Inventions Over The Last 20 Years

1998 – MP3 Player


1999 – Digital Video Recorders

2000 – Bluetooth – wireless technology for sending data.

2001 – Segway – a two wheeled self-balancing scooter.

2002 – Robot Vacuum

2003 – Skype – face to face conversations online have now become commonplace thanks to this accessible software.

2004 – Facebook – many social media sites came before it but this one has become the most popular in recent years.

2005 – GPS – the Global Positioning System was actually launched in 1973, however 2005 was the year when GPS become commercially viable and embedded into phone devices.

2006 – HDTV – clearer TV.


2007 – Smartphone – Although smartphones have been developed since the early 1990s, the introduction of touchscreen smartphones lead to their massive increase in popularity.

2008 – The Large Hadron Collider – This was constructed over a period of 10 years and tests started in 2008.

2009 – Bladeless Fan – a fan with no blades.

2010 – Tablets – they’re like big smartphones.


2011 – Curiosity Rover – launched by NASA to explore Mars.

2012 – Google Glass – smart glasses.

2013 – Cronut – a croissant/doughnut hybrid.


2014 – Hoverboard – But only when placed above a conductive material.


2015 – Self-Balancing Two-Wheeled Car

2016 – Self-Tying Shoes – Nike unveil self-tying shoes.

2017 – Self-Driving Truck – Tesla unveil plans to introduce self-driving trucks to the market.

20 Cars an Estate Agent should not be seen driving (in no particular order)

1. A Gee Wizz. People will laugh at you.
2. A Renault Twizy. People will laugh and point at you.
3. A 1960 Cadillac. And where would you park it


4. A Bentley Continental. Not for you, the preserve of Premier League
5. A Skoda S100. Think about your image.
6. An Aston Martin DB5. So you think you’re James Bond!

Aston Martin
7. A BMW i8. The wrong shade of ‘green’.
8. A Toyota Prius. They will think you are a mini cab driver.
9. A Smart ForFour. There is ugly and there is….
10. A VW Up! It’s all in the name.
11. A Ferrari 458 Italia. In your dreams and your envious clients’.

12. A Hummer. No further comment required.
13. A Rolls Royce. Your fees must be extortionate.
14. A Lamborghini Hurican. The paint work options will make you dizzy.
15. A Jeep. It’s not a Range Rover!
16. A Morgan Plus 8. Just a little too flat cap and tweeds.
17. A Lotus 7. Just try getting a client into one of these.
18. A stretched limo. OK, plenty of room, but really!
19. A BMW M3. Yes, but you can’t always get what you want.
20. A 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA. Sorry, this car has a reputation to


20 Top Tips for Styling your Home to Sell

It’s the question every home owner asks us – ‘How long do you think it will take to sell?’.  We have been operating as Estate Agents in London for the last 20 years and we know what it takes to get a property under offer and fast! Apart the obvious of setting a realistic price, styling and presentation has become a big factor. So much so, we now offer an in-house styling service to our clients in order to present their home in the best possible light. We have shared our top 20 styling tips below:

1. First and foremost – declutter. This is probably the most important point and we cannot stress this one enough. No-one wants to see a messy home. Start by clearing worktops, surfaces and bookshelves.   Remember – less is more..

2. Do not store the clutter in the loft, unused room or garage – buyers and tenants want to see these spaces too.

3. Undertake any maintenance issues now. We’re talking about the mouldy mastic around baths and showers, cracked plaster and broken tiles and glass – not a pretty look! You want the buyer and tenant to see that the property has been well looked after

4. Decorate if necessary. This will instantly brighten the room. Try to use neutral colours and hues rather than strong or bold colours which won’t be to everyone’s taste

5. Get your Mr or Mrs Mopp on and clean, dust, hoover and scrub! Make sure grease and grime is removed from cookers and worktops. Ensure cupboard fronts and taps are gleaming and windows are sparkling.

