period with the perfect balance of architectural flamboyance and practical family living, they are highly sought after and often hidden gems,” he says. Peak says there are huge swathes of properties in London that are larger, more practical and opulent than Victorian properties, particularly Victorian cottages, but believes that along with their style, their value isn’t always understood either. “It’s debatable whether they can currently command a higher price as both the owner and the agent – and even the surveyor – might not always understand the value; they might just stick ‘built in 1900’ on the survey,” he explains. “I believe Edwardian properties should carry a premium and from a sales point of view we have an obligation to unlock that,” he says on KFH's approach to selling Edwardian homes. “Our job is to explain the properties’ stories to buyers.” 



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Choumert Road, Peckham SE15 £1,500,000 This four bedroom Victorian town house is presented over four floors with a perfect blend of period charm and contemporary features. Four bedrooms | Three bathrooms | Victorian terrace | 76ft rear garden Garden room | Belham school catchment | EPC Rating E | Freehold

PECKHAM.SALES@KFH.CO.UK | 020 3993 9920

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In the shade Colour is a fabulous way to transform a home’s look and feel. In this special, we look at Little Greene’s latest collection and, over the page, meet the design team brightening up properties


esigned to make choosing colours a pleasure and intuitive for the user, Little Greene’s two new colour cards bring together the best of its capsule collections. It showcases 196 colours in a new format, presented together, providing customers with a refined and refreshed ‘Colours of England’ collection alongside an expanded range of graduated shades in the new ‘Colour Scales’ offering. With confidence in colour central to the Little Greene ethos, the new cards span over 300 years of historic interior design and include many authentic 18th, 19th and 20th century shades. These historic colours are presented alongside a carefully adjusted palette of contemporary shades, embracing modern interior design aesthetics and current decorating trends. The new ‘Colours of England’ card has been updated to meet the growing desire for classic, timeless colours that are both simple to choose and a joy to live with. The collection includes many significant shades from all over the British Isles that have contributed to the internationally renowned style of ‘English Interior Design’. Ruth Mottershead, Marketing Director for Little Greene, says: “Alongside the cherished Little Greene signature colour palette, it is wonderful to be able to introduce new colours that celebrate the desire for warmth and joy such as ‘Indian


the beautiful and inviting new midstrength blue ‘Etruria’ and ‘Silent White’ – the answer to the everlasting quest for the perfectly balanced, calming and elegant neutral-warm white. “The neutral trend for 2021 continues subtly away from cold greys and traditional country creams, towards neutral stone tones, complex greys and nature’s favourite: green,” she continues. “By providing these soft tonal colours in families we can offer a subtle spectral range that consumers can combine with confidence. The lightest four shades work beautifully to add discreet depth to a room, softly defining characterful architectural features, or reducing the contrast of walls and ceilings, which might be subjected to different light levels. The deeper shades can be used to complete a coordinated, harmonious scheme that, whilst monochromatic in hue, makes a strong statement with an expansive depth of colour.”


Yellow’ named after the traditional oil pigment used by fine artists, ‘Bassoon’ with its deep-ochre undertone, and ‘Giallo’, an uncompromising, yet very easy-to-use, burst of golden sunshine. These bold and charming yellows illustrate our desire to return to warmth without regressing to cream. The punchy new yellows are accompanied by a host of new colours that include gentle powdery pink ‘Masquerade’, rich and charismatic charcoal grey ‘Vulcan’,



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Pictured, far left, Little Greene colours Giallo, Garden and, pictured here, Masquerade

“Historic colours are presented alongside a carefully adjusted palette of contemporary shades”

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Block party Q&A

Alice Begg, of Humphries and Begg, discusses colour and pattern in the home




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Q What is your background and how did you come to be a designer? A I always had a passion for clothes, influenced largely by my grandmother who was a model in the 50s and was always very glam. I grew up in Somerset and she was in London, so we visited her often. It was always so exciting to see city life, I used to get such a buzz driving in on the Westway. Both she and my mother have a very classic look in how they dress and how they would put a room together. My father is an architect, retired now. I grew up discussing buildings and his projects with him, and I was always interested, though he never encouraged my brother and me into it. For me it’s too slow a process anyway. I always knew I wanted to study fashion, though going to fashion college put me off the industry. So instead of finding a job in it after I graduated, I started my own business. One of many that finally led me to Humphries and Begg. Q Humphries and Begg has a distinctive colourful look. Was that there from the start? A I’ve always had a flamboyant style personally, so yes always colourful, but my style of print has developed as the brand evolved. I design the collections from a colour palette that has inspired me. Q Tell us about moving from fashion into homewares. How did it happen? A During my 20s, I had various different part time jobs. Often in retail and one of them was for the Cloth Shop on Portobello Road. This is where I learnt a lot about interior fabrics. We had a lot of interior designers in and I guess I picked up a lot from them and from the manager at the time, Alex Adams. She was brilliant with

colour. I used to always do the windows and had a lovely time there. We had the flat above, which was amazing! I always knew I wanted to do something with fabrics and start making my own one day. We moved from London to Stroud in Gloucestershire before my daughter was born in 2019 and bought our first house. I think this combined with lockdown fast forwarded the idea a bit quicker than it would have happened, had life remained normal. Q What designers do you admire? A There’s a few designers that I feel I learn a lot from: Blockshop Textiles, Ace and Jig and Bode, also Lrnce and Marimekko, all for different reasons. I went to a talk at Hauser and Wirth in Somerset a few years ago on Alexander Calder – I love how he would use so many different mediums and didn’t feel the need to stick to one. He would design or create pieces for around the house, everyday objects and had the most exciting life. Q Is your house a riot of colour and pattern? A It’s pretty colourful! And slowly our fabrics are being infiltrated throughout. It’s currently a bit of a building site, but will be glorious I hope when it’s finished. I love objects and seem to be a bit like a goldfish. Growing to fit the room I’m in. Q Your new table linen is full of summery joy. Tell us about that... A We had this beautiful hand-spun cotton made in some of our favourite prints. They are the perfect weight for tableware so we used a few local makers here in Stroud to make them up – as it’s all about being at home and making the most of our gardens at the moment, it felt like the perfect time.

“I've always had a flamboyant style personally, so yes always colourful, but my style of print has developed as the brand evolved”

Q What’s next for Humphries and Begg? A The pandemic and Brexit have really made it feel harder for us to work with artisans overseas. We will always make our printed summer collection in India with our brilliant print team there and rugs and home textiles, but we want to bring a bit of production back to the UK. So we have been meeting new suppliers here and that feels exciting, we can do shorter runs and be a bit more spontaneous with what we make. I’ve been designing some bed quilts for winter, and we have some amazing wool rugs arriving very soon. Tufted and woven in super bright colours. These are available to pre order now. 

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3 2 T R E N D

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Gorgeous greens How to bring the must-have shade into your home





1. Woodchip & Magnolia x Fearne Cotton, Pondering Peonies Duck Egg Wallpaper £99pr, Moss Paint Emulsion 2.5L £45 2. Hyperion Tiles, Bazaar Ceramic Gloss Moss Green, £51.98 3. Glow Lighting, Bertie Mid Cluster Coloured Glass Pendant Light in Smoke Green and Teal, £550 4. Abode Living, FishFish Medium Green Glass, £8.50 5. OMG Kitty, You Are Golden Art Print Pink Green, £10 6. MADE.COM, Asuna Wide Sideboard Oak Fern Green, £399 7. Nicholas Engert Interiors, Cage Cordless Floor Light Green, £566 8. DaAls, Clarence 3 Seater Sofa in Green Velvet, £309.99



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Vanbrugh Park, Blackheath SE3 £1,950,000 A glorious and imposing semi detached family home positioned perfectly to enjoy both Greenwich Park and the heath. Five bedrooms | Three receptions | Set back with large drive | Large garden Large loft space | Feature fireplaces | EPC Rating E | Freehold


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SWITCHED ON REGIONAL FOCUS London’s SW postcodes offer not only better value than many of their capital counterparts, but also an identifiably different set of lifestyle choices he swathe of London below the gentle western curves of the Thames has achieved an extraordinary transformation in recent years. So much so that house hunters who would have previously barely clocked places like Balham, Brixton, Streatham, Tooting, and Wandsworth now clamour for homes in these revived urban areas. Where students, artists and media folk once cherished SW London’s less polished streets and low housing costs, now a much wider range of house hunters are seeking out its fashionable haunts, discovering its more affordable nooks and crannies, and cherishing the wider streets and rolling green parks, which has reshaped the area’s housing market, retail, leisure facilities, pubs, restaurants and cafés. Parks have had a huge role to play. Almost every area of SW London has a substantial green space and, in some cases, lidos too, including Brockwell Park near Brixton; Clapham, Streatham, Wandsworth and Tooting commons; Wimbledon Park and also Putney Heath – to name a few. And let’s not forget the colossal redevelopment of the formerly industrial riverside area of Nine Elms and its


“This area of the capital has seen a huge increase in popularity among home hunters”



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Branch star KIRA SAPIETS Lettings Branch Director, Battersea Kira Sapiets heads up one of KFH’s most successful lettings branches within its London network, covering everything south of Clapham Junction up to the border with Balham at Nightingale Lane and between Wandsworth and Clapham Common. She has worked in the industry since 2003 and for KFH during the past 13 years, arriving as an assistant manager in SW London before helping open a new office in London Bridge and

then returning to head up the Battersea lettings operation seven years ago in 2014. “One key trend here is that the age of professionals sharing houses or apartments has been going up over the past ten years and now they tend to be in their early to mid-30s,” she says. “The other renters that are prevalent here are families, as most of the properties to rent between the Commons and directly off Northcote Road are four- or five-bedroom houses, so it’s a family area, helped by its hugely popular schools. Family homes within these schools’ small catchment areas are very in demand. “There’s been a trend for people to pay premiums for properties with gardens in this area of up to 10%,” Sapiets says. “A larger garden flat in good condition that went for £2,400 before Covid is now going for £2,700. “The area that has changed quite noticeably is St John’s Hill next to Clapham Junction station, which used to be very rundown a few years ago, but has been transformed,” she says. “You can still get a little bit more for your money there.”

