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Whats it Like to be Gypsy Traveller

Posted on 11th April 2019 by Master Removers

In the past, we’ve looked at people who move frequently because of the nature of their jobs (e.g. property development) or because they’re trying to fall into a particular catchment area in order to benefit their children. But what about people who move simply as a way of life?


The word ‘gypsy’ has become tainted, carrying connotations of shiftiness and untrustworthiness based on bigoted perceptions of people who live in travelling communities. In fact, the word, which derives from the Old French ‘gyptien’, was attached to these peoples because, when they first appeared in the UK in the 16th Century, they were mistakenly assumed to be Egyptian. Today, the word can apply to a specific ethnic group (the Romani people and its various sub-groups, the Roma, Romanichal, Sinti) but can also be used more generically to refer to any group of nomadic/travelling people. Let’s take a look at what life can be like for people who are always on the move. As with any kind of living, there are upsides and downsides to it.

If you move a lot (perhaps living out of a caravan or similar wheeled vehicle), then you never belong to any one place. You will always, to some extent, be an outsider. The good news is that this will enhance your ability to empathise with other outsiders. You will see beyond superficial differences and be able to make enduring connections with other people who don’t ‘belong’.


Although travellers and gypsies are protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act 1976, they are still bound by certain laws. When they set up home on private land, it’s a kind of legal grey area. So, for example, if travellers camp on your land without your express permission, the following steps are advised:-

  • Talk to them to see if a finite length of stay can be agreed upon.
  • Start proceedings in the County Court via the Civil Procedure Rules, 1998.

Letting the travellers stay temporarily on your land, while the kind-hearted thing to do, can be legally problematic. For example, you could be in breach of the Planning Acts unless you’ve already acquired planning permission for a caravan site or you happen to be a farmer and are employing the travellers (e.g. to do fruit picking).


Travellers and gypsies who set up home in any of the above contexts cannot be immediately moved on. Local councils must first demonstrate that they are on the land without consent. Then enquiries must be made into the general welfare and health of the party. After that has been established, there are notices that have to be served and due process to be followed, including approaching the courts in order to get the relevant authority to order the gypsies and travellers to move on from the site. An order to move them on can be refused if it seems that the first two steps have not been properly taken.


What if you weren’t born into the travelling lifestyle but want to try it out? Short of taking the rather drastic step of marrying into a Romani family, what can you do to make this happen? There are various options that aren’t too difficult to realise. A good first step would be to qualify to teach English as a foreign language. A level 3 TEFL qualification is sufficient to unlock a world of opportunities to teach, travel and earn a salary in every single non-Anglophone country in the world. Even better, there are no entry requirements. You do not have to have studied languages at school or university. All you need is to be fluent in English.

Other careers that facilitate travel include travel writing (but bagging those attractive commissions isn’t always easy) and tour-guiding. There’s also a voluntary sector that enables travel (e.g. living and working on an organic farm), or the option of putting your own place onto the books of Air BnB in order to fund your wanderlust.

Other ways of creating a travelling lifestyle include registering with house-sitting/pet-sitting organisations, offering whatever your skill-set happens to be in exchange for room/board, working on cruise ships, acquiring a skill that can be practised anywhere (e.g. fitness instructor/yoga instructor), joining the digital economy of ‘location-Independent’ jobs, using crowd-funding (ie getting other people to pay), and joining the ‘barter economy’ (ie using your most marketable skill to get free stuff when travelling).

How frequently do people move house in the UK compared to Europe

Posted on 17th January 2019 by Master Removers

Just how inclined to settle down in one place are people in the UK? Are the figures different for owners as opposed to renters? And how, in our moving habits, do we compare to our Continental cousins? Thanks to research* carried out in the last two years, a picture of comparative moving trends can be drawn and it’s a picture that tells a story, not just of rather fatigued housing markets but also of culturally-ingrained tendencies that differ from place to place, with considerable disparities between one nation and the next.


Facts about moving house UK

While, in the 1980s, with a buoyant, booming market as the backdrop, we moved house every eight years, now, in the grip of a slowdown, it’s every 23 years; this equates to moving roughly three to four times in a lifetime, a markedly sluggish rate compared to the sprightly inclination to up sticks which we used to embrace. Today’s housing market is affected by political turmoil, economic uncertainty, snap elections and Brexit; no wonder it’s a pale, withered ghost of its former self. Of course, within the numbers forming that average there is a broad span. In parts of Scotland, for example, the figure is a somewhat healthier 14.9 years, but in the well-off royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in London, the average property changes hands just ever 38 years. Another interesting piece of research** concluded that one in ten of us hasn’t moved home for the last 30 years. It seems that however you crunch the numbers, we are living in times of low geographic mobility and perhaps the only silver lining is that this means fewer people are undergoing the notorious stress of relocation.


