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Former Lib Dem HQ rented out for £1million a year

A wealthy American has paid £1 million to rent the Lib Dems’ former headquarters for a year – in Britain’s most expensive ‘try-before-you-buy’ property deal.

The top end of the housing market has suffered in recent years on the back of political uncertainty, Brexit and increased stamp duty.

And this has led to an increase in super-tenants who choose to ‘test drive’ a mansion before committing to buying.

One estate agent has now claimed to have set a record for a ‘try-before-you-buy’ client after they struck a £1 million deal on the £36million Westminster mansion.

This Westminster mansion is claimed to have become Britain’s most expensive ‘try-before-you-buy’ property deal after a wealthy American paid £1 million to rent it for a year. It was once the headquarters of the Lib Dems

The impressive guest bedroom suite of the 11,060 sq/ft property. Up until 2012, the building was home to the Lib Dems

The impressive guest bedroom suite of the 11,060 sq/ft property. Up until 2012, the building was home to the Lib Dems

The five-storey home has five reception rooms (one is pictured), seven VIP bedroom suites, eight main bathrooms lined with the finest Italian book-matched marble and an eight-person passenger lift

The five-storey home has five reception rooms (one is pictured), seven VIP bedroom suites, eight main bathrooms lined with the finest Italian book-matched marble and an eight-person passenger lift

The exclusive property even boasts a swimming pool. Despite the uncertainty shrouding the property market in the wake of Brexit, a wealthy American has agreed to pay £1million to rent the building for a year

The exclusive property even boasts a swimming pool. Despite the uncertainty shrouding the property market in the wake of Brexit, a wealthy American has agreed to pay £1million to rent the building for a year

The Cowley Street property was home to the Lib Dems when they were in the Coalition Government. The then leader, Nick Clegg, is pictured leaving the property in May 2010

The Cowley Street property was home to the Lib Dems when they were in the Coalition Government. The then leader, Nick Clegg, is pictured leaving the property in May 2010

The 11,060 sq/ft property was, until 2012, the Cowley Street headquarters of the Lib Dems which were in coalition with the Conservatives when the controversial stamp duty changes were introduced.

A high-end developer then bought the Grade II listed pad and set out on a three-year overhaul – transforming it into one of the area’s poshest private homes.

The five-storey home has five reception rooms, seven VIP bedroom suites, eight main bathrooms lined with the finest Italian book-matched marble and an eight-person passenger lift.

It also boasts a grand entrance hall and inner hall with main staircase, family kitchen/breakfast room, study, wine room, vast 13 metre indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gymnasium and private health spa.

The master bedroom suite is the size of a conventional two bedroom apartment and has His and Hers marble bathrooms and large walk-in dressing room.

There is also a 1,315 sq/ft outside space which includes a private terraced garden, roof terrace, balconies and patios. 

The family living room of the property. It also boasts a grand entrance hall and inner hall with main staircase, family kitchen/breakfast room, study, wine room, vast 13 metre indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gymnasium and private health spa

The family living room of the property. It also boasts a grand entrance hall and inner hall with main staircase, family kitchen/breakfast room, study, wine room, vast 13 metre indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gymnasium and private health spa

The master bedroom suite is the size of a conventional two bedroom apartment and has His and Hers marble bathrooms and large walk-in dressing room

The master bedroom suite is the size of a conventional two bedroom apartment and has His and Hers marble bathrooms and large walk-in dressing room

 The swimming pool inside the house.  In 2012 a high-end developer bought the Grade II listed pad and set out on a three-year overhaul - transforming it into one of the area's poshest private homes

 The swimming pool inside the house.  In 2012 a high-end developer bought the Grade II listed pad and set out on a three-year overhaul – transforming it into one of the area’s poshest private homes

There is also a 1,315 sq/ft outside space which includes a private terraced garden, roof terrace, balconies and patios

There is also a 1,315 sq/ft outside space which includes a private terraced garden, roof terrace, balconies and patios

The uncertainty surrounding the housing market has led to an increase in super-tenants who choose to 'test drive' a mansion before committing to buying. This is the kitchen of the property

The uncertainty surrounding the housing market has led to an increase in super-tenants who choose to ‘test drive’ a mansion before committing to buying. This is the kitchen of the property

High-end estate agency Rokstone has brokered a £1 million per year - £84,000 per month - lettings deal with the ultra-wealthy American and his family. They will be able to enjoy a private sauna

High-end estate agency Rokstone has brokered a £1 million per year – £84,000 per month – lettings deal with the ultra-wealthy American and his family. They will be able to enjoy a private sauna

This is the master bathroom of the property. The mansion would cost around £36million to buy

This is the master bathroom of the property. The mansion would cost around £36million to buy

High-end estate agency Rokstone has brokered a £1 million per year – £84,000 per month – lettings deal with the ultra-wealthy American and his family.

He is relocating to London but wanted to rent initially before deciding whether to buy the £36 million home a year later.

The £1 million rental is around one-third of the cost of stamp duty for a £36 million home.

Becky Fatemi, managing director of Rokstone, said: ‘The house is perfect for a billionaire and family. It has all the luxury amenities of a six star hotel, pool complex, the West End’s largest private swimming pool, a private health spa, a games room/casino, a private cocktail bar, and a media room/private cinema.

‘The interiors are beyond, and the quality and attention to detail is that of a stately home or private palace.

‘It is one of the finest mansions in London, so the record ‘try-before-you-buy’ deal agreed is no surprise.’

She added: ‘In the last five years there has been a steady rise in ‘try-before-you-buy’ rental-deals for the super-rich.

The new tenant is relocating to London but wanted to rent initially before deciding whether to buy the £36 million home a year later. This is the main reception

The new tenant is relocating to London but wanted to rent initially before deciding whether to buy the £36 million home a year later. This is the main reception

And the new tenant will be able to enjoy a game of pool in the games room of the Lib Dems' former headquarters

And the new tenant will be able to enjoy a game of pool in the games room of the Lib Dems’ former headquarters

The terraced garden of the £36million property

The terraced garden of the £36million property

‘If you look at rental-deals for values over £60,000 per month, prior to five years ago they were virtually unheard of.

‘Yet in the last five years there have been 14 of these mega-rentals, and they are rising in frequency.

‘Five years ago there was just one of these deals in 2013, then three between 2014 and 2015, then it jumped to five in 2016 and six last year.

‘The Lonres data shows a steady rise in the super-rich delaying purchasing, and instead agreeing unique ‘billionaire-try-before-you-buy’ rental-deals with super-rich vendors. It represents a very closed circle of wealth and people.’

The building has seen some key moments in the history of British politics.

The SDP called it home in the 1980s and it is where they merged with the Liberal Party in 1988.

It also saw Paddy Ashdown’s affair revealed in 1992 and Charles Kennedy’s 2006 resignation after admitting he had a drink problem.  

The mansion's terrace boasts impressive views of the surrounding area

The mansion’s terrace boasts impressive views of the surrounding area

The property's features include a family kitchen/breakfast room, study, wine room, vast 13 metre indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gymnasium (pictured) and private health spa

The property’s features include a family kitchen/breakfast room, study, wine room, vast 13 metre indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gymnasium (pictured) and private health spa

This is the stunning entrance haul of the Westminster mansion

This is the stunning entrance haul of the Westminster mansion

Luxury: The main staircase in the former headquarters of the Lib Dems, in Westminster, London

Luxury: The main staircase in the former headquarters of the Lib Dems, in Westminster, London

The cocktail bar of the £36million property

The cocktail bar of the £36million property

 



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