“There's been a trend for people to pay premiums for properties with gardens in this area” LETTINGS - BATTERSEA PROPERTY TYPE

PRICE RANGE (monthly)


£1000 - £1200 £1400 - £1500 £1700 £2500 - £2700 £3000 £4000 - £5000


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Branch star REBECCA MAY Sales Branch Director, Earlsfield Rebecca May has been with KFH since April 1996 after moving down from Yorkshire, starting out in Islington before eventually arriving at her current SW branch in 2003. May and her team run one of the top-performing sales branches within SW London

and she says it’s down to both her hard-working colleagues and her 18-year track record in the area. “Once you’ve been running a branch for that long you benefit from wordof-mouth recommendations and have a good name for yourself,” she says. “But we are very focussed, determined to be the best and good at the detail, but above all we communicate effectively and honestly, which is the secret of being a good estate agent – if someone has to ring us to find something out, I feel we’ve failed.” The branch’s sales patch borders Tooting, Balham, Putney and Southfields, and May says rising prices in more established areas are pushing many house hunters into new neighbourhoods they would not have considered before. “For example, many people used to eschew any properties within the SW17 postcode, but now they will consider it because Tooting has come up in the world so

“SW London house prices remain lower than many of its neighbours”


much in recent years,” she says. “What would have been considered peripheral roads are doing really well now.” May says the strongest influence on demand and house prices in and around Earlsfield are the catchment areas of its seven hugely over-subscribed schools such as Earlsfield Primary and Wimbledon Park. Prices in the area start at £500,000 for a two-bedroom garden flat, £650,000 for a larger ground floor flat with an infilled side return, and around £1.425 million for a refurbished four-bedroom house in a school catchment area. “The market has been quieter since the stamp duty holiday deadline hit, but I think it’s going to pick up again now in the autumn, assuming we can keep a lid on Covid,” she says. “I like that time of year because everyone’s focussed and wants to be in their new home by mid-December so they can celebrate Christmas there.”

jewel, the former Battersea Power Station site, both of which were barely neighbourhoods until recently. But despite several decades of change, SW London prices remain lower than many of its western and central London near neighbours. For example, the average price for an apartment in Chelsea is £1.4 million, with other SW areas boasting cheaper apartments (as shown right). House price differences are even more stark. A terrace in Chelsea will set you back £4.3 million on average and a semi £8.3 million, but venture deeper into SW London and terraces in Streatham go for £660,00 and semis for £880,000. These are averages and prices vary significantly based on location, local amenities, property layout and condition or size of garden. But it’s a good rule of thumb that property in somewhere like Brixton, despite being only 20 minutes by tube from Oxford Circus, can be approximately 30-40% less expensive than Fulham. No wonder so many people are venturing to SW London.

The green, open spaces of SW London are a real draw




£569,000 £589,000 £613,000 £492,000 £542,000 £720,000 £713,000


Rents offer a more complicated picture. The popularity of SW London among 20 and 30-somethings, driven by ‘must have’ areas like Brixton, has pushed up average rents. Although the pandemic has slackened demand among these renters and flattened out rent rises, a long-standing mismatch between the number of tenants on the hunt versus a lack of available stock has kept rents in line with many parts of West and even Central London.


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Lifestyle to rent Esmee Jones, Lettings Director, South West London, says that since the first lockdown, she has seen the busiest property market she has experienced in her 21 years at KFH. Initially there was an influx of property met by plentiful pent up demand. However, in recent weeks the supply has far outweighed demand and as a result the overall stock levels in SW London have dropped considerably. “Anything with a garden or some sort of outdoor space has been snapped up, particularly in Battersea and Clapham,” she says. “If you are being asked to work and live in your home, then outdoor space or an extra room is a must. People are spending less on commuting and socialising, and as a result have more to spend on upgrading their home. “People want more because they are spending more time at home. Consequently, rents for this kind of property have been rising fast, while studio and one-bedroom apartments without gardens have been less popular,” says Jones. “I can see this trend continuing for some time.” Assuming there are no more lockdowns

this year, Jones believes the trickle of young renters returning to the capital as offices re-open is likely to swell to a throng in the coming months. Immediately after the first lockdown her team noted that tenants were looking for shorter minimum rental contract periods of 12-18 months, compared to the standard average of 24 months – just in case Covid returned. Confidence in the market, however, has returned. Coupled with the shortage of properties, tenants are now looking to make their offers more attractive, with longer tenancies of 24-36 months. The current challenge for renters and letting agents alike is that stock levels across SW London are down significantly compared to a year ago as properties begin to be snapped up again by returning young professionals and families looking to rent in popular school catchment areas. And while these trends may be temporary, Jones believes the pandemic has changed some aspects of the rental market for good as many people have readjusted their lives. “The longer Covid has gone on for, the more people have thought about changes they can make to the way that they live,” she says.

SW top picks Burstow Road, Wimbledon SW20 £3,200pcm An immaculately presented four bedroom, two bathroom family home, with off street parking for two cars. KFH Wimbledon 020 3993 5146

Streatham High Road, Streatham SW16 £1,895pcm A newly refurbished three double bedroom apartment situated within a sought after residential block close to Streatham Hill. KFH Streatham 020 3993 9014

Kingham Close, Earlsfield SW18 £1,250pcm A well presented one bedroom flat situated on the first floor of this purpose built block close to Earlsfield Station. KFH Earlsfield 020 8131 4307

RIGHT: SW London is full of properties with charm and history

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SW top picks Sold on SW Bockhampton Road, Kingston upon Thames KT2 £595,000 A characterful two double bedroom ground floor garden conversion, perfectly located. KFH Kingston 020 3993 7206

Rastell Avenue, Balham SW2 £750,000 A wonderful period conversion featuring two double bedrooms and approaching 1,000sqft of accommodation. KFH Balham 020 3993 7700 Boscombe Road, Wimbledon SW19 £1,100,000 A truly exceptional four bedroom Edwardian house ideally located on a highly desirable quiet residential road. KFH Wimbledon 020 3993 4587


Lisa MacKenzie, Sales Director for South West London, says this area of the capital has seen a huge increase in popularity among home buyers and therefore substantial growth for KFH too. “Most of SW London is really well known now so if you're a 20-something graduate with a good job you want to live in Clapham Common or Brixton, which are massive draws for first time buyers particularly if they’re being helped by the bank of mum and dad,” she says. “They will either come in and rent straight away and then transition or use family money to buy immediately. Back in the day I guess it was all about Fulham, but it's shifted south of the river for this generation.” MacKenzie says that in Putney and Wimbledon purchasers tend to be older first-time buyers in their 30s, so they want green, open spaces, whereas the 20-somethings want the edginess of places like Brixton. Many of KFH’s vendors, on the other hand, are couples with children approaching secondary school age who then move down the A3 corridor

“Back in the day it was all about Fulham, but it's shifted south of the river for 20-somethings”


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LEFT: Rebecca May and Lisa MacKenzie outside KFH's Earlsfield office

to Surrey or depart to Beckenham and Bromley to houses within the catchment area of a host of good schools. “The ongoing gentrification of SW London along the Northern Line has been held up by Covid, but nevertheless it’s been slowly creeping and had reached Tooting Bec before the pandemic struck,” she says. “But it will take longer to get to Morden and Colliers Wood.” MacKenzie says the first six months of 2021 were the busiest she’s ever seen during her 30-year career in estate agency, and that the starkest change has been the creation of a two-tier market: properties with gardens or balconies, and those

without. But now that the stamp duty sales funnel has begun to taper down, she expects the property market to return to a kind of normal by the end of this year. “There was a time when everyone worried that a large number of people would ‘exodus’ from London, but I think many companies are now starting to rethink their working-from-home policies,” she says. “I worry that some people who left during Covid for a new life in the country in the expectation of commuting in occasionally to London might now get caught out. “But on the flipside that could drive a huge market for pied-a-terre properties next year both in the sales and rental markets.” 

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How we got on the property ladder

Illustration by Marcin Mokierów-Czołowski

KFH sales experts from across the network use their first time buyer experience to reveal some top tips



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1. Get ready before you begin

family members who have bought and sold. Also remember the estate agent is there to help and a good agent will hold your hand through the process. “There is always a level of unpredictability when buying a property but, as a solicitor once said to me, there is always a solution to all problems when it comes to conveyancing so try not to get too fazed.”


3. Learn about finance

2. Get serious! PAUL BENT

Sales Branch Director



Sales Branch Director FOREST HILL

“My first purchase was drama-free, back in 1996. The property was a top floor Victorian conversion flat in Clapham. The property was chain-free and included a share of the freehold. The first thing I did to ensure a smooth transaction was to have an agreement in principle from my mortgage broker and a solicitor who I had faith in to act swiftly to raise or respond to issues. I managed to get to exchange within six weeks. “So doing your homework and being prepared is crucial. My top tips would be to ensure you have a good solicitor, provide them with ID and money on account. Send all your paperwork, payslips and bank statements to your broker, so once the offer has been accepted the application is submitted immediately. “There is nothing more reassuring for a seller to have a mortgage valuation booked in within 48 hours of having accepted an offer. This proves to the seller that you are a serious buyer and are doing everything within your remit to buy the property. “Also, use common sense when reading through survey reports, which can often seem a little bit daunting. If you are unsure of something it is always good to seek advice from friends or


Sales Branch Director BATTERSEA

“I started off my search looking into different areas around the SW16 postcode and after several weeks had tied myself in knots by looking at different properties in different areas. But it began to come together once I narrowed down a shortlist of streets I really wanted to live in and began doing viewings in earnest – before starting to look properly at properties, I’d been sort of tinkering. “It also dawned on me that because I hadn’t done my legal and financial preparatory work, I was losing out to other bidders when I made offers. So I secured a mortgage ‘offer in principle’ nailed down via a broker, instructed a solicitor and then booked in ten viewings over a single weekend and finally found the ideal property – and had my offer accepted despite competing bids, albeit from less well prepared buyers.”

