This is what I saw when I was at the bottom of Barrack Road, at the junction of Strawberry Place, Barrack Road, Gallowgate and Pitt Street.

Look across the road you can see the new buildings, which include Verde and The View, which are student flats owned by Downing Students, also out of the picture behind these, JSK Studios,  property  companies specialising in  modern student flats.

Considering there is a big housing shortage in Newcastle, of any other form than student flats, of which there is a surfeit, were I to move into one of these flats, would I be required to prove I was a student?

Also, were I to claim to be a student when I moved there, would I be required to pay council tax, as under normal circumstances students don’t pay?

If I had a property portfolio, which I wished to purchase one of these flats as an investment, and not get any student to live there, because it would not be worth the hassle, would I be required to pay any tax?

UPDATE… I don’t have a problem with students, I consider they are a benefit to Newcastle. My concern is with the large scale conversion of Newcastle into a large expensive student dormitory, by developers who are just in it to make very large sums of money.

Giles Fraser, writing in the Guardian, pointed this out about  new builds in his parish in London…

“But not only are these flats being sold as piggy banks for east Asian capital looking for a safe place to park itself, many of them are not even occupied. Transparency International did some research looking at electricity use in areas where lots of flats are owned by anonymous companies. And – surprise, surprise – the electricity use was consistent with many of the flats being long-term empty.”



Flat Dwelling

Last Monday I had a “Property MOT” on my flat, which is an annual inspection to sort out any minor repairs which may need doing on a periodic basis.
I got my kitchen door hinge fixed so it did not blow open when it was windy. It was annoying when I was in the kitchen cooking with the door shut and the window open, and the door would blow open and the window would blow shut at the same time. The repairman identified I needed a new mixer tap in the kitchen as it leaked pretty badly. So today he came back and spent a long time fitting a new mixer tap, hurting his arm in the process! I think I know how to fit a new mixer tap now but I know an intensive bodybuilding course would need to be completed first!
He also had a look at the seal on my elderly double glazing where water leaks in when it rains heavily, and he identified it is coming in via the window catch and running down inside the seal. Water was also coming in through the telephone socket and oxidising the copper in the jack.
All this is due to improperly fitting and blocked guttering, when the water runs off the roof into the gutter, it floods into the corner of the guttering and cascades off it, at the corner above my window and telephone inlet.
So we went outside to have a look. He thinks the drainpipe is actually full of water which cannot drain away, as well.
My telephone cable was improperly positioned, which means water was flowing down it and into the brick and the hole where the cable enters. He has siliconed the cable, adjusted it, and is going to follow up the guttering issue, because it is a Big Job which needs scaffolding.
On the subject of water getting into the building,recently there were broken pipes on both the odd and even numbers bathrooms, which were leaking down the front of the building for literally years and causing damp. We have now been able to get those pipes fixed, which involved getting into tenants homes and identifing where the leaks were starting from, but there is still a problem with another pipe on the even side near the ground, which we are trying to get fixed. Once water gets into brick it likes to spread itself around and find its level, so can wet a whole wall if not stopped.