Property The restoration game: Crossways in leafy Hanwell, west London, has failed to sell at auction and may continue to lie derelict

Plus Six Nations property breakdown, empty homes, homelessness, and rents in UK cities

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Rosalind Russell mixes property and politics

House policy: taking sides on gazumping and the law

Labour's plans to curb gazumping are laudable, but unworkable. That's the view taken by many estate agents. Under Labour's proposals for a costs guarantee system, either party going back on the deal would have to reimburse the other's costs. However, there are so many legitimate reasons for backing out before contracts are signed, that the system could end up creating as many victims as it saves.

Country homes... Farmhouses

WILTSHIRE

Best of three weekend retreats

Keeper's Cottage is buried in a deep, wooded valley in the Cotswolds, at the end of a long and unmade track. It was built as a gamekeeper's cottage to Lypiatt Park, near Eastcombe, Gloucestershire. The three-bedroom stone cottage stands in half-an-acre of grounds. A stream runs through the garden where there are apple, plum, walnut and damson trees. In spring, there are masses of daffodils and snowdrops. The house has been recently extended to include a conservatory. There are other properties within sight, but at some distance away. pounds 180,000 through Hamptons (01285 654535).

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Dream homes ...

Property: Best of three with a room with a view

Cobweb Cottage is a stone-built home situated on Stourton Hill in Warwickshire. Standing on the northern edge of the Cotswolds, it has views for miles across the valley. The property includes two outside studios as well as the three-bedroomed semi-detached cottage, and has gardens enclosed by dry-stone walls. It is for sale through Knight Frank (01865 790077) for pounds 180,000.

Queen to rent out top London property

Estate agents Knight Frank are expecting huge interest in one of London's most prestigious addresses, which is to be rented out for the first time.

Moving in the movie-makers

Standing at the top of a 20ft ladder at 2am holding pillows over a burglar alarm was not what Rosy Brenan anticipated when she let a film company use her home.

Money & Homes: More than bricks and mortar

Do you care who buys your home? Penny Jackson reports

For what it's worth

A personality clash between buyers and sellers is a cause of almost 10 per cent of the deals that break down, says Knight Frank. Vendors are upset by buyers who dither: buyers resent people who sell a home knowing it to have problems. They suggest that owners get a pre-survey done, to give early warning of any pitfalls.

Househunter: Golant-by-Fowey, Cornwall

Anyone longing to escape to the south-west but unsure of how to make a living could turn their thoughts to wine. Hybadore in southern Cornwall, a small vineyard with a main house and outbuildings, is for sale as a going concern. It produces the St Sampson wines which have won various awards. The vineyard, which is in the estuary village of Golant- by-Fowey, is centred around a main house converted from a Victorian dairy. One wing of the house is at present let as a holiday cottage. Hybadore has about five acres under vine and produces 3,000 bottles a year as well as 3,000 bottles of cider from local apples. Golant is about three miles from the harbour town of Fowey. The guide price is pounds 350,000 to pounds 400,000 (Knight Frank in Exeter: 01392 423111).

Househunter: Limehouse, London

One of the first apartments of the Dockland warehouse pioneers to come back on the market - Studio 26 at The Limehouse Cut - was designed by its architect owner. The 900 sq ft space has been divided by a curved wall which separates the bedroom and shower room from the kitchen and living space. The apartment, which has a balcony, parking space and a communal roof terrace, has a service charge of pounds 977 a year and is being sold by Knight Frank (0171-515 6565) for pounds 125,000.

Falling at the final fence

PROPERTY It's the house of the buyer's dreams and the seller is happy with the price. So why do so many deals fail at the last minute? Rosalind Russell reports

Major scuppers Portillo's Arch sale

JOHN RENTOUL
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