“My property journey started as a negotiator in our Forest Hill branch. I wanted to live in East Dulwich, but property prices there were out of my reach, so I looked at neighbouring areas that had the potential to be up-and-coming in the future. “I decided on Peckham Rye, which met my criteria, buying a newbuild one-bedroom apartment with private balcony and parking. It was on the top floor, so I was within my rights to call it ‘the penthouse’. “The first-time buying process is exciting, but it can be like stepping into the unknown. The best tip I can give is not to cut corners when instructing a firm of solicitors. A property is someone’s biggest financial asset, so choosing a solicitor on price alone for such a fundamental financial decision is counterproductive and puts your purchase at risk. I instructed a solicitor who was on the KFH approved panel whom I had worked with regularly, so I knew they offered a high quality and consistent service. “I would also recommend first time buyers brush up on their financial knowledge before setting out and ensure their credit score is good. Do your due diligence and explore all the options available to you including shared ownership, help to buy, the resales market and new builds.

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“If you’re purchasing a leasehold property, find out the running costs. Also, find out how long is remaining on the lease and how much it might cost to extend later on. Back then, as a 23-year-old first time buyer, I learned the hard way because I hadn’t done my maths on the additional costs involved, which, when a global financial recession hit soon afterwards, meant the champagne lifestyle had to take a back seat for a while.”

5. Talk to a mortgage broker

6. Consider compromised properties with potential


Sales Branch Director HIGHGATE


Sales Branch Director WEST HAMPSTEAD


Sales Branch Director CHISLEHURST

“My first experience in buying a property was possibly the most exciting yet nerve wracking experience I've had. I was buying a flat above a shop in Islington with my new husband, and when our offer was accepted, we thought it was going to be an easy journey from there, but of course it was not. “We had no experience of leaseholds and really did not understand the implications of a shorter lease or indeed how much more lengthy the transaction would be given lease enquiries. Suffice to say, our solicitor guided us through the process, explaining what the implications were and advising us every step of the way. I would always advise any buyer to do their homework, particularly on leasehold properties, but more importantly make sure you use a good solicitor, preferably one who comes recommended.”


“Establishing your budget is the first step you should take. Make sure you talk to a mortgage broker who has access to the home loan market and will find the best product for your circumstances. You will also need to account for other costs such as stamp duty, solicitor fees and a surveyor. “Once you have started to register with estate agents, it is important to put yourself forward as a good buyer. Agents work for the seller and will naturally want to work with buyers that are eager and ready to buy. “I bought my first property in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. It was a new-build development with offstreet parking, and it met all of my requirements for space and finish. I made sure to be clear on what items and appliances were remaining in the property [during the buying process].”

“My first place was a top-floor flat in a period mansion building. I was on a limited budget and so I knew that if I wanted a better location, I’d have to make a few compromises. “The flat was in a location I wouldn’t have been able to afford had it not been for several limiting features that made it less attractive to most buyers – such as no lift, being above a commercial unit, being on a busy road and having a short lease of 78 years – all of which I was happy to accept in order to get on the property ladder. “The short lease could have been a problem, but happily the seller had already undertaken most of the extension process, so I knew the exact amount the freeholder required to extend the lease.” 

“Doing your homework and being prepared is crucial. Prove to the seller you are a serious buyer and doing everything within your remit to buy the property”


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Clapham High Street, Clapham SW4 £1,295,000 This stunning three double bedroom, four bathroom end of terrace maisonette with period features benefits from a high end finish and private parking. Three double bedrooms | Four bathrooms | Spectacular hallway | No onward chain Long lease | Private parking space | Patio garden | EPC Rating C | Leasehold


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Photography: CHRIS GORMAN | The Big Ladder

The 20-minute commute into the City is attractive to many would-be buyers and renters




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Park life

Exploring why Queen’s Park is one of the capital’s most fashionable areas thanks to its family-friendly, bohemian vibe, imposing homes, good transport links – and, of course, the eponymous park

ueen’s Park has long been popular with artists, musicians and creative types who have revelled in its village feel. And the area recently enjoyed brief notoriety as the home of former minister Matt Hancock and his family, whose house was mobbed for several days earlier this year by reporters. But after feeling slightly down at heel in the 1980s and 1990s, the area’s fortunes changed in the midnoughties as it found favour with the edgy and mediaorientated young professionals who eschewed the more conventional Parsons Green and Chiswick. Today’s premium price tags on most properties means that it’s mainly families and wealthy singles with enough cash to move here rather than first-time buyers, who appreciate its great schools and nurseries and 20-minute commute to central London. There’s also a plethora of tempting places to eat and drink, as well as yoga studios and a popular farmers’ market to stimulate body and mind. Bound by Maida Vale, Kensal Rise, West Hampstead and Ladbroke Grove, it may be small, but it’s certainly mighty with the 30-acre park slap bang in the middle.

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“The well-loved Queen's Park is central to community life” The area's stylish Victorian terraces are much in demand

Beautiful game

Opened in 1887 and named in honour of Queen Victoria, Queen’s Park Rangers football club got their name after kicking off in the area back in 1886 before moving to their current Shepherd’s Bush home in 1917. Queen Victoria gave the park a more lyrical moniker after its original name, Kilburn Recreation Ground, was changed to commemorate her Golden Jubilee, in memory of the day when she processed from the newly opened railway station, down Salusbury Road to the Royal Agricultural Show in July 1879 – the most ambitious event of its kind ever staged. The well-loved green space might not get many royal visitors these days, but it’s central to community life. An annual Queen’s Park Day each September is the nearest North London gets to a country fête, when residents join cake and jammaking competitions, try donkey rides and get their dogs donning fancy-dress, while sampling eclectic street food stalls. The park is compact and friendly, yet it’s big enough to house a small children’s farm, good playground with a paddling pool and large sandpit, tennis courts, pitch and putt and a cafe, plus a designated quiet garden. Nearby Tiverton is another smaller open space popular with dog owners, while larger open spaces within striking distance include Roundwood Park, Gladstone Park and Wormwood Scrubs, while Hampstead Heath is just a short trip away.

Cake and eat it

When residents have had enough of park life, there are two buzzing high streets to visit: Salusbury Road to the east and Chamberlayne Road to the west, both with a plethora of independent shops,


Douglas Road, Queen's Park NW6 £800,000 An excpetional, beautifully presented top floor maisonette comprising two double bedrooms, open plan living space and two private roof terraces to take in the great views.

artisan bakeries, gastropubs, cafes and bars. Salusbury Road boasts a Planet Organic and a Gail’s as well as a post office and several florists, hairdressers, chemists and a great independent bookshop, Queen’s Park Books, which hosts the annual Queen’s Park Book Festival. It’s the only London book festival held solely in a public park with a tented village and pop-up bookshop inspiring a weekend of lively literary action.

Starry cornucopia

On Sundays, what seems like the entire population of NW6 congregates at the farmers’ market in Salusbury Primary School’s playground where it’s not just cabbages and jars of honey on offer for discerning North West Londoners, but stalls selling a cornucopia of delights, such as oysters, ostrich burgers and gyozas.



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Photography: CHRIS GORMAN | The Big Ladder

Hill, Grove and Vale

After some retail therapy, sitting outside a pavement café they might spot one of Queen’s Park’s famous residents such as ex-Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, actor Thandiwe Newton or singer Lily Allen. You’ll even find it described on the pages of some literary works, as local author Zadie Smith grew up here and set her novels White Teeth and NW in the area. The video for The Jam’s When You’re Young was also filmed at the park bandstand in 1979. Watering hole The Salusbury is a popular pub with its own attached deli and wine store, while Australian eatery Milk Beach in Lonsdale Road serves up excellent coffee and brunch. A disused garage on Lonsdale Road is home to the Wolfpack Brewery and its vast range of craft beers, while fun nights out are to be had at the nearby Kiln Theatre and The Lexi Cinema in Kensal Rise, a popular local two-screen independent cinema that donates 100% of its profits to charity.

Queen’s Park may be the least glitzy of this part of North West London, but this makes it arguably more affordable than neighbouring Belsize Park, Notting Hill, Westbourne Grove and Maida Vale. The avenues between Salusbury Road and the park – Hopefield, Summerfield and Montrose – are highly coveted for their stylish Victorian terraces painted in cheery shades, which sell at a premium as they’ve got the park right on their doorstep. The area still boasts a few intact grand Victorian villas, especially on the streets around the park including Milman, Kingswood and Chevening roads. Some families after even more space often move slightly further north to the 1930s houses towards Brondesbury. South of Queen’s Park and north of Harrow Road, The Queen’s Park Estate conservation area hosts small terrace houses built between 1874 and 1882 by the Artisans, Labourers & General Dwellings Company. The much-hated brutalist South Kilburn Estate has been mostly demolished and replaced with award-winning new development, the Kilburn Quarter, while formerly unloved land near the station has made way for stylish contemporary block, Queen’s Park Place.

Good schools

Brondesbury Villas, Queen's Park NW6 £600,000 This is a wonderfully presented two double bedroom period conversion on a quiet tree-lined street. It is ideally located close to the expansive green open spaces of Queen's Park.

Under Brent Council the Salusbury, Malorees, Wilberforce and Ark Franklin primary schools are all rated good, and generally oversubscribed. Queen’s Park Community School, the area’s only state secondary, is also rated good. Private schools within easy reach include South Hampstead, UCS, Francis Holland, Godolphin & Latymer and Latymer. Getting into central London is a breeze as the Bakerloo Line arrives at Oxford Circus in under 20 minutes, while the Overground Euston to Watford Junction line takes 12 minutes to Euston. On the bus, route 6 serves Edgware Road, Oxford Street and Charing Cross, while the 36 takes in Paddington, Victoria, Camberwell, Peckham and New Cross.