6. Style and accessorise. Start by getting rid of any out-dated pieces of furniture and decorations.  A room always looks better with a few current items rather than lots of out-dated ones

7. Dress the bed. We like to use plain white sheets and inject colour with cushions and throws. Try H&M or Zara home for the latest trends which are reasonably priced. Plus you can take them with you when you move


8. Hang mirrors to make a room feel larger than it is. We particularly like them above fireplaces and along narrow corridors

9. Replace family portraits with art or prints. We are loving the latest prints from Desenio

10. Add a coffee table book and a few magazines to the coffee table

11. Inject some life by adding flowers and plants.  A vase of freshly cut flowers on a coffee table can really look the part

12. Dress the dining table for dinner. If this is not practical, try to keep a bowl of lemons and limes in the middle of the table – great for a splash of colour. If you have a long table, we like to add 3 or 4 vases with pretty flowers

13. Plump up the sofa and add some cushions and a throw. New cushions are a perfect way to keep up with latest interior trends


14. Turn on table lamps and floor lamps. If you have pendant lamps, you might want to consider updating the shade – check out Ikea and Habitat who have some lovely statement shades.

15. Upgrade bathroom and kitchen taps. We are in love with these brass (very en vogue this year) taps from Perrin and Rowe


16. Add fluffy towels and some luxury hand wash in the bathroom.

17. Update curtains and blinds in neutral colours and hues.

18. Light a candle – the scented candles smell great and can be lit just before a viewing. A group of candles can make a great display on a coffee or dining table or fireplace.   Pick up fabulous scented candles from TK Maxx or Homesense

19. If you have outside space, pick up any weeds, mow the lawn and pressure hose away any green slim on paving stones and decking.

20. If all the above sounds like too much work for you, contact us and we will get our styling team to do it for you!

Davis Brown Celebrates 20 Years!

D B   2 0   B D A Y

Davis Brown is a name which combines the original practice of Davis & Co with William H Brown. However, the other constituent part of the firm was originally Batty Stevens and Good. Both firms were established in 1901 and merged with William H Brown in 1987.

Blank gold enamel pin black mock up, front and back side view, 3d rendering. Empty luxury hard lapel badge mockup. Golden clasp-pin design template. Matal square brooch for logo presentation.

After 11 years of corporate life as part of a larger organisation we returned to our roots of being a small independent property consulting practice 20 years ago. We pride ourselves in being an active player in the property profession throughout this time, not only in London, but also around the United Kingdom.

From our office in the heart of Fitzrovia, the team at Davis Brown includes a number of staff members who have been with us since the start, and many more have been a part of Davis Brown for over 10 years. Equally gratifying, are the number of clients and their families, with whom we have worked for generations.

As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations we will be running a number of competitions. There will be prizes! We will also be hosting a special event in September and running a number of competitions – take part via our anniversary hashtag #DB20BDAY 

