There are landlords ... and there are landladies ... some better known that others ?
Whilst all profits are passed to the Treasury , quess whose name is " Above the door ? "
Crown estate faces tenants' anger over rent hikes, evictions and repair delays.
Exclusive: Guardian finds Queen’s £14bn property portfolio has had more than 100 complaints over management of housing.
Ex-crown estate home has rent raised by 7% in a year.
And , when a certain landlady needed a multi million makeover on her main residence , guess who footed the bill ?
Scores of complaints have been made about rented properties on royal land and tenants have faced more than 100 evictions, a Guardian investigation has found, prompting anger over how the Queen’s £14bn property portfolio is managed.
The crown estate, which helps bankroll the Queen by giving the monarch 25% of its profits, has sought to evict 113 tenants in the past five years so they can sell their homes for profit.
It comes after it has emerged on Tuesday that the taxpayer has footed a £2.4m bill to renovate Frogmore Cottage, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s official residence, according to royal accounts. While the royals have no direct oversight role in crown estate’s dealings, Prince William and Prince Charles have both spoken before about the importance of ensuring good quality housing is available for all.
Figures obtained by the Guardian show that the crown estate has received more than 100 complaints about its residential properties in just two years, including grievances over rent hikes, leaks, delays in repairs and faulty electrical goods.
One evicted tenant accused the crown estate – which made £329m profit last year – of “greed”. The retired police officer, who said he was left thousands of pounds out of pocket after being evicted, told the Guardian: “The crown estate are custodians, they are not a bloody commercial estate agent. They are custodians and therefore they have a social duty to the public and their communities.”
An investigation using data obtained through Freedom of Information laws reveals that:
The crown estate has made £1.1bn selling off more than 700 residential and commercial properties since 2014, with one private firm subsequently hiking rent well above inflation.
More than a quarter of a million pounds has been banked by the crown estate in housing benefit from just seven hard-up tenants.
Four tenants have sued the crown estate for breach of contract, including one claim worth half a million pounds.
The disclosures will be uncomfortable for senior royals who have previously expressed their concern over the state of private rental properties. In March, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited dilapidated housing in Blackpool and saw rain leaking through the windows of a property and holes in the ceiling. The third-in-line to the throne later said during the visit: “There is a sadder side to Blackpool,” adding: “And we shouldn’t skirt around these issues.”
Prince Charles has also spoken out in the past in favour of affordable housing for low-paid workers. In 2003, he said in a speech that “the lack of affordable rural housing is one of the most important issues facing the countryside”.
But a catalogue of complaints to the crown estate since 2017 show that tenants of properties on land deriving profits for the royals have raised grievances about a host of topics.
They include complaints about leaks in properties, faulty lights, noise and homeless people sleeping in a bin store in winter months. Other complaints include: a tenant being chased for arrears, rent hikes, delays in repairs, a defective gas cooker, “large volumes of flies” at a resident’s home and there being no hot water in the taps or shower at a property.
The crown estate received 71 complaints about residential properties in 2017-18 and 38 in 2018-19. The crown estate said its records did not distinguish between whether a complaint was made by a tenant or visitor to a property.
Over the same period, the crown estate received more than 300 complaints about its property portfolio – including commercial and residential leases – but pointed out the figure included grievances about visitor attractions, such as Great Windsor Park.
The crown estate issued 113 “notices to quit” to residential tenants from 2014 to 2018, including 97 in rural properties, nine in Windsor and seven in central London.
Other figures also reveal that the crown estate gained more than a quarter of a million pounds in housing benefit from just seven tenants. People renting in Camden, Runnymede and Windsor and Maidenhead have let property on royal land using housing benefit paid directly to the crown estate.
Since 2014, £253,092 has been paid to the crown estate in housing benefit. The majority of the payments were for five tenants in Camden, north London.
The Guardian has also established that four tenants have sued the crown estate for breach of contract, including one claim worth half a million pounds concerning a breach of “repairing obligation” in central London.
Retired police officer Peter Franklyn, 65, was evicted from the three-bed home he shared with his then wife in Taunton, Somerset, in 2014.
He explained how he was forced to sell £6,000 worth of woodwork tools well below market value as there was no space for them in the smaller property the couple moved to. “To me, the crown are not a commercial property company and have a duty to preserve and utilise properties for the benefit of society,” he said.
The crown estate, which runs the monarchy’s land holdings, gives 25% of its profits to the Queen from funds two years in arrears as part of the sovereign grant – the remainder goes to the Treasury. The grant for 2018-19, which is linked to the crown estate’s profits in 2016-17, was £82.2m. It is set to rise to £85.7m in 2020-21.
The Queen has no role in managing the crown estate but its accounts state that “the sovereign is an important stakeholder as regards good constitutional management and the standards maintained by the crown estate in the undertaking of its business”. The chief executive officer and chairman of the crown estate meet the Queen yearly to report performance.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “The crown estate is an independently run organisation. All profits are returned directly to the Treasury.”
A crown estate spokeswoman said: “We manage in excess of 9,000 leases across the country and we aim to maintain all our properties to high standard. We take customer feedback seriously and are thorough in recording all complaints – including minor issues – as part of continuing efforts to improve our service.”
In response to the eviction figures, the spokeswoman added: “The majority of all notices served were in 2014 as part of a rural residential sales programme. Although we worked hard to manage that process as well as possible for all those involved, we implemented a number of policies to help our tenants in any future sales, including … the opportunity to buy the property at market value; substantially increased notice periods – typically six months; rent deposits released early to assist with securing alternative accommodation; assistance and advice on locating new properties in the local area; flexibility to accommodate the specific circumstances of the individual.”
The spokeswoman said both commercial and residential properties are let at market rates, adding: “As we cannot borrow, we regularly sell both commercial and residential properties in order to raise capital to invest.”
High time to bring this structure into the 21st. century and , like all other legislation , make it bite when needed ???
Buckingham Palace to get £369m refurbishment. Buckingham Palace is to undergo a 10-year refurbishment costing the taxpayer £369m, the Treasury has announced. The Queen will remain in residence during the work, to begin next April.