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Brondesbury Villas, Queen's Park NW6 £2,500pcm This exceptionally well presented three bedroom family home is available to rent with a private garden and a self-contained summer outhouse. It is located on the ground floor of a period conversion.


Why has KFH opened a branch in Queen’s Park?

Property Market

| Dillen Vengradasalon Sales Branch Director

| Rebecca Beveridge Lettings Branch Director

| Robert McLaughlin Sales Director, North, North West and West London

| Simon Patton Lettings Director, North, North West and West London


LETTINGS Simon Patton, Lettings Director for this patch of London, says the key change everyone in the private rented sector is waiting to see in North West London is whether the international tenants will return in former numbers, whether it be corporate relocators, trainee nurses or students. “The nearby Royal Free London is a big influence in and around Queen’s Park and Belsize Park,” he says. “So far the signs are good, but not the numbers we would expect in a normal year, but everyone is watching the news with the same anticipation: what impact will Covid have over the winter months? “But overall, I think the 20-somethings who quit London to go back and live with their parents are beginning to return slowly – but in the meantime we’ve had to have honest conversations with landlords about rents.” Patton says that once the rental market revives in the coming months, another key trend will continue to play out, one that was already gathering pace before Covid – namely rental property quality. “Tenants increasingly now expect higherspec interiors, so this presents challenges for landlords who have longer-term tenants who are now moving out. “Landlords are increasingly up against purpose-built, hotel-standard build-torent blocks with community gyms and cinemas, and quality/high spec bathrooms. It’s been in the background within the market for the past two years.”

Robert McLaughlin, Sales Director, says the new office is a natural progression having been in and around that area for a long time via KFH’s existing West Hampstead branch. “This is because competition is so hot within the NW6 postcode around neighbouring West Hampstead that the large period homes and larger luxury flats in Queen’s Park are now on more people’s property search radar,” he says. “Queen’s Park also has the kind of artisan, theatre and creative industries community that, like much of this part of North West London, gives it a certain feel that City workers like. “Also, the state schools have improved in Queen’s Park [over recent years]. It’s not an undiscovered gem – it’s been established for a while now – but we believe we can offer something there that’s not being offered by others, in part due to the KFH network of branches both locally and across London.”

Carlton Vale, Maida Vale NW6 £2,058pcm Available to rent is this spacious two double bedroom flat with a private terrace, located within a modern purpose-built block and only a short walk to Maida Vale station.

Portnall Road, Maida Hill W9 £550,000 This is a beautifully refurbished two double bedroom maisonette, which has been finished to a very high standard. There are many features including oak wood flooring.



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PRICES “There is a 15-20% premium for homes overlooking the park as they don't often come up for sale,” says Dillen Vengradasalon. SALES - QUEEN'S PARK PROPERTY TYPE



£400,000 - £550,000 £550,000 - £1M £1M - £2M £2M - £3M



LO C A L R E N T S “Trendy hotspot Queen's Park is very much in demand – it's the new fashion capital for NW London,” says Rebecca Beveridge. R E N TA L S - Q U E E N ' S PA R K PROPERTY TYPE

PRICE RANGE (monthly)


£1500 - £1800 £1900 - £3000 £3500 - £4500 £5000+



“The pandemic has created a huge demand for properties with home offices” Branching out

One set of new faces in the area are the staff of the new KFH branch on Salusbury Road, which opened for business in July. The duo leading its sales and lettings team are both experienced estate agents who have spent time during the pandemic preparing for the launch. Dillen Vengradasalon is looking after sales. He’s worked for KFH for six-and-a half years on and off, but was recently lured back to launch and run its new Queen’s Park branch. “I was keen to return because I love the company’s work ethic and they give me the space to do my job well,” he says. “My aim is

to help both my buyers and my sellers and match people to the right property, as well as getting the best price for the vendor. “The pandemic has created a huge demand for properties with home offices, private outside space and properties close to local parks, which makes Queen's Park a prime area,” he says.

Lots to let

Rebecca Beveridge, who has worked at KFH for nearly ten years, heads up the lettings side. She was brought up in the area and has launched the new office. “Queen’s Park has really changed over time into a desirable area including its high street, which now has boutiques serving the people from the creative and business worlds attracted to the area right now,” she says. “I like to think of it as a mini St John's Wood, but you get more for your money – Notting Hill is only five minutes away by car and the bottom

of the M1 is only ten minutes’ away. “The rental market here has really bounced back since the initial shock of Covid. Demand is higher than it has been in over a year and a half because of the low availability of property which is really driving the rental prices up. It has been a complete 180 degree turnaround.” Beveridge says the area is a favourite with landlords because it offers a lot more value than neighbouring areas. She says due to the good schools it is popular with families and corporate tenants as they want as much space as their money will buy. “Only this week I've had enquiries from Google, Facebook and KPMG, which just goes to show the popularity of Queen's Park,” she adds.  KFH Queen's Park 49 Salusbury Road, London NW6 6NJ Sales: 020 3993 7229 Lettings: 020 3993 0695

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A helping hand


fter decades of being largely left alone by regulators and even encouraged by some governments with tax breaks, many private landlords can be excused for thinking that the tables have now been turned on them. The tax breaks have been cut back and rented homes and their landlords are now covered by increased regulation that applies to a wide range of property rental activity. These include fitting smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, electrical checks, EPCs, tenant fees, evictions, gas safety, Right to Rent immigration checks, deposit protection, planning regulations, houses of multiple occupancy (or HMO) licencing, selective licencing, fire risk assessments and mandatory tenancy paperwork. Fines for non-compliance vary from borough to borough, but landlords who mistakenly or blatantly ignore these responsibilities can face penalties of up to £30,000. And those who operate HMOs, but do not get them licenced, also face having to return rent to their tenants under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. Some landlords are happy to take on these responsibilities, particularly if they have just a single property and have enough spare time. But those with busy work and personal lives, or who own larger portfolios, need help.


We talk to a KFH Senior Property Manager in Fulham who is seeing more landlords turning to her for assistance as the government brings in more regulations

Andria Solomon, who is a Senior Property Manager with a nine-year track record in the sector currently working out of KFH’s Fulham branch, says she’s seen increasing numbers of landlords on her patch turning to agents to manage their properties. The consequences of being caught out by the new, additional regulations means many landlords who used to look after their properties themselves are reluctant or unable to take on the extra responsibilities. “Landlords have been coming to me because either they haven’t got the time to engage with the additional admin work, or they find that their existing letting agency has exposed them to a potential fine for non-compliance and have sought out someone they can trust to do the job properly,” says Solomon. One driver of this for HMO landlords locally has been the spread of licensing schemes for this kind of property within the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. It now has three schemes covering rented homes including two

covering HMOs, all of which are due to expire next year. The council is running a consultation on what to do after that. “Landlords in this area of London expect a much higher level of service in return for the fees they pay,” says Solomon, who looks after Fulham, Chelsea and South Kensington. “They tend to either be professional landlords with large portfolios, or people in professional jobs with a few properties,” she adds. “There is also a growing trend for people who have ‘escaped to the country’ during Covid and are renting out their former homes here.”

The landlord One of Solomon’s more recent clients is a lawyer working in London who owns three rental properties in Fulham which she bought a few years ago as an investment and, rather than managing them herself, approached KFH for help. “She had a less than ideal experience with one of her properties after using a small lettings agency, and after quizzing me

“Many private landlords can be excused for thinking that the tables have now been turned on them”


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extensively about my abilities and approach to property management, placed all three with KFH to fully manage,” says Solomon. The landlord says she invested in Fulham because simply she loves the areas. “It’s a great location for a number of reasons,” she says. “Residential, very easy to get into Central London from, and with good transport links to the countryside. And there are lots of unmodernised properties which have huge development potential. “I’ve been a property investor before so I knew straight away I wanted to have an agent look after the properties. I juggle many things so [using an agent] gives me time to explore other opportunities, but I also want to provide a very good experience to my tenants. “Good agents usually have a large pool of contractors and can deal with maintenance and repair issues in an efficient manner. Also, using an agent normally provides a sense of objectivity when dealing with issues. Andria is professional, knowledgeable, measured, proactive, practical and brilliant to work with so far.”

Why KFH? Andria Solomon says the landlord phoned her to talk about the properties and asked questions, including a couple of things that the previous property managers had done poorly. “I sold our property management process to her successfully,” she smiles. "I think she was particularly reassured when I explained how I am very proactive. After a few more chats over several months she decided to go with us and requested that all three properties were directly managed by me. "They are quite high-end homes as the landlord has spent a lot of money renovating them, so she wanted someone who could ensure they are kept that way and that the tenants are looked after – as they are all paying high rents.” Solomon says she speaks to the landlord approximately twice a week to check in with her about ongoing issues – for example one of the recently-departed tenants had broken the hob in one of the property’s kitchens and it needed replacing quickly before the new tenants moved in.


“We are a substantial company with a good reputation and track record in the market” “I’ve gone above and beyond what you might expect of a property manager with this landlord, which is what she appreciates,” she says. “The landlord also chose KFH because we are a substantial company with a good reputation and track record in the market, as well as access to the kind of resources that smaller agents don’t have.” This has practical benefits – for example if Solomon goes on holiday then there is someone who can step in while she’s away, the kind of cover that a small agency with a handful of staff would struggle to provide.

What next for regulation? In May the Queen’s Speech at the opening of parliament revealed that the government intends to bring in new legislation to ‘enhance the rights of those who rent’.

It is expected to usher in several changes for landlords and letting agents including radical reform of the evictions process, introduce a system of ‘lifetime deposits’ for tenants and replace the current system of Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), and require landlords to offer a more flexible and wider range of tenancy contract lengths and T&Cs. There are also plans for a compulsory register for landlords in England and mandatory membership of a redress scheme. A government White Paper that will include all these proposals is to be published later this year. 