Watch this space…

DB-190 - Tony HDavid Moon

Tony How and David Moon. Founding Partners of Davis Brown





  1. Davis Brown, the promoter, will post an image on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Linked In of a building in London from 20 plus years.
  2. To participate in this competition, entries must like our image, and post a photograph of the same building using the hashtag #DB20BDay and tag Davis Brown. The image can be external or internal and it can be new or old.
  3. The participant can share their photo on any or all social media channels – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linked In or you can email us at
  4. There will be several competitions with one winner every fortnight. The first competition will run from Friday 18th May up to and including Friday 1st June.
  5. The winning entry will be that is judged to be the most visually appealing and original. The winning entry will be judged by the team at Davis Brown. The winner will be notified within seven days of the closing date of the competition. Entries after this point will not be considered.
  6. The prizes consists of:
  • Two grand stand tickets to the Lords Twenty20 Game (Middlesex vs Sussex)
  • Chateau Batailley 1998, Grand Cru Classe Pauillac
  • One month’s free membership at F45 Oxford Circus
  1. The prize as described is available on the date of publication. All prizes are non transferable and there are no cash alternatives. All prizes must be collected from the Davis Brown offices at 1 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8RB within one month of winning.
  2. The winner will have 72 hours to acknowledge their prize from the fate that they are announced as a winner. After this time we reserve the right select a new winner.
  3. This competition is open to everyone aged 18 years or over, except for employees of Davis Brown Limited, their families or anyone else associated with this competition.
  4. All information detailing how to enter this competition forms part of these terms and conditions. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.
  5. All images submitted must be the work of the individual submitting them. It is the responsibility of each entrant to ensure that any images they submit have been taken with the permission of the subject and do not infringe the copyright of any third party or any laws. Entrants must warrant that the photograph they are submitting is their own work and that they own the copyright for it.
  6. You can enter as many times as you would like.
  7. Each entrant confirms that anyone depicted in an entry has given their permission for the inclusion of their image in the entry and the use of the entry including their image by the entrant and the Promoter.
  8. The entrant agrees to the Promoter editing, re-using, storing reproducing and communicating your entry in any medium
  9. To obtain details of the winner please email stating the name of the competition in the subject heading one month after the closing date.
  10. Any personal data relating to participants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be used for marketing purposes without the individual’s prior consent.
  11. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Linked In. You are providing your information to Davis Brown and not to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. By participating in this promotion you agree to a complete release of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook from any claims.
  12. The promoter does not accept responsibility for entries that are lost, damaged or delayed. For example, as a result of a network, system development, computer or telecommunications failures or fault of any kind.
  13. Winners will be invited to participate in related publicity without further reward, e.g. be photographed for website and social media stories.
  14. The Promoter does not encourage excessive drinking – or any of the other portrayals of alcohol listed on the ASA website here.
  15. English law applies and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts shall prevail.
  16. The Promoter is Davis Brown Ltd, 1 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8RB.

The Unexpected Costs of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996

Courtesy of our Party Wall surveyors at Davis Brown..


Defrayed Costs

If your neighbour wishes to demolish and reconstruct the party fence wall on the basis that it is in a state of disrepair, you may be required to pay half of the cost of the new wall. The relevant sections of The Party Wall Act etc. 1996 for this example are 2(2)(b) and 11(5).

Enclosure Costs

If you wish to make use of a party wall previously constructed by the neighbour, you may have to pay 50% of the total cost of that section of wall which you are making use of. This would be based on the amount that it would cost to construct the wall today not when the wall was originally built. See section 11(11) of The Party Wall act etc. 1996.

Third Surveyor Submission

If there is a dispute between the two appointed surveyors, in order to settle the dispute they would have to make a referral to the third surveyor who will decide in favour of one surveyor or the other. If you are an Adjoining Owner and your appointed surveyor is unsuccessful in their referral to the third surveyor, you may be expected to pay the third surveyor’s fees for making the determination. See section 10 of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

Cutting Away Overspilled Concrete

A common example of this is where a basement has been constructed and the neighbour wishes to carry out work at a later date, the discovery of the over spilled concrete produced by your previous work could mean that you would have to pay to have the trespassing concrete cut out and removed. The act of cutting away the trespassing concrete is notifiable under section 2(2)(g) of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

Appealing an Award

If a party wall award is served upon you and you believe it is unreasonable, you may appeal the award to the county court within 14 days of the award being served. It is important to note that you can leave yourself at risk of paying a large cost in this scenario, as if an appeal to the court is overturned you may have to pay both incurred cost for your neighbour as well as the cost of the delayed works. It is advisable to seeks advice from an experienced party wall surveyor if you are considering making an appeal. See section 10(17) of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

“When you’re tired of London you’re tired of life”


And how very true this quote is – even in modern times.  If you didn’t already know, it was Dr Samuel Johnson who spoke these wise words back in the eighteenth century.

Johnson was born in Lichfield in 1709 to bookseller parents, and from a young age he became very interested in the English language and literature.  He studied briefly at Pembroke College, Oxford, but this was short-lived as his parents were unable to pay the fees.  He ploughed on through with his fighting spirit and set up a school, which failed miserably, but not letting that get him down, he took one of his ex-students – David Garrick (who was to become star of the London stage) under his wing and they walked to London to seek fame and fortune.  Exciting times ensued…

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) on engraving from the 1800s. English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Engraved by W.Holl and published in London by A.Frillarton & Co.

