You will find mansion flats (flats in mansion blocks) in various London areas. The first were built in Kensington in the late 1870s followed by others located in what are now prime London areas; including Mayfair, St John’s Wood and Regent’s Park. Originally build as cheap accommodation for the burgeoning middle classes, many flats fell into disrepair in the 20th century only to re-emerge in the latter part of the century as property prices in London began to take off and mansion blocks were systematically renovated.
Historically purpose-built as flats, rather than the more typical conversions of larger buildings, mansion flats have large regular-shaped rooms, high ceilings, proper walls (not plasterboard) and their stone walls and concrete floors make them much quieter than many of their more modern alternatives.
However, there is a down side as many mansion blocks were not renovated with lifts – an absolute requirement for many of today’s buyers. Also, many older blocks were badly managed which means that current owners suffer high maintenance charges.
Being located in substantial buildings with proper walls and stone floors can also mean that wi-fi is difficult and some flats ‘enjoy’ a low or non existent mobile phone network reception. Many are managed by residents who all have a share of the freehold. Finally, many mansion blocks have been badly converted.
My top 5 tips for buying a mansion flat
For those looking at mansion flats as an investment I would recommend always looking at flats which
- have been well maintained and are serviced by a reputable management company
- are located in good areas
- have modern and reliable lifts
- are complete (i.e. not sub-divided) and retain some period features
- have good access to wi-fi and telephone signals