KFH Property Management 020 3993 2953


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Caroline Close, Bayswater W2 £28,000 pcm / £6,461 pw A fabulous house uniquely situated opposite Hyde Park. The property offers streams of natural light, seven bedrooms and a grand reception room on the ground level. Seven bedrooms | Six bathrooms (four en suite) | Stunning location | Access to garage Beautiful garden with annex | CCTV | Securely gated | Off street parking


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G R E E N L I V I N G Climate change means our homes are under more scrutiny than ever when it comes to understanding our relationship with the environment



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“Some mortgage lenders have started to reward homeowners who show a more responsible attitude to energy use” ABOVE: Today's technology means it's easier than ever to control energy usage at home

ccording to the Environment Agency, around 5.2 million properties in England are currently considered at risk of flooding, with remedial repairs typically costing between £20,000 and £45,000. All forms of flooding – from storm surge, river, rainwater, and rising groundwater – are set to increase in the coming years. It’s not surprising. Many of the UK’s large towns and cities grew up around bodies of water, which facilitated trade and transport – not least London. The Thames Barrier remains a key defence against the growing threat of tidal surges flooding London, but more recently it has become pivotal in managing London’s rainfall by closing at low tide, keeping the sea out and creating space for the increasing volume of river water flowing into it. Flooding is one very visible environmental impact of increased rainfall but, in the south east, our hotter, drier summers are increasing the potential for subsidence – particularly on what is known as shrinkswell clay. Soil absorbs water in time of heavy rainfall, but shrinks as the water evaporates in hot weather. This can result in building movement, cracking and subsidence. Thousands of homes are affected every year by subsidence, losing as much as 20% of the property resale value. Older homes built with shallower foundations can be particularly at risk, but that doesn’t mean that newer properties are immune. The dry summer of 2018 caused exceptional subsidence losses. In December


2018, the ABI reported that the figures for July, August and September 2018 were the highest for subsidence claims since the record-breaking heatwaves of 2003 and 2006. Claims jumped from around 2,500 with a value of £14 million in the second quarter to around 10,000 with a value of £64 million in the third quarter.

Our homes and the environment Just as the environment affects our homes, our own behaviour impacts the environment. Half of the UK’s demand for power comes from homes, more in lockdowns, so managing this demand more efficiently could greatly help. Some mortgage lenders have started to reward homeowners who show a more responsible attitude to energy use. Green mortgages focus on energy efficiency and offer discounts to one degree or another for good behaviour. If you’ve recently rented or bought a house, you’ve probably come across Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). Before the sale, purchase or rental period, an energy assessor takes measurements of the property, recording the building’s construction and energy systems. The resulting certificates feature the very recognisable brightly coloured bar charts that often adorn estate agents’ windows and tell prospective tenants and buyers how energy efficient their property is on a scale of A to G, with A being most efficient. Crucially, EPCs can also recommend changes, or retrofits, that would improve the home’s energy

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systems or using greener gases such as hydrogen. They may even deploy more local or communal heating schemes. While converting to electricity appears to solve many of our collective fossil fuel issues, expectations of it for our greener homes may be unnecessarily high. Electrifying heating at the very time we need to meet the demand from electric cars will make this demand very hard to meet. This is not an easy sell to the homeowners whose bewilderment and reluctance to invest in very long-term solutions results in the kind of inertia that saw the end of the government’s green homes grant scheme barely six months after it was launched. The scheme, designed to encourage retrofits and upgrades to residential property, welcomed more than 123,000 applicants, but only 28,000 vouchers for

“Heating systems, insulation and water usage offer some easier ways of addressing energy efficiency” performance, which may include measures such as adding loft insulation or installing a more efficient boiler. Green mortgages are in their infancy. They may over time encourage homeowners to upgrade properties to maintain values, but for most homeowners the saving does not justify the expensive retrofit of new equipment for old. Those benefiting from ‘green mortgages’ for now have usually already had work done (such as triple glazing) or live in newer homes. Green mortgages are generally granted to those with a valid (often A or B rating) Energy Performance Certificate rating. It has been estimated nearly two million homes in England and Wales could not be upgraded to an Energy Performance Certificate rating of C or above. Nevertheless, the government is aiming for as many homes as possible to reach a C rating by 2035 in England and Wales, with an earlier target of 2030 for private rented homes. An estimated 11 million homes in England and Wales do not have an EPC rating


because they have not been sold or let since the certificates were introduced. The fact remains that even if there was better coverage, EPCs are not a panacea. The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), which includes MPs of all parties, recently said EPCs do not support energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures. It recommended EPCs should be replaced by Building Renovation Passports. We may start with EPCs, but we may well not end there.

RIGHT: Loft insulation is one way to make your home more energy efficient

Electric dreams There is, meanwhile, an increasing amount of smart tech that will help us manage our consumption better. Apps are available that allow us to manage power remotely or turn off non-essential power automatically during peak times. These are relatively easy to install and allow us to manage current fossil fuel systems better. Changing heating systems is far less easy. Homeowners may end up using a blend of solutions electrifying heating


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F O C U S remedial work were issued and only 5,800 energy efficiency measures installed. Energy is a complex issue for housing and policy makers. Few politicians want to be honest with voters (also known as bill payers) about the small fortune they will need to fork out for a new hydrogen boiler in a decade’s time. But over and above the cost, saving energy can be fraught with laws of unintended consequences. Not so long ago the government exhorted homeowners to insulate their homes, but cavity walls were built as a barrier against penetrating dampness. When retrofit cavity wall insulation is installed into a property that is located or built in a way that means it should not have the cavities fully filled (or if the work is undertaken incorrectly), the first and most obvious sign of a problem is often internal dampness. The insulation successfully stops both warm air and moisture escaping, meaning humidity levels rise and mould is almost inevitable. In extreme cases, cavity walls have been fully filled in timber frame houses and, as the damp cavity wall filling material comes into contact with the wood frame, rot sets in.

Any answers The government will have to tread carefully when progressing any changes relating to the energy efficiency of properties – such as requiring homeowners to upgrade

properties with expensive remediation work. It could create a negative effect on property values with low-rated homes becoming blighted by their ratings. A key issue for many mortgage lenders is the prospect of green mortgages creating another generation of mortgage prisoners – people who cannot afford to upgrade and obtain the cheaper finance. Understanding not just what a property is made of, but what improvements may have affected or decreased its value in energy efficiency (not to mention issues of older and newer materials under increasing heat stress) is a huge undertaking. Our national property stock is ageing and there is no one size fits all solution for our homes because of geographic, build type, or build-technology considerations. This means offering alternative solutions and developing an energy strategy that perhaps works higher up the supply chain and allows the integration of many power sources into the grid to be accessed flexibly by homeowners. Our homes will have to change to incorporate a range of new technologies to reduce their energy use, and to cut the energy needed to build them. Heating systems, insulation and water usage offer some easier ways of addressing energy efficiency. Homeowners that understand this are likely to fare better in maintaining their property’s value than those that do not. 

Are contemporary bathrooms designed with efficient water usage in mind?

Grey water Water is acknowledged by experts to generally be the enemy of buildings, but the fact remains that we need it for ourselves. How much we use and for what purpose is increasingly a matter of debate. A report by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) calculated that Britain would need to find an extra 4,000 million litres a day to cope with a drier climate and population growth by 2040. The NIC continued that every household would have to save an extra 23 litres of water daily. Our water usage has been changing for some time as usage and bills are being reduced by installing lowflow shower heads, fixing leaky pipes, and retrofitting toilets with low- or dualflush devices. But beyond sanctions on dishwashers, power showers and other devices, grey water (reemploying the water used from baths, showers, and hand basins) offers a huge saving opportunity – particularly for new build properties. The systems remain, for now, relatively expensive to retrofit to older homes where the return on investment may be up-to and beyond ten years by some estimates. How these systems are installed, managed and maintained is crucial as water kept in tanks for re-use has to be cleaned and kept free of bacteria.

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Sustainable Source With a demand for greener homes, this example in Tooting shows how it can be done without compromising on luxury and comfort


| ABOVE Robin and Sarah Charlesworth


three-bedroom, twobathroom property in Tooting with off street parking and a separate garage may sound attractive, but it barely scratches the surface of what is a fabulous story. The property, on Robinson Road, is a single storey eco-house that has sustainability at its core. As owner Robin Charlesworth says, this is a “mini Grand Designs” project if there ever was one. While many of us were wallowing in lockdown after lockdown in 2020, Charlesworth and his wife got to work building a home that complemented their shared interest in the environment. “Built from super thick structural insulated panels for all round superior thermal insulation and taped with special air tight tape, the property is both incredibly well insulated and air tight,” Charlesworth explains. “All windows and doors are triple glazed and made with thick timber frames to ensure no thermal bridging occurs. Being air tight, the property requires mechanical ventilation, which is provided by way of a



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“This is a truly amazing and unique home, it's unlike any I have seen in my career”

mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system that filters the air as it comes in as well as dealing with all shower and cooking extraction. The underfloor heating and hot water are provided by a 300 per cent efficient 4Kw air source heat pump, meaning zero carbon emissions. The heat pump is registered for MCS and provides an income of £340pa. On the roof, 3.2Kw of solar panels sit amongst a two-foot tall native wildflower meadow that pollinators love, while the solar power system provides more power over the course of the year than the property consumes.” What's more, the home is certified carbon neutral too. The details are impressive, but the green elements to the home shouldn’t be the only selling point. The living spaces are generous in size, and the kitchen/living/dining room is a stand out with its huge open layout, benefitting from 4m wide sliding doors, a 5x1m roof window as well as oak parquet

floor. The kitchen, too, is entirely bespoke, with built in birch ply bench seating and cabinetry. Go through the living space and you come to a family bathroom with a separate shower and a bath, a master bedroom with en-suite, a generous double bedroom, plus a large single bedroom with its own courtyard. As befits a home with the environment at its heart, outdoor space is also key to what the property offers. “There is also a walled garden and patio area,” Charlesworth adds, “as well as an overflowing cottage garden style pathway leading from the garage at the front of the house to the back. The property has a shou sugi ban (charred cedar Yakisugi from Japan) clad garage, complete with sedum green roof, and an EO electric car charging point.” Whoever ends up purchasing this property will own a home with the future

in mind. As Antony May, Sales Branch Director at KFH Tooting, concludes: “‘This is a truly amazing and unique home, it is unlike any I have seen in my career. We are incredibly excited to be working on the sale of such a beautiful, innovative and eco-friendly property.” Property price £900,000 KFH Tooting 020 3993 6588