Johnson was a prolific writer and became well-known for his poems, biographies, essays, literary criticisms and more, in fact he is the second most quoted English man to date, with the most famous quote being the one I have already mentioned.  However, he really hit the big time when in 1746 he was commissioned to write the English Dictionary (anyone remember the Black Adder episode?!).  Following this he received a pension from George III in 1962, this allowed him to travel extensively and give talks on his favoured subject.  He was a social chap and gained many friends and fans along the way, and to this day he inspires many writers.

Dr. Johnsons House

Being Estate Agents in Fitzrovia, we at Davis Brown know only too well that London is full of fabulous snippets of history everywhere you turn; walking along the old streets of the City of London for example, you can really feel what life might have been like for city folk in bygone days.  For anyone who fancies being close by to some history, we currently have a rare opportunity to acquire a freehold Grade II Listed office building in the City of London which is adjacent to Dr Johnson House.  Dr Johnson House is a charming 300-year-old grade I listed building, and this is where he resided and wrote his great Dictionary of the English Language in the middle of the eighteenth century.  Tempted?….. If so, please call Georgina on 020 7637 1066 for more information.

Tips From A First Time Landlady

real estate rent concept - old key with tag

Being Estate & Letting Agents in W1, we deal with Landlords/ladies on a regular basis.  Our Director and Head of Residential Lettings in Fitzrovia, Emma How, caught up with one of Davis Brown’s newest Landladies who recently developed a flat and became a landlady for the first time. We were keen to get an insight in to her experience in both developing and letting her property for the first time and hope this provides some useful tips for those who are also just starting out.

What made you decide you wanted to develop a property?

I owned a garage called the Coach House which had a redundant room above it. It had no heating or electricity and for years I had wanted to develop it into a flat, however, this was a scary prospect as I’d had very little experience! I decided to jump in feet first, and decided if nothing else, it would be a learning experience!

How did you go about developing the Coach House?

I was recommended an architect who drew up plans and submitted them to the council. The building is Grade II listed so there were a few obstacles to satisfy the planners. I needed Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent.   I then sent the plans to four building contractors. I was amazed at the difference in price when all the quotes came in. I decided to go with the middle quote as I had a good feeling about the team and felt they would listen to my suggestions and we could work well together.

Portrait woman hands presenting small model of house, isolated grey wall background. Real estate, mortgage, home ownership concept. Safety, strong family idea. Insurance, protection

What bit did you enjoy the most?

The fun part of the project was choosing kitchens, bathrooms, tiles and time management with the builders. I wanted to rent the flat on an unfurnished basis so I chose some pretty neutral tones so it was a completely blank canvas for future tenants.

What was the biggest thing you learnt?

Nothing goes to plan and costs can quickly increase!   We had to dig down much further than we anticipated as the local planners would not pass this stage of the project off before we could move on.   The original quote moved quite a lot as I up graded the heating system to make it more efficient and I spent more on the kitchen than planned as this is one of the most important rooms in house.  Make sure you choose a building team you can trust and listen to them.

When did you instruct a Lettings Agent?

I knew nothing about the Landlord/Tenant business and I therefore had to be guided through the procedures and processes that are required of me as a Landlady. I asked a handful of Agents to see the flat 2-3 weeks before completion.

I chose Davis Brown who guided me through every step of way and gave me the confidence to deal with any problems that might occur.  There is so much to understand and to deal with and it was so important to be able to speak to a company that knew all the ropes as I was completely out of my comfort zone.

What did you learn?

Again, Davis Brown were a huge help here and helped me learn all the ropes of being a Landlady.  All the appliances were new and needed to be registered and guaranteed in my name in case they broke down.  A six-week deposit needed to be taken and registered formally with a deposit scheme. The gas safety certificate needs to be checked yearly. The list goes on…

I really understood the importance of an inventory report prepared with photographs, and I asked the tenants to sign so we were both covered in case of damage.

On their arrival, I had to test the fire alarms to show the tenants they were all working sufficiently and once again, I got a signature from the tenants.

As a personal touch, I gave the new tenants a welcome guide with information such as where the bins are kept, rubbish collection and what access they had.

I learnt very quickly that the relationship between tenant and landlady has to be completely transparent and both parties know they are responsible for the property – me maintaining it to the correct standard and the tenants respecting the space.

