10-01 Homes in Britain

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 Unit 1, Lesson 1, ex. 3 b, 4b
Programme host: In the latest in his series of programmes on British life, Nicky Owen looks at where the British live and what the advantages and disadvantages of living in different types of houses are.

Nicky Owen: There are four basic types of housing in the UK: detached houses, semi-detached houses, terraced houses and flats. The most popular type of home in England is semi-detached (more than 27% of all homes), closely followed by detached then terraced. Some of the detached houses are cottages and bungalows.

It must be understood that a detached house can take on any form or style. It does not matter if the house is a bungalow, a cottage or a mansion. As long as it is not joined to another house, it is a detached house. One advantage of a detached house is the fact that the free space surrounding the building belongs to the family. You can do whatever you would like to be done in your house. The disadvantage is that all repairs in the house should be made by the owner.

A semi-detached house is a pair of houses that share one common wall. The two houses are built to mirror each other. Interestingly enough, this type of housing is called a duplex in other parts of the world. This type of housing became popular in the UK in the 1920s to the 1930s. Now the semi-detached house is still the most popular type of housing in England. One advantage of living in a semidetached house is that there is still some privacy even if one wall is shared by the two houses. A disadvantage is that you are responsible for the upkeep of your side of the house. Another disadvantage is that you cannot just plan repairs or renovations as you have to consider your twin house.

Terraced housing is also known as townhouses. The origin of this type of dwelling was in the 17th century in Europe. A row of identical looking houses share side walls. The end units of this row of housing are called end terrace and are far larger than the units in between. In the past, terrace housing used to be only associated with the working class for this type of housing was cheap, small and terrace housing used to be only associated with the working class for this type of housing was cheap, small and had very little privacy. As time went by, terrace housing became known as townhouses which were more associated with the rich.

One of the major advantages of terrace housing is that it is relatively cheaper than a semi-detached built in the same location. One disadvantage is that there is typically no yard or garden that comes with a unit. As two walls are shared, there is less privacy too.

A flat or an apartment is a part of a larger building. Such building is called an apartment building or a block of flats. A flat can be a studio unit, a one-bedroom, two-bedroom or three-bedroom unit. People prefer renting flats to buying them.

The main disadvantage of renting out a flat is that it will never be yours. You do not have the right to make repairs or renovations to suit your needs. The one advantage of renting a flat is that you are not responsible for it – you are only renting. In case you feel like moving house, you can just leave.





























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