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A New Way of Living Exploring the rapid rise of build to rent



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Fresh Wharf is a stunning development of 77 apartments in Barking, brought to you by Simple Life London

f you’re a follower of property news, it’s possible you’ve come across the term build to rent. If you have not, you likely will soon as it is changing the essence of the rental market across our cities. While many new build property markets have suffered because of the pandemic, there has been no obvious sign of any let-up in investors’ appetite to deliver high quality rental accommodation in the nation’s cities – and particularly in London. A healthy rental market is an important feature of any functioning housing market, but the lack of supply in the UK has encouraged scale landlords to enter the market in a bid to alleviate housing supply, improve the rental experience, and deliver something over and above accommodation as part of the rental vision. While the major providers of this type of rental accommodation have so far been newer millennial-focused brands such as Quintain Living and Fizzy Living, things are about to change on a big scale. A couple of months ago, high street darling John Lewis and Partners announced plans to build 10,000 new homes for rent on land it owns across the UK. John Lewis – a landlord. Imagine the fully kitted out JL apartments to rent. John Lewis isn’t the only big corporate to take an interest. Just weeks before the retailer announced its intentions, the UK’s biggest bank, Lloyds Banking Group, unveiled plans to launch a new business called Citra Living, with the intention of becoming a corporate landlord. In a statement the group said: “Citra Living will initially start small, with a focus on buying and renting


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Living room and balcony of a two bedroom apartment at Fresh Wharf

shortages and some disruption to the supply of materials, the outlook for the medium term is a positive one. Demand for homeownership is holding strong alongside significant investor interest in the growing build to rent and retirement living sectors.” The build to rent revolution isn’t just focused on the capital. Buildings are cropping up across the country, with Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leicester, Birmingham and Derby just a few cities to have approved large build to rent schemes over the past year or so.

How is build to rent different? good quality newly built properties.” Its first development to complete will be Fletton Quays in Peterborough, where 45 apartments will be available for renters over the summer months, with the company aiming to acquire around 400 properties by the end of the year. Insurance giants Aviva and Legal & General, along with investment banks Goldman Sachs and Macquarie, are already invested in build to rent developments, making the sector increasingly competitive. The British Property Federation puts the number of build to rent homes in the UK either completed, under construction or with planning permission at 170,000 units. They expect this to reach 200,000 pretty quickly. Meanwhile, statistics published by the National House Building Council in July show new home registrations for the rental sector, including both affordable and build to rent homes, increased 17 per cent over the second quarter of 2021, to 10,957. Steve Wood, Chief Executive at the Council, said the latest quarter’s registration statistics showed the ‘remarkable recovery’ made by the house building industry after activity ground to a halt on sites in April and May last year, adding: “A 14-year high in new home registrations is quite something in the present environment. “Despite the combined effects of the pandemic and Brexit causing labour

Build to rent is a new kind of renting experience designed as an alternative to long-term home ownership. It has been around for quite some time and first came into being in the capital way back in 2012 as part of the legacy programme which accompanied that year’s Olympic Games. It was part of the proposal for transforming the athlete’s accommodation in Stratford’s East Village into private rental units. Other large developments have followed, including some delivered by Simple Life London and Grainger, both in partnership with KFH. Thousands of new quality rental properties are being created. Build to rent has been focused on delivering quality living space for

Bedroom of a one bed apartment at Fresh Wharf

Open kitchen of a two bedroom apartment at Fresh Wharf

“Build to rent goes so far beyond what we once thought of as the normal renting experience” 50


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“It helps build new communities where individuals and their families can establish long-term roots” Beam Park is a Simple Life London development of residential homes in Rainham

communities not just ‘a short-term let’. Forget damp-ridden basements with shoddy boilers, this is purpose built, high quality rental accommodation, often offering tenants extra perks such as access to a gym, pool, roof terrace and the rest. The ability of investors of this size to deliver so much more is something of a revolution. The vast majority of private rental stock in the UK is owned by individuals, many of whom own fewer than 10 rental properties. While the standards offered by most landlords nowadays are reasonably high, there are still exceptions. Being a landlord is becoming very big business. Build to rent is hailed as the answer to this patchwork of standards and its recent explosion comes a decade after the government first stated its intention to support larger corporate landlords into the private rented sector in the UK. Years of consultation and a global pandemic later, and the time seems finally right. Developers are therefore designing build to rent sites to suit renter’s lifestyles so the homes typically meet modern standards of living, and plenty actually exceed expectations. Build to rent developments in many areas are going one step further than delivering fantastic apartments – they are aiming at delivering community living, where residents can enjoy quality communal space and facilities. Many will also prioritise communal outside space, concierge services and an onsite building manager who is on hand to deal with problems as they arise.

What are the upsides of renting in this way?

Flexibility is probably the main advantage of renting this type of apartment. Many providers offer a tiered package where you can pick and choose the bonus benefits you pay for. Tenancy agreements can be flexible. You can opt for the security of a three-year contract if you know you need to stay put, or you can choose to give a month’s notice before moving out. The risk tenants face in a flat owned by an individual is that they could be given notice to leave with just four weeks to find another suitable home. There are also several providers that don’t insist on a deposit, which can be hugely attractive to renters. Typically, when moving from one private rented flat to another you will have to pay over your deposit, which can be several thousand pounds, on your new place before you get your deposit back from your old landlord. Removing that cash block is helpful. Pre-pandemic, the communal spaces on offer in many of these developments might have seemed a bit superfluous, but with lockdowns forcing large numbers to work from home, anyone living in a shared house will know that having space outside your bedroom to work is worth its weight, even if everything is opening once again. There are also those who are less inclined to venture out as much as they used to, making the availability of onsite gyms or entertainment a perk worth paying for. Of course, rents may be marginally higher compared to the rest of the market,

but there’s no need to pay a deposit. Many will wrap broadband, gas and electricity bills and utilities in to the monthly rent, and because they’re newly built, for the environmentally conscientious, energy efficiency and sustainability are more likely than not to be of a high standard.

Making the switch Paul Masters leads KFH’s build to rent operation and explains how the vision for build to rent is changing rental options for people. “Build to rent goes so far beyond what we once thought of as the normal renting experience,” he says. “Our work, with brands like Simple Life London, is helping to not only offer a quality rental experience in terms of the housing available but, as importantly, helps build new communities where individuals and their families can establish long-term roots, close to good schools, local facilities and amenities.” The way the rental market works isn’t going to change overnight, but if you’re interested in hearing more about how build to rent might be the right option for you then please get in touch.  KFH Build to Rent 020 3993 6937

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“I really like it that we are doing something new within the sector”

The Simple Life KFH have joined forces with Simple Life London to change the build-to-rent landscape in London. We meet the team to find out more

n February KFH won a landmark long-term contract with build-to-rent giant Sigma Capital Group plc for Sigma's London BTR joint venture with EQT Exeter. All its sites in and around London will be taken to market under the Simple Life London brand. Fresh Wharf in Barking and Beam Park in Rainham make up the first phase of a planned £1.3 billion investment in the capital. Here, we exclusively talk to the KFH team who have taken on the challenge of operating Simple Life London for Sigma.




Leasing Manager

Chevone Foster has an extensive career in property management and lettings behind her, and is building the team that is now delivering on the Simple Life London promise at the first sites at Fresh Wharf and Beam Park. Her team is tasked with letting the apartments on the site and then managing the relationship with the residents. “We are here six days a week and residents are free to call on us whenever they like, while there is an out of office number for the rest of the time. Most residents are young families or professionals, and it's a pet friendly site,” she says. “It's a full service operation - I've worked for 14 years in lettings, and we do everything exactly the same as we would do if they were a KFH tenant, including the same approach to referencing,” says Foster. “But we’re more hands-on here than a traditional set up in the day to day - I really like it that we’re doing something new within the sector.”


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Head of Lettings Management

A significant part of Sophie Danes’ job is to oversee the team and ensure the properties at the two sites are properly managed. “What’s unique about BTR is that the landlord, who we represent, owns both the flats and all the common areas within the site,” says Danes. “Therefore, the landlord has a huge influence over a renter’s experience because, when a resident steps onto any part of the development, they are stepping into the Simple Life London world.” Danes says what KFH offers BTR operators like Simple Life London is the experience of an established lettings and property management agency. “That's our USP – our decades of real life experience in the London property market and also our ability to ensure the stock is managed in a way that's compliant with the ever changing PRS tenancy laws and regulations,” she says.




Senior Property Manager

Lettings Director



Tahlia Barnes says her team’s job is to look after the common areas and outside grounds that make up the Simple Life London developments. “The day-today management of a traditional and a BTR block is very similar, but the big difference for us is that we are not working with leaseholders directly as everything is funnelled through our relationship managers,” she says. “Resident experience is absolutely paramount for KFH and Simple Life London, so seamless communication with our relationship managers is vital,” Barnes continues. “We are also in regular contact with the client so they can be confident the strict KPIs in place are being adhered to. “Being part of the beginning of this huge opportunity for KFH is one of the highlights of my career so far. I’m excited about what the future holds for the team.”

“As well as the on-site team, we have pulled together the experience of so many different departments and people within KFH to make this happen,” says Sarah Mitchell, the lead on establishing this new operation. Mitchell has been with KFH for 20 years and says she was asked to work on the project because she understands lettings from ‘A to Z’. “It's been an incredible experience - I've been helping build what is essentially a whole company from scratch, and working with a great client,” she says. Mitchell says the challenge for many BTR developers is that their sites are often dotted across London, so setting up and running a team themselves can be difficult. KFH, though, already operates across the capital with teams that are ‘best in class’. “It’s important to understand that BTR is very unlike traditional lets in some ways; you are marketing and providing a lifestyle that is a ‘product’,” she says. “If done properly, it means residents will stay for longer and seek out other sites within the soon-to-be enlarged Simple Life London network. We strive to create communities within these developments.” 

