The number of people living in flats is rising. And as more people all over the world migrate from rural areas to cities and population experts predict a rise in the global populace from 7.6 billion to 9.8 billion between today and 2050, going to borrow some sugar from the next flat is likely to become a way of life for most of us.
This is just one of the many facts that Deacon, the blocks of flats insurance specialist, shared with us recently. We learned, for instance, that if a block of flats were to be under-insured, the insurer could reduce the claim in proportion to the under-insurance. So, let’s say a flat was insured for 50% of its correct value. In the event of a claim being made, only 50% might be paid. When you also consider that such buildings carry a higher risk of claim-worthy events such as storm damage, fire and water damage amongst other things, we can see why choosing the correct insurance product is vital!
Also easily overlooked is professional indemnity insurance. Remember, any advice that a landlord provides to their clients is potentially legally binding. Indemnity insurance can help protect the business from potential financial catastrophe and reputational damage from dissatisfied clients.
To find out what else we learned, read on for 10 things you didn’t know about flats.
The Romans Did It First
Not many people were taught this in class, but the Romans built the first flats. With their successful campaigns and a stable economy in the middle of 100 BC, Rome’s population began to grow and housing became a problem. To figure the problem out, Roman engineers built stronger structures that could go higher in the sky; using lime and volcanic sand to make concrete and standardizing blocks to make construction quick and reliable.
A Forest in Your Flat
The Bosco Verticale are two apartment buildings in the middle of Milan where trees and plants grow all around and through from the ground up. Designed by Stefano Boeri, this “Vertical Forest” has more than 20,000 trees and plants peacefully sharing space with the residents, and his design is being copied all around the world.
A Flat Forgotten
Marthe De Florien was a famous French actress who fled her flat in Paris in 1934, just before WW2 began. She never returned, and nobody is certain why. Her landlord, however, had no idea her flat had been vacated and left it empty until his death in 2010. When agents were asked to value his estate, they found her flat, forgotten all those years and untouched, like a jewel in time.
Fans of Star Trek may be pleased to see the future arriving; the architectural firm, Dynamic Group, has designed the first ever rotating and shapeshifting tower block of apartments, to be built in Dubai by 2020.
Recycling Plastic? Try Entire Buildings!
In the UK, many of our landmark buildings are being pulled down to be “recycled” into blocks of flats. For example, the Hoover Building and Battersea Power Station in London and the BBC Television Center at White City have been repurposed into blocks of flats. This trend is likely to continue as demand for apartments in prime city locations continuously rises.
Choo Choo! Train Coming Through!
In the Chinese mega-city of Chongqing, there are apartment buildings that were constructed with space to let trains run through them!
The smallest two-bedroom flats in the world are in Wuhan, China, where each apartment is only 50 square feet. The largest apartment building is the Copan Building in Sao Paolo, which has over 1,160 apartments in its 38 stories that house more than 5,000 people. The tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa. But even at 72 meters high, it won’t be the tallest for long. In 2020, the Jeddah Tower should be set to take that prize, coming in at 1,000 meters high.
Going Down and Into the Water
A few thousand years since the Romans built buildings going up, we are trying to build some going down. Since 2011, Mexico City has been working on plans to build a 35 story upside down pyramid. And in Rio De Janeiro, proposals have been put forth for Aequorea – an underwater city to be built off its coast.
In the UK, deacon.co.uk tells us that London is the most expensive city to live in, costing £7,090 per month. Brighton, Edinburg, and Oxford tie for second at £5,000 per month. But in areas like Southampton, residents can live a decent life for about £3,000 per month.
In England, the feudal system of land ownership is still practiced, meaning it’s entirely possible to lose your flat if you skip out on mortgage or service charges, regardless of how long you have been paying them. In Scotland, however, the feudal system was abolished in 2004, protecting homeowners and leaseholders from such practices.