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Gardens complete any home with the necessary breath of fresh air, but not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to afford a large garden. The area in which you live also largely dictates the average size of the garden. For example, inner city gardens are considerably smaller that rural gardens.

If you wish to have a nice looking exterior to your living space, but the economy of the property is quite restrictive, make full use of plants and colour. Smaller plants in containers or pots fit well in limited gardens and give it a welcoming vibe. Moreover, wall hanging containers are excellent for the balcony of an apartment.

If gardening is not your thing, but outside dining is, then buy some fold-away garden furniture to utilize the outside space when needed. You might think there is no space for a BBQ, for example, but you will reconsider your thoughts when you will find the right little kettle charcoal BBQ. They fit in any small corner or your garden and come in handy when you have friends over for a Sunday lunch.

Herbs and small vegetables in grow-bags can serve cooking purposes, as well as design reasons. For a very small flat that does not have a balcony, window boxes are a great way to bring a garden vibe to the window of your apartment. Choose a plant of herb that you can either use, or looks good from the outside. The bigger the plant, the greater the visual effect you will have from the inside of the apartment.

Think about colour, smell, height and how easy it is to take care of when you chose plants and flowers for the space you are decorating.

Finally, sit back and enjoy your special space. Whether it is a balcony or a small patio, any exterior can turn into a relaxing outside garden with just a little imagination.

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The new Housing Bill was one subject brought up by the Queen in her latest speech, on the 21st of June. Banning letting fees would be one measure that would improve “transparency, affordability and competition in the private rental market”.

Tenants and rental agents will benefit from the new bill, from two points of view.

First of all, landlords will not be able to collect rental fees anymore from their new tenants and their agents. The Queen’s speech mentioned the English Housing Survey from 2014-15 that revealed an average letting fee charged per tenancy of £223. In the same time, fees charged by agents increased by 60% from 2009 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2015 (14% increase in mean).

The fees were found difficult to pay by the tenants. The same studyfound that 42% of tenants had to borrow money and that 1 in 7 tenants pay more than £500.

Second of all, the bill intends to help tenants recover the unlawfully charged fees paid until now. There were no references about how this measure will be put to practice in the future, though.

Expectations from the new amendments are to create a more competitive rental sector with lower costs for tenants. However, overall, this should also result in a higher quality of service for renters.

The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) took notice of the references made by the Queen in her speech. The banning proposals are not new since all the main political parties included it in their manifesto. According to Isobel Thomson, CEO of NALS, the Fair Fees Forum that will be held on the 13th of July will engage further in discussions with the Government upon the subject.

Proposals on the tenants’s fees bill were included in the main themes of the speech after an eight-week consultation program that ended on the 2nd of June. The main concern related to the subject was that the present situation was creating an environment lacked of transparency that is unfair to some parts included in the transaction.


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By Mahe Georgio Branch Manager – Victor Michael

I have been in the property industry for over 25 years and, believe me, a good job is hard to find, but every entrepreneur knows that a good employee is even harder to keep.

Over the years I have found it quite easy to keep employees motivated. ‘I provide them with a leader worth following and tasks worth fulfilling’! However, as time goes by, I still look for more ideas to drive my staff forward, keep them motivated and keep them performing to the best of their ability whilst enjoying it at the same time! Here are just a few things that I have tried and tested:

Use food as an incentive. Don’t underestimate the power of having some food around the office! Tell your staff that you are having a breakfast morning one day a week or month… They will be sure to come in early if food is waiting for them.

Making things interesting. Break up the day-to-day routine of the work schedule by shaking things up every now and then.

Reward your employees for hard work. Giving rewards to staff is a great way to motivate them. For example, create competitions to see who can generate the most revenue by the end of the month. I believe any contest will keep your staff motivated to produce solid work. You can reward them with either gift vouchers, tickets for sport venues, time off work or a casual dress day.

Acknowledge individual achievements. Take the time out to tell someone that they have done a great job. If truly exceptional, stand up and make an announcement to praise that person with a round of applause. (It is important to recognize employees’ individual efforts, but it is equally important for the rest of the staff not to feel left out if you are always recognizing the same few employees).