Build to rent at a glance Fresh Wharf, Barking £1,655 pcm Part of a wider scheme designed to embrace its waterfront location, Fresh Wharf's apartments are ideal for those looking for space to breathe. 020 3993 0749 fresh.wharf@


Beam Park, Rainham £1,285 pcm This one bedroom property is part of a development of residential homes in an expanded community in Rainham, with a wealth of lifestyle facilities on offer. 020 3993 0749 beam.park@

Simple Life London 020 3993 0749

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Building futures

Looking at why our housing shortage needs imaginative solutions

shortage of housing in the UK is prompting some clever solutions from policy makers. When we think of new homes being built, it usually conjures images of large-scale developments, with row upon row of houses and any number of neat driveways lined up symmetrically. In more urban areas, we might think of expensive executive apartments shiny with glass, chrome and polished stone. But new build housing is facing some issues. In June of this year, Homes England reported that their housing programmes delivered 37,330 new houses starting on-site and 34,995 houses between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. The proportion of affordable homes started and completed was down on the previous year. This was a result of a slowdown in housebuilding activity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic and the political upheaval of Brexit will remain features of the new build landscape. Supplies of materials such as timber, steel, cement and roof tiles have been dwindling for months, while prices have risen. Imagination and choice are exactly what buyers require, and it’s part of the government’s broader effort to regenerate our high streets. Other recent announcements have also included giving councils new powers to turn derelict buildings into homes in cases where regeneration plans have stalled. The high street needs help and the government is alert to this. The latest addition to ‘permitted development rights’ (PDR) mean anyone can convert commercial, business or service buildings into new residential homes without seeking planning approval from the local council. There are limited circumstances where the council still has to issue permissions, but the new rules,



announced in March this year and which took effect on 1 August 2021, mean developers can convert Class E properties – shops, offices, restaurant, cafés, health services, nurseries, gyms and leisure facilities – into flats or houses with far less red tape to negotiate. The then Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick made a formal statement earlier this summer, claiming that further relaxing of the rules, which have been around for a while, will “breathe new life into commercial areas and high streets by bringing vacant buildings back into use as new high street homes”.


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“Aspects of the wider scope for permitted development rights will assist with London's housing supply, but it's not the sole answer to the problem”

Councils will retain their right to block developments, but the Government has been quite firm that this should be used sparingly. John East, KFH Land and New Homes Director, has this to say about the changes. “What impact his directive will have on the local authorities, many of which have significant log-jams in their planning processing, is difficult to assess,” he says. “With the last round of PDR, Article 4s were issued by a number of local authorities and expectations are that more will follow where they are endeavouring to protect local employment. Aspects of the

wider scope for PDR will assist with London’s housing supply, but it is not the sole answer to the problem.” It’s a subject that demands sensitivity: local high streets are the life-blood of communities, with the Post Office, bank branch, local café, butchers and bakery all vital to those living in the locale. “Those that enjoy a local baker or butcher, for example, would be sorry to see them go and probably do everything they could to protect them,” East comments. “Others are already poorly serviced and these communities will therefore be less resistant provided that they have access to a ‘high street brand’ convenience store.” ISSUE 1  · AW2021   55

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TOP 10 The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns it necessitated has had a major impact on huge numbers of these small businesses, which has also opened up an opportunity to help address the housing crisis. The PDR rules may indeed have the potential to encourage local investment and economic prosperity. The alignment of favourable government policy to revitalise town centres, the most recent financial support being the £831m Future High Streets Fund to be shared amongst 72 high streets in England, together with the increased number of residents working from home, could mean we are entering the next cyclical phase for our cities. In all, there is the potential of 16,117 new homes. It’s undeniable that the introduction of permitted development rights in 2015 has led to a significant rise in the number of new homes coming to market, often located in town and city centres, or areas which have been neglected or which have become semi-derelict. According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, a total of 72,980 new dwellings were added to the housing stock through PDRs over the five years between 2015-16 and 201920. Of these, 64,798 (89 per cent) were created through office to residential conversions – the largest category by a substantial margin. RICS reported in May 2018 that the quality of office to residential schemes ranged from high to extremely poor, with PDR schemes being “significantly worse” than those which had been through the full planning process. In response, the government went on to legislate to ensure new homes delivered via permitted development rights provide adequate daylight and meet national space standards. Jenrick said: “Councils should recognise the value to housing supply and increasing resident town centre footfall from supporting flats above shops. For example, councils can consider applying different policies to residential conversions above ground floor level. “This is important to support mixed and flexible high streets, to deliver additional homes more easily, and to support jobs in the construction industry, while increasing demand for local high street services through new high street homes.” There are a few other changes being brought in this October, including the imposition of a maximum 1,500sqm size limit for properties qualifying for conversion under the scheme. Developers must also be able to show the building they wish to convert has been vacant for a minimum of three months, excluding vacancies that relate to the suspension of business activities due to Covid. Where health centres and nurseries are candidates for conversion into homes, councils will be on high alert. Taking amenities such as these out of circulation can have a seriously detrimental effect on local infrastructure, particularly when the loss of such services coincides with adding more people to an


town centres for retailto-housing opportunities Croydon • Sutton • Ilford Redbridge • Romford Havering • Streatham Lambeth • Stratford Newham • Hounslow • Green Street/ Upton Park Newham • Canada Water Rotherhithe • Edmonton Green Enfield Source: Dataloft/GLA/Experian

area for whom these services are also a necessity. A new fee of between £100 and £5,000 per new home created using permitted development rights is also being imposed. How this plays out should become increasingly visible across local and village high streets over the next 12 months. More established areas may be circumspect about the change this could bring, but first-time buyers are likely to be encouraged. We simply cannot afford to allow the issues facing the housing market to roll on unaddressed and the truth is that we need more ideas that help increase the supply and choice of property. Re-using otherwise unwanted space not only makes sense commercially, it also eases the pressure on green-field sites and helps re-invigorate our city centres. It is a work in progress and there is some political wrangling to be done yet. There may be some finessing of the PDR changes over the coming months, but few are in any doubt about the need for them. As East concludes: “My view is that high streets will need to evolve and that where rents are good value, opportunities may arise for new local businesses that the local community may not have thought they needed, to thrive as part of the new community.” 

KFH Land and New Homes 020 3993 8583

“Opportunities may arise for new local businesses that the local community may not have thought they needed”


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Stable Yard, Peckham SE15 Houses £849,950 – £890,000 | Flat £515,000 The Stable Yard is a bespoke built new scheme of four well designed mews houses and six spacious apartments, with only one apartment now available. Located close to Peckham's vibrant high street with an eclectic mix of national and independent stores, bars, cafés and restaurants as well as two stations with fast access to central London.

NEWHOMES@KFH.CO.UK | 020 3993 1755

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Taking charge Big enough to matter, small enough to care: a look at how KFH’s Block Management division has evolved

FH Block Management is one of the largest and longest established divisions of the KFH Group, tracing its roots back to the company’s formation in 1977. It provides advice on the management of residential property, whether for a Resident Management Company, Right to Manage Company, investor landlord or developer. Leasehold is the second most popular form of housing tenure in the UK after freehold. In 2019-20, there were an estimated 4.6 million leasehold dwellings in England, which equates to 19 per cent of the current English housing stock. More than two thirds (68 per cent, 3.2 million) of the leasehold dwellings in England were flats and London has the highest proportion of leasehold dwellings, at 34 per cent.


What do block management provide? You may or may not be aware of your block management company but, essentially, under the terms of your lease your block manager will be responsible for the maintenance of specific parts of your building. The responsibilities can vary from one lease agreement to another, but in general they tend to follow a well-trodden path whereby the landlord will be responsible for the structure of the building (including repairs, maintenance and insurance) and facilities such as lifts and communal areas (hallways, car parks, and gardens). In the lease agreement with the freeholder there


will invariably be a service charge, ground rent or sinking fund by which leaseholders can pay for these services. All service charge money collected must be held in ‘trust’ for the benefit of the leaseholders throughout the life of the development. The division of responsibilities is set out in the lease, but when it comes to actually delivering the services covered by the landlord, most often, in the case of a block of flats, a management company is contracted to deliver them. That’s where companies like KFH, as a managing agent, come in. The appointing party may be the landlord, but can also be qualifying leaseholders who may operate a Right to Manage (RTM) company that manages their own building and the appointing of the managing agent. Alternatively, a Resident’s Management Company (RMC) may be set up to appoint and oversee the delivery of these services.

What makes for better block management? KFH’s Block Management service involves over 65 people covering 15,000 units in 125 blocks. Richard Benson is Managing Director of KFH Block Management, and he explains what leaseholders should expect from KFH’s approach to block management. “An inspection of the site allows us to determine the scale of service that is needed. We can then prepare and demonstrate how we work with all the interested parties from the board of directors to residents. We will present to all the stakeholders, including residents, and demonstrate all the technology we use



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as well as introduce the people we employ to deliver the services you require.” Upon appointment KFH draw up a contract that includes the outputs of residents’ interviews, a schedule, and a report on the condition of the building. That entire process usually takes no longer than three months. Residents are kept fully informed by their preferred means of communication and are constantly updated on the status of any projects undertaken on their property. Service level agreements are part and parcel of any new contract, ensuring everyone is clear about what needs to be delivered.

Looking after people’s homes

“Being able to report repairs quickly and easily is important to customers and is a key part of our role”

Illustration by Marcin Mokierów-Czołowski

As a managing agent, a substantial part of maintenance is understanding, organising and tendering out remedial work. KFH

property managers ensure all suppliers complete a due diligence process before working on the building – for example, making sure any contractor holds the required insurance cover for work they are contracted to complete. The property manager will also make sure that all the quotes obtained are reasonable, and upon completion be responsible for judging if the work is to standard. As Benson says: “Being able to report repairs quickly and easily is important to customers and is a key part of our role. Good communication is crucial because communication problems can lead to a high amount of frustration and even damage to the building if problems are not addressed. An important job for our property managers – which may be the most important job – is to proactively listen and engage with residents and simply get things done.”


