Homes and buildings

Houses

Flats

I live in a block of flats.
My brother lives on the ground floor, and I have a flat on the third floor. Unfortunately there is no lift, so I have to climb three flights of stairs to reach my flat. But I do have a balcony with a wonderful view of the park opposite the flats.

Note: Steps are usually outside a building or inside a public building; they are stone or wooden. Stairs (pi) connect floors inside a building and are often covered with a carpet.

Buying and renting

Some people buy a flat or house (= they own it / it belongs to them). When they do this in Britain, people usually borrow money from a bank or an organisation called a Building Society. This money, which is called a mortgage, is often paid back over 25 years.

Other people rent a house or flat (= they pay money every week or month to the person who owns the house). When they do this, the money they pay is called the rent, and the person who owns the house or flat is the landlord.

Describing a flat or house

The rooms on the ground floor are quite dark (* light) because they don’t get (= receive) very much sun. They are also quite noisy (* quiet) because they are near the roads and the traffic. The other negative thing is that the rooms are draughty (= cold air comes into the room through the windows and under the doors because they don’t fit very well). This means it is expensive to heat the rooms (= to keep the rooms warm). Fortunately I have a very good central heating system. In other ways, it is also very nice: it’s in good condition ( in a good state/doesn’t need to be repaired; * in bad condition), and the rooms are huge/enormous (= very, very big; = tiny / very, very small)