Inside London’s smallest apartment which costs more than a Dubai villa

An Englishman’s home may be his castle but this 72 square foot flat in the well-heeled London suburb of Knightsbridge is more like a cupboard.

On the rental market for an astronomic £895 (Dh5,096) a week – equating to Dh260,750 a year – the rent bill is probably the only sizeable thing about what is being billed as “London’s smallest apartment”.

Anyone living here would be hard pressed to swing a proverbial cat. In fact anyone tempted to cut down the rent by sharing their small digs, will quickly get to know their flatmate very well.


Advertised by property broker Harrods Estates as a “mini apartment”, the tiny home comprises one room with enough space to squeeze in a single bed.

Aside from the lack of space to put any chairs or indeed a table, the compact toilet and shower are separated from the main living area by glass doors, offering little privacy.

On the apartment’s other side, a mirrored wall panel can be pulled away to reveal the so-called “kitchen facilities” – basically a sink and a plug socket with enough space to store either a kettle or perhaps a toaster. On a shelf above, there is a microwave and a small fridge.

Shelves behind the rest of the mirrored panel provides what the agent calls “intelligent storage space” where tenants can store clothes and other personal items.

The flat lies on the Brompton Road, bang opposite Harrod’s famous terracotta palace department store and just a short walk to Hyde Park as well as dozens of upmarket shops, bars and eateries.

It is also located in the lovely art deco Princes Court mansion block which includes 24 hour porter service and an imposing lobby – several times larger than the flat itself.

But with roughly the same price tag as a five bedroom villa in Dubai, potential tenants to this tiny space will really have to believe that the best things come in small packages.

Q&A

How much are average London rents?

According to the latest figures from the Government’s Valuation Office Agency, the average rent in London for a room in a shared house is £525 per month – which equates to Dh35,900 a year. The national average is £347. They say that in London a one bedroom flat with its own facilities costs £1,155 a month – equating to Dh78,925 a year. However, these are averages for the whole of the city with prime areas commanding much higher prices. A garage in Barnes is listed on the market at £950 a month – equating to Dh64,900 a year.

So very small flats are not unusual?

The high cost of living in London is prompting some landlords to subdivide family homes into smaller units which poorer tenants can afford. At the other end of the scale in Newham, the second most deprived borough in England and Wales, officials reported finding one house containing 38 people, 16 of whom were children. People were even paying to live (illegally) in a walk-in freezer. Tiny studio flats in the city’s most desirable areas go for around £1,000 a month.

Can you buy tiny London homes too?

Yes. Because of the high cost of London real estate, so called “micro-flats” are quite a thing. One company, called Pocket Living, designs and sells small apartments suitable for singles or couples which measure up to around 550 sq ft. They are aimed at those earning between £35,000 and £66,000 – too much to qualify for social housing but often too little to get on the main housing market. The homes are only sold to owner occupiers at 20 per cent below market price.

lbarnard@thenational.ae

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