What ideas do you have that you think would motivate you or you staff? We’d love to know!

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What is the qualification that an area needs in order to get on the “ Desired Place To Live” list?

A survey that was conducted by Halifax rated heavily on the wish list the following influence factors: health and life expectancy, employment and earnings, low crime rates, general levels of well being, and access to places for socializing and down time.

10. Chiltern

This area of Buckinghamshire includes the towns of Amersham and Great Missenden. Some of the biggest homes in the country can be found here. Moreover, the citizens here have the highest life expectancy for females at birth, at 86.7 years.

9. Wokingham

This town in Berkshire is near Reading and it is handy for a commute into London. It is one of the healthiest places in the country, with 97pc of households rating themselves in good or fairly good health. This could be due to the high level of fitness clubs available to residents of the area.

8. St Albans

This city has the third highest earnings in the country, at £1,018 per week – far higher than the average of £646. But house prices are also high here, representing 10.8 times the income. St Albans also has a large proportion of adults with the highest levels of qualifications, at 63.6pc.

7. Purbeck

An area on the coast of Dorset, named after the Isle of Purbeck, a peninsula with steep cliffs that forms part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Purbeck gets 1,722 hours of sunshine a year, has high levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and offers good access to fitness centers.

6. South Cambridgeshire

This area has an easy commute into London, low levels of rainfall, and high levels of male life expectancy.

5. Hambleton

With 20 pubs per 10,000 people, you can see why this area of North Yorkshire would rate highly. It includes the picturesque towns of Bedale and Thirsk and borders the North Yorks Moors, as well as having a high level of employment and small class sizes.

4. Derbyshire Dales

The high employment here, at 87.7pc, and 45.1pc of adults have a higher level of qualification compared to a national average of 35.6pc. There’s also the vast number of pubs: 27 for every 10,000 adults, the second highest in the country, and the beautiful rolling hills and opportunities for hiking and other activities in the great outdoors.

3. Wychavon

To the east of Worcester, near the Malverns and the Cotswolds, Wychavon has lots of beautiful architecture, as well as many fitness clubs and great quality of life scores.

2. Orkney Islands

With a very low crime level, high employment, and little traffic on the roads (with just 142 cars per square kilometre, compared to the UK average of 9,419) the Orkney Islands often rank well in quality of life surveys.

Residents here are among the happiest, satisfied and least anxious in the country, with 96.6pc of adults on the Orkneys enjoying good or fairly good health, and 20 pubs to choose from per 10,000 adults.


Topping Halifax’s list is Winchester in Hampshire, due to a combination of above average weekly earnings, a low crime rate and good health. Women there live more than two years longer than the average for the rest of the UK, and Government figures reveal that people here are among the happiest, satisfied, most content and the least anxious in the country.

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Location: Seymour Road, Leyton E10 7BL

Entrances: Marsh Lane, Seymour Road, Orient Way and Ive Farm Lane.

Nearest Stations: Leyton Central Line Station, Leyton Midland Station.

Buses: 48, 55, 56, 58, and 158.

When: 24 June, 12pm – 7pm

Where: Leyton Jubilee Park

Leyton Jubilee Park, the boroughs largest park, is now an outdoor sporting hub for the borough including, basketball court, mini and junior football pitches and a brand new changing pavilion.

Different from other events, the Summer Fest event is the only beer and sports festival where attendees can win prizes competing in free, entertaining events! There will be a series of matches and tournaments for you to watch and participate in.

  • Watch “5 a side” girl’s football match. A number of local teams will be competing against each other to win the summer fest trophy. They also have volleyball matches and a rugby match.
  • Fun and interactive traditional games such as target golf, putting contests, bean bag toss and more where attendees can compete to win prizes such as restaurant gift cards, free Fast Passes to the other events and much more!
  • Mouth-watering creations from some of the top local food trucks.
  • Kids Zone featuring fun creative activities and sports tester sessions.
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