The world of housing might be populated by some strange characters, such as Nick Boles, but sometimes the houses themselves are the strangest things of all. But which of the following six preposterous properties are for real and which one is built on sand?
1The house that looks like Hitler
Back in 2011, news emerged of a house that seemed to have lost all sense of decency and had begun to imitate World War II’s chief villain, Adolf Hitler. The world was made aware of the detested dictator’s domicile doppelganger after alleged comedian Jimmy Carr tweeted his followers (who now include the HMRC) a picture. Locals were apparently cheered by the Swansea terrace home’s appearance. Donald Payne, however, was cautious: “If it starts attracting the wrong sort of people, I might speak to the owner and see if he’ll let me paint the front door another colour – or give the roof a centre parting instead.”
2 Private premises
One Chelmsford resident was determined to get their house into the ivy league, allowing 20 years’ growth of the climbing plant to obscure the building from the rest of the world. When the house finally changed hands – for around a third of the market value – workmen spent a week removing the recalcitrant vegetation which had even worked its way into the building’s brickwork.
3 Neville’s dream home
Former Man Utd defender Gary Neville was renowned for irritating other players, and his powers for provoking people transferred from the pitch to the countryside when he decided to build an eco-friendly family dream bunker. Aghast residents and the council blocked Neville’s planned lair, which looked like something from toddlers’ TV show Teletubbies. But all was not lost. Real-life Teletubby Eric Pickles stepped in and blessed Neville’s underground paradise on the grounds that it didn’t represent a major departure from national planning guidelines.
4 Mole Man Manor
Burrowing William Lyttle found himself at a loose end during the long winter nights so, naturally, decided to dig a nexus of tunnels under his Hackney home. The aim of the ‘Mole Man’s’ subterranean shenanigans remains unknown and Gary Neville was never questioned. Either way, Lyttle’s lunatic labyrinthine proved too much for the council when fears for the structural safety of the building above arose. Lyttle was rehoused and his former home later sold at auction for £1.12m.
5 The cursed condominium
Deemed ‘Britain’s unluckiest social home’ in the press, 27 Warble Heights in Leatherhead saw 60 tenants move in – and out again – within a two-year period due to an eclectic mix of unusual misfortunes. Many residents simply lost their jobs or saw their relationships falter after being handed the keys to the apparently damned apartment, but some suffered far more peculiar fates. Kurt Harris was hospitalised by a pigeon attack two days after moving in; Tracey Gunter developed a relentless and previously unheard of brick phobia within a month of taking up residence; whilst Maud Kipley was accidentally sent a crate of uranium by MoD bunglers. Before long, not even the most desperate of homeless people would set foot in the place. Interestingly, late last year workmen discovered a skeleton in the building’s walls during routine maintenance.
6 The cramped crib
When Rochford District Council offered Britain’s smallest – and oldest – council house to let in 2008, they had to find a tenant tiny enough to fit it. Step forward 5ft 0ins Fay Laslin. The 300-year-old thatched cottage in Rayleigh, Essex, measures only 20ft across but is one of the area’s most famous landmarks. A condition of Fay’s tenancy was that she had to open the petite pad to visitors once a week, although it could only take one at a time.
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ANSWER: Number 5 - Nick Clegg's house is actually Britain's unluckiest.