Breathe in: could you live in this tiny house?

Seven-foot-wide property up for auction

The seven-foot house in Harringay up for auction in October.

With British waistlines expanding, you might think that one of the country's narrowest houses wouldn't be all that desirable. But a north London terrace is up for auction with a guide price of £235,000 - despite being less than seven feet wide.

Squeezed into the tiny space are a ground floor reception room, kitchen and bathroom, with two miniature bedrooms above. There's even a roof terrace to the property, which was built in 1996 across a driveway between two existing houses. It was rented out, until a property developer bought it three months ago.

The house, in Glenwood Road, Harringay, is up for auction with McHugh & Co on October 1.

This particular property has at least the advantage of a certain quirky charm. But increasingly tiny spaces with a lot less going for them are now coming up for sale or rent as greedy owners cash in on the property boom. Britain now has the smallest homes in Europe, according to a Cambridge University report, with fewer than half meeting London Housing Design Guide internal space standards.

In one case earlier this year, the owner of a house that, like the Harringay property, was just a few feet wide, was ordered to tear it down. A planning inspector described it as "singularly out of place" and "wholly unsatisfactory". However, the complaints related to the appearance and standard of construction, rather than to the building's diminutive size. Another house, in Shepherd's Bush, has the blessing of the planners, despite measuring only 65 inches wide - and is worth nearly a million pounds.

The law has surprisingly little to say about the size of property in which it's appropriate for people can live. Recently, a landlord was fined £3,000 for letting out a room that could only be accessed on all fours - but this was because the set-up contravened fire regulations, rather than the 27-inch head height.

Where a property is deemed safe, there's no real limit to how tiny it can be. Earlier this summer, for example, a studio flat in Kentish Town was put up for rent at £780 a month, despite measuring just eight feet by nine. Some properties are even smaller - like the 7ft 6in by 3ft 4in studio in Notting Hill that was created from a cupboard during the 1980s.

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