Kenyan couple transform Liverpool home they bought for £1

£1 house in Liverpool
Rachael and Sam Kamau with the Mayor of Liverpool outside their £1 house. Photo: Channel 4

A Kenyan couple have taken advantage of an innovative housing scheme in the North West of England and completely renovated the property they purchased for a single pound a year ago.

Liverpool City Council launched their Homes for a Pound Scheme to tackle the problem of empty, dilapidated houses in rundown areas such as Anfield and the Webster Triangle in the city.

The scheme is accessible to people who live and work in Liverpool and agree to be bound by contract to live at the property for five years, a stipulation designed to stop people looking to make a quick cash return on their investment.

Despite the enviably low purchase price, the cost to renovate the boarded-up Victorian homes which have no plumbing, electricity, fixtures or fittings still requires a considerable investment.

Kenyan couple renovate house
A Kenyan couple bought this corner terrace house in Liverpool for £1 and have spent the last year and thousands of pounds renovating it. Photo: Google Maps

Out of Africa

Since moving from Kenya to Liverpool 16 years ago, Rachael and Sam Kamau had been renting in the city before deciding to give the £1 homes project a route onto the property ladder.

When the property was handed over to them by the city council, it had “a waterfall coming down the staircase” and a “bathroom with no floor”, according to Rachael. In fact, the house was too dangerous for them to even look inside.

£1 house in Liverpool
The refurbished living room at Rachael and Sam Kamau’s £1 house in Liverpool. Photo: Channel 4

Rachael and Sam, who live in the house with their daughters 12-year-old Alexis and 19-year-old Anne, spent the next year and tens of thousands of pounds carefully restoring the property.

Rachael explained: “When we heard about the £1 home scheme we thought why not? We had two growing girls who have always had to share a bedroom and the house was becoming far too cramped.

“When we saw this house, it was a bit of a shock. There was a waterfall coming down the staircase because the roof had no lining, the bathroom had no floor so you could see through to the kitchen, plaster was peeling off the walls.”

Kenyan couple renovate house
The house in Webster Road, Waverley was so dilapidated, the couple couldn’t even look around it after buying the property for a pound. Photo: Google Maps

But now, the home is transformed and all the hard work has certainly been worthwhile with Rachael proudly stating that the feeling of “waking up in your own home is indescribable.”

Moving in felt such a huge achievement, we felt like we’d won the lottery.

So far, a total of one hundred families have been allocated a property through the scheme, with a further 350 families being considered for one.

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