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Richard Benson, Managing Director of KFH Block Management

Safety has to come first Overseeing the repairs and refurbishments of the building and its environment is only part of the job. Making sure people are safe and that landlords and residents get the help they need is central to any block management role. This work is constantly evolving in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy. As Benson explains, KFH are involved with all parties trying to ensure the essential work is done. “Our building safety team at KFH work with clients to comply with the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), for both low- and high-rise buildings. We are helping secure finance via the government fund for high rise buildings and have succeeded in obtaining these funds and in many cases have contractors who have started work. The speed of claims are a challenge for the government fund team owing to the number of applications, but regular meetings between KFH and the fund means progress is being made.” Keeping abreast of the changes is vital and the changes are coming thick and fast. Landlords and leaseholders are awaiting further news on low rise buildings below 17.7m. The government announced in July this year a change to their approach, requiring risk assessments to be conducted based on new guidance. “What is required of landlords is changing all the time. Risk assessments will be conducted on new guidance, but we do know that alarm systems and sprinklers are to be used, rather than remediation, unless




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Pictured clockwise from far left: Strata, St Katherine Docks and New Crane Wharf, all managed by KFH

“KFH Block Management focuses on London blocks, which come with their own history and individual stories, just like the people who live in them”

in exceptional circumstances, in accordance with the new PAS9980 assessment, which includes fire risk appraisal.” It’s one of the tasks of the building safety team to keep all clients updated with progress on these issues. But clearly changes to safety legislation do not stop there and block management is about understanding these changes and delivering on them. “The new Fire Safety Act has been designed by the government so that residents can feel safe in their homes, and to prevent a tragedy such as Grenfell ever happening again,” Benson says. “The Act addresses a grey area in previous legislation that left it unclear whether existing fire safety legislation applied to the structure, external walls, cladding, balconies and windows, or even the entrance doors to individual flats that open into common parts. This new Act will bring these

areas within the regulations of the Fire Safety Order so that a responsible person assesses and mitigates the fire safety risk associated with these parts of the building. Fire and rescue services will be able to take enforcement action and hold the responsible person to account if they are not compliant.” The Act is not likely to be the end of the changes, as much of the content requires a further series of regulations to be made under the Fire Safety Order, which will require public consultation over the coming months. From general maintenance to fundamental safety, every property manager should be helping landlords and residents make their homes a place they can enjoy and feel safe whether that’s administering repairs, refurbishments or ensuring legal safety standards are met. All of that work means making sure

residents and landlords are kept fully informed and matters are handled in a transparent fashion because at the root of the success of any block management contract is trust. “Block management is about understanding property but also, just as importantly, the people who live in it,” Benson concludes. “KFH Block Management focuses on London blocks, which come with their own history and individual stories, just like the people who live in them. They are homes people care about and it is our responsibility to ensure they are managed as required.” 

KFH Block and Portfolio Management 020 3993 3894

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London Youth offer a whole host of outdoor activities for those who may not have the opportunity to enjoy them

Young at heart | London Youth CEO, Rosemary Watt-Wyness

KFH have been supporting London Youth for five years and, says the charity’s CEO Rosemary WattWyness, the unrestricted funding from the partnership is invaluable


t first glance, comparing the years 2021 to 1887 seems nonsensical, but the work of charity London Youth will certainly make you do a double take. “What strikes me is some of the themes stay the same through time,” says the charity’s CEO, Rosemary Watt-Wyness. “In 1887 [when the charity was first launched], one of the things they really majored on was sports activity for young people, and today we still do a lot of sport activities. We do a lot around young people’s employability, and you can look back to 1887 and say it mattered then and it matters now.” For over 130 years, then, the work of London Youth has been crucial in giving opportunities to the capital’s younger generation. Their amazing youth workers offer advice and support across a host of disciplines, and they highlight how



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The KFH 100 Challenge A snapshot of how the KFH family are raising a minimum of £100 each to support London Youth RONKE MAYE Sales Branch Director, Catford Ronke set herself a challenge of walking 300km and raised a whopping £2,544!

“Mental health was an issue we were conscious of pre-pandemic. Now, a lot more young people are experiencing anxiety”

community youth centres are a vital lifeline to many young Londoners – and this was before a pandemic brought the world to a shuddering halt. “Mental health was an issue we were conscious of pre-pandemic,” Watt-Wyness says. “Now, a lot more young people are experiencing anxiety-related issues. We can see that increasing the amount of mental health support we put out there through our network is going to be a big focus for us over the next few years. Employability, too: we have a programme called ‘Future Talent’ that we deliver in youth clubs, where we help young people to develop their soft skills.” It’s where a company like KFH plays such a crucial role in supporting London Youth. Earlier this year, Jasmin Athwal (Director of Talent and Development), Sophie Danes (Head of Lettings Management), Tom Bryant (Head of Technology) and Sarah Clegg (Talent Development Associate)

took part in a careers insight discussion with young people from a London Youth member club, and it was so successful that they were dubbed ‘the KFH fantastic four’. “KFH really care about the communities and local areas they are working in, and youth clubs are right at the heart of local communities,” Watt-Wyness explains the importance of KFH’s support. “That gave us a really strong foundation for a partnership and I can’t overstate how important it is.” Watt-Wyness says this is one of the reasons why she is optimistic about what the future holds, even if she is realistic about the challenges ahead. “Since 1887 there have only been a couple of moments in history like we are going through now. One was probably after WWII, and the other is now. Whatever we thought we were achieving before, we have got to do so much more.” 

DUNCAN BLAKELOCK Central Lettings Director Duncan completed the 160km cycle along the South Downs Way and raised over £1,200. BLOCK MANAGEMENT On Thursday 24 June, several members of the block management team completed the Chase the Sun 10k for KFH100, raising over £800. DANICA MACNAB Senior Lettings Negotiator, Muswell Hill Danica raised £1,205 by setting herself a personal challenge of walking 60m underwater in one single breath. JULIAN PEAK Sales Director, South East London Julian did not let a full hip replacement stop him from raising money. He set himself a target of doing 30,000 steps (without crutches) on 22 July, which was exactly one month after his operation. So far, Julian has raised £2,100. LISA CLEASBY Head of Renewals and Change of Sharers In May, Lisa swam five miles – or 320 lengths of a swimming pool – and has raised £210.

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Epirus Road, London SW6 £6,283 pcm / £1,450 pw A modern and spacious four bedroom terraced house finished to a high specification and ideally located on a quiet residential road just moments from Fulham Broadway. Four double bedrooms | Modern | Double reception room | Wooden flooring throughout Utility room | Master bedroom with ensuite bathroom | Private patio garden


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Woodgrange Avenue, North Finchley N12 £1,000,000 A truly stunning end of terrace Edwardian home that has been meticulously finished throughout and benefits from off street parking and a sizeable garden. Four bedrooms | Open plan kitchen | Separate living room | Off street parking High ceilings | Side access | EPC Rating C | Freehold

FINCHLEY.SALES@KFH.CO.UK | 020 3993 3420

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Date with history To celebrate the launch of our very first issue of London Property Matters, we have teamed up with charming London hotel, The Kensington, to offer one lucky reader a stunning prize worth £700 e hope you have enjoyed reading the first issue of London Property Matters as much as we enjoyed making it. We are so excited about the launch that we are offering one lucky reader:  One night stay + breakfast at The Kensington  Dinner at The Veranda - 3 courses for 2 people + bottle of house wine  Kensington Palace + entry x 2 to the exhibition Royal Style in the Making, which includes the wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales Located in the heart of South Kensington, the stylish Kensington hotel sits only moments from The Royal Albert Hall and The Victoria and Albert Museum.



With open fires, high ceilings and heritage décor, the hotel’s elegant drawing rooms evoke a sense of Victorian grandeur and provide the perfect setting to read a good book or a tête-à-tête. You will enjoy a guest room that reflects a delicate blend of period charm and modern comfort. During your stay you will also be able to explore the birthplace of Queen Victoria and home to young royals for over 300 years, as you walk in the footsteps of history at Kensington Palace. Finish off your day with dinner at the outdoor oasis that is The Veranda - the newest addition to The Kensington’s well established and already rich and varied restaurant and bar offering. All in all, the perfect day! 

To enter this competition head over to

Terms and Conditions: • Dates of redemption are subject to availability and the terms linked below • The competition is open to residents aged 18 or over. Any entrant who fails to comply with the entry instructions set out in these terms and conditions will be automatically disqualified from the competition • All prizes are subject to availability and will not be exchanged for cash in any circumstance. • Blackout dates apply to redemption of hotel, restaurant and bar experiences at The Doyle Collection, and are subject to change. • Prizes are non-transferable across different hotels, restaurants and bars in The Doyle Collection. There will be no cash alternative • Competition closes 10/10/21 at 23:59. Entries after this date will not be counted. • The winner will be picked at random and notified by email within 7 days of closing. • Should the first winner not respond within 3 days, we reserve the right to pick a second winner. • Those linked to any of the companies involved with the promotion cannot take part.


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Sydenham Hill, Sydenham SE26 £775,000 This outstanding three bedroom family home is positioned moments from Crystal Palace park and has excellent transport links, schools and amenities. Three bedrooms | Ample natural light | Fantastic location | Immaculate condition A stylish modern decor | Fully double glazed | EPC rating C | Freehold

SYDENHAM.SALES@KFH.CO.UK | 020 3993 5147

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London. Property. We get it. As London’s leading property services group, we put service at the heart of everything we do and stop at nothing until we deliver the right result for you.

Residential Sales Residential Lettings and Management Land and New Homes Block and Portfolio Management Surveying and Professional Services Property Solicitors Financial Services Commercial Property Build to Rent Corporate and Relocation Services

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