Facts about moving house Europe

Of the 16 European countries surveyed by RE/MAX in 2015, only three had faster moving rates than the UK; the Finns, the Swedes and the Swiss. On average, people in those nations move six times in their lives. So however gloomy the UK market may seem, we can take comfort in being near the top. And it’s also worth considering that there are other contributory factors to a slow moving rate besides the respective health of the various markets, and they are largely cultural. Europeans, including those in the UK, are culturally inclined to stay in one place longer than people in, for example, North America. And the same survey reveals just how deep this inclination runs, with people in Spain, Slovakia and Poland moving, on average, just twice in a lifetime. In Italy and Czechoslovakia, it’s three times, and in Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Greece and Turkey, it’s four times. It’s worth noting that there’s a distinct split between southern/Eastern Europe and Northern Europe, with the most enthusiastic movers being those in the latter camp, while those in the former more inclined to stay rooted to the spot for as long as possible.


How long does the average person stay in their home?

Taking an average from all the figures calculated by the RE/MAX survey, Europeans move four times in their lives. When age is taken into account, there’s a slight increase in the over-fifties, who will have moved five times. Other breakdowns include the revelation that 15 per cent of those surveyed will only have moved once, while 25 per cent will have moved six times. It’s hardly surprising that those who rent will move more often compared to those who own; the ratio is 5:3.


Average time in a house

The four-times-in-a-lifetime average moving figure equates to about twenty years in each property, with reasons for moving including a change of job, increase in family size with the arrival of children, or seeking better living conditions.


Homeowners in the UK

The newest figures, published by the BBC last year, paint an even drearier picture for owners. It’s believed that, post-credit crunch, homeowners are now moving half as often as they used to. Pinned down by high house prices, difficulties getting mortgages and older people clinging on to large properties, homeowners are now likely to move only two times after their first house purchase. Before 2008, people moved an average of 3.6 times after their first purchase. Now it’s a measly 1.8. First-time buyers find themselves stuck on the first rung of the property ladder indefinitely, especially in London and parts of the South East.



* Zoopla, 2017

**Ocean Finance, 2015

Becoming a Property Developer – You’ll Move House Frequently!

Posted on 29th October 2018 by Master Removers

Becoming a Property Developer – You’ll Move House Frequently!

There’s a variety of reasons why someone might move house frequently. In a previous update, we looked at the shadowy and emotionally fraught world of parents upping sticks to get their children into the right schools. But for others, the motivation to move frequently may simply be a kind of psychological restlessness, a compulsive wanderlust that means they’re never comfortable in one place for too long. Others may have professional requirements and strictures, forcing their hand and making them move at certain intervals. This can certainly be the case for property developers, many of whom work by inhabiting a house, doing it up and then moving on at a profit.

What Does A Property Developer Do

A property developer buys a house/flat/building, renovates it, and then sells it on with the aim of making a profit. Some developers will rent out to tenants once they’ve completed the renovation. The process often entails acquiring a property that’s relatively inexpensive because it’s fallen into disrepair and needs considerable updating, with new furnishings, fittings, maintenance and repair work. As a consequence of the way many of them work, property developers can move house every year.


How Do Property Developers Make Money

Property development is a career generally only advised to those already in a stable financial position. It may make money, but it also requires money. It’s an expensive undertaking and, unless you have liquid assets, you may well need to borrow funds via bridging loans, residential mortgages, buy-to-let mortgages, commercial mortgages, unsecured loans or secured loans. However, once you’ve taken a shabby, dejected property and infused it with new life, there’s every chance that you can sell it on for a far greater sum than that with which you acquired it. However, there are risks. As a profession, it requires considerable commitment and if you don’t know what you’re doing and something goes wrong, you can end up saddled with vast debts or a property you can’t sell, and you could also lose your home.


First-time Property Developer

If you’ve never done it before, there are extremely appealing things about property development as a career. Foremost among these is the fact that anyone, at least in theory, can do it. There are no training or qualification requirements. If you buy a property and sell it on for a profit, you are, ipso facto, a property developer. And once you’ve done it more than once, you have a portfolio of renovated property that speaks of your abilities. However, there are costs both foreseeable and unforeseeable and cash has to be in place to help you deal with them. You must hire contractors, get structural surveys, pay fees to external agents, rectify structural problems like asbestos or subsidence and pay for maintenance and repairs. You will also need in-depth knowledge of the market, a grasp of how much other properties in the area sell for. You should have some idea of your target buyer/tenant. And then there’s stamp duty.  In short, property development demands a huge commitment of time and money and, if you inhabit each house or flat while you develop it, it will necessitate frequent house-moves, which won’t be ideal if you have young children.


Property Development Courses

An array of property development courses can help you become more informed and these include everything from online to university courses. If you’re already in debt, then now is probably not the time to move into this career. Since property development requires the up-front outlay of buying property, plus the considerable expense of doing it up, if your finances are already under siege, you risk worsening your debt even more. A course, however, may help clarify whether this profession might suit you at a later date.


Worst Property Developer Mistakes

There’s a raft of pitfalls and bad decisions to look out for if you’ve set out on the property development path. Perhaps the most common one is buying in the wrong area. You may think you’ve found the next up-and-coming area and then turn out to be wrong. You may not take into account things like proximity to transport links. And if you’re an amateur property developer, remember that you’ll be competing with people who do it as their main pursuit and who have a highly developed eye for profitable projects. There’s also the risk that, without experience, you could fall victim to cowboy builders and get ripped off to such an extent that your project falls through.