Once all the paper work was done – everyone knew exactly where they stood, this makes for a smooth relationship between landlady and tenant, and I am most grateful that Davis Brown were here to guide me through it all!   I am now looking forward to my next project with the confidence I have gained to take me forward.

What Does The Future Hold For Our High Streets?

Salisbury, UK - September 4th 2016: Tourists and shoppers are walking through Salisbury City centre on a Sunday afternoon. Some are sitting down enjoying refreshments and food at tables in the street.


Over the course of 2017 we saw the closure of a number main high street chains, most notably BHS. This has continued into 2018 with the recent closure of Toys r Us and Maplin, whilst other big names are reporting that it will be a financially difficult year ahead.

Many of these retailers reported a severe drop in sales over the Christmas period, and the most significant cause of this is thought to be movement off the high street to shopping online. This, along with increased additional costs such as business rates, particularly in central London, has made it difficult for many stores to make a profit.

London, UK - September 13, 2014: view down Carnaby Street with shoppers in London, UK. It is an iconic fashion street in the Soho district famous in the 1960s for mods and hippies.

One of the first signs that the internet was taking services away from the high street was the drop in the number of banks, travel agents and similar services, which originally dominated local high streets. As the amount of on-line shopping continues to increase, the scaremongers out there are already shouting that this is the end of the beloved high street and we will just be left with rows of vacant shop fronts and no activity.

The alternative is that we will see a change in type of retailer, which will evolve further away from the traditional shop. The first part of this high street evolution is already apparent as the number of coffee shops, hairdressers and beauty salons, restaurants and gyms is increasing. This indicates that the high street moving away from being a location to do your weekly shopping and becoming more of an activity based, leisure destination.

Davis Brown Commercial Agents have been marketing several retail units on Kentish Town Road, which is becoming an increasingly popular location. The variety of interest has been broad ranging from restaurants to gym use, whereas interest has not been as high for a more traditional shop use. One new arrival to Kentish Town is Gail’s Bakery, which indicates that the area is becoming increasingly fashionable. It was vital that Gail’s attained planning permission for part A3 (restaurant) use, allowing them to attract more customers into the store. This is now not uncommon as the high street is now starting to attract a different type of shopper.

As larger retail units, often old banking premises, become vacant many have been considered opportunities for setting up fitness centres, health spas and such like. Historically, this has not been the case, but maybe this is the direction many high streets will take in the future?

The BHS flagship store on Oxford Street closed last year, leaving 36,000 square feet of vacant retail space! Plans are now for it to be converted into the biggest food hall in London. This is to include 25 restaurants, 4 bars, numerous food stalls, event space and even a demo kitchen! Could this be a glimpse into the future of how revitalisation of the high street will cater to a new generation whose hard-earned cash is better spent on activities and time with friends rather than on material goods (which are now often cheaper and easier to purchase online)?

“Lease”ten to me, p”lease” !

jack russell boss or business dog listening with one ear very carefully

For a nation that once effectively dominated the world, we seem to occasionally be caught off-guard by something as trivial as an extended cold snap and a bit of snow!

Our office is still dealing with the fallout after the recent “Beast from the East” weather phenomenon affected some properties in our portfolio.

Our management team try to live by the motto “the impossible we do immediately – miracles take a little longer (but not much)”.  Instead we found that little problems quickly became serious issues due to the inability of our maintenance contractors to get to some of our managed properties.

Something as simple as a frozen basin drain outlet quickly evolved into a full blown insurance claim for damages due to water backing up.  A boiler failing (as they always seem to do on Friday afternoons after 17H00!) becomes much more than a temporary inconvenience.

We were going to launch into some inane and well-recycled advice on precautions to take before freezing weather strikes, but it has already been force-fed to us by the media and frankly we are all sentient beings who should be able to figure most things out for ourselves!

Lease agreement document with keys and pen

One thing that struck us as our property management team worked through the various challenges that the weather presented, was the question of who was responsible for what.  We deal with some fairly complicated matters and both our tenants and our clients often make certain assumptions that are not necessarily based on fact.

Our portfolio is a mixture of residential blocks, commercial properties and assured shorthold tenancy (AST) management.  As a company, Davis Brown offer a wide range of services and some serious expertise.  We like to think of our team as the glue that binds all this together. Where things often come unstuck (yes I really went there) is when people don’t read their leases.

A lease is after all a document containing the rules which govern the relationship between a landlord and a tenant. It is easy to forget though, as property professionals, how hard it might be for someone not in the profession to understand the implications of their lease covenants.

Some guidelines on what to look out for are irrespective of whether you are a landlord or a tenant are as follows:

  • Make sure you understand the tenant /landlord relationship in the lease – for example is it a straightforward landlord and tenant relationship, or in the case of the residential block, is there perhaps a “Right to Manage Company” involved or have the lessees collectively purchased the freehold?
  • Take the time to carefully read the description of the premises described in the lease. Usually this defines where the flat/office/leased unit starts and begins.  Pay particular attention to whether things like the windows and doors are part of the premises (and therefore your responsibility) or not.  Does the property you rent include the roof space or the void below the floor?
  • Check the rent is correct and when it is due – this can be quite a contentious issue and the rents may be due on unusual dates.
  • Check what you are responsible for, and if unsure speak to your managing agent or landlord to clarify this. Leases often contain sweeping clauses like “the lessee shall keep the interior of the property in good order and repair including all fixtures….”  An innocuous looking clause like this has serious implications, and forewarned is forearmed as they say.
  • Take the time to understand the service charge provisions if these are applicable to your lease. Usually there is a landlord responsibility to provide services and maintain the common parts and retained parts by way of a service charge.

Above all else you should feel free to speak to us if you have any queries about your lease – we are very happy to “leaseten” to you and help wherever possible!

Take Heed for the next Big Freeze.

While the ‘Beast from the East’ has now ceased, our building surveyors in W1 share some  common building defects to be aware of in time for the next big freeze…

Snow on street in Broadwater. Worthing. Sussex. England

Blown Brick Faces

Typically found on areas of brickwork with high exposure and/or older bricks which have not been well maintained or re-pointed when required. This occurs when water saturates an area of brickwork before freezing where it expands by 9% within the brickwork, causing the faces of the bricks to flake off and crumble away. A common cause of this problem is where a wall has been re-pointed using the wrong type of pointing. If a wall was originally pointed with a lime mortar and is re-pointed using a stronger, more rigid and less porous cement based mortar, then water within the brickwork is unable to escape and more likely to freeze internally.

Frozen Water Supply

It is important to ensure that there are no unlagged water pipes externally as the water within would be at risk of freezing which can cause the pipes to burst. It is advisable to lag any exposed pipes so that enough heat is kept within the pipework so that the water remains free flowing. Once a pipe has frozen, which becomes evident when the flow of water from your tap slows or stops, it is important to attempt to thaw the affected area as soon as possible before it bursts and potentially damages your property.

Icicles hanging from the gutter, and snow on the roof causing drainage problems for an old building in winter.

Moisture Ingress through Roofs

If there is a build-up of snow present on a roof, the internal heat of the building can cause the snow present on the roof tiles to melt and run to the outside edges of the roof, the coldest part of the roof. The water can then re-freeze at the edges of the roof and create an ice dam which causes a build-up of snow behind it, once this snow melts it can cause water to pass underneath the roof tiles close to the perimeter of the roof.

Heavy Loading from Snow

More prevalent on flat roofs, an excessive build-up of snow can cause the roof to be over-stressed which in turn can cause it to sag and/or leak. This problem can be exacerbated if it is an older roof with poor drainage. It is important to contact a structural engineer or surveyor to take a look at your roof in the event that you notice additional sagging during or after a heavy snowfall.

Detail of mold, dirt and water drops on the window


Where you have a pitched roof, within the attic space, ensure that there are no gaps within the insulation of the floor space, particularly if there is a build-up of snow present on the roof. If there is a gap where warm air from the level below can pass through then this can cause condensation to occur on the underside of the ceiling within the attic. A dramatic build up in condensation can lead to mould and rot occurring to the timbers of the roof. It is also advisable to ensure there is adequate ventilation to avoid a build-up of condensation.