Millionaire elite own large number of the 40% ex council dwellings in wandsworth that are now owned by private landlords GMB investigation shows.
While ordinary London families are unable to find council house to rent rich farmers are scooping them up by the tractor load as Thatcher’s "right to buy" turns into rich harvest for greedy farmers and elite says GMB.
Of 15,874 dwellings in council blocks in Wandsworth where tenants acquired the leasehold under "right to buy" legislation some 6,180 dwellings are now owned by private landlords who rent them to private tenants. That is nearly 40% of the total sold by the council.
There are 977 private landlords who own more than one of these 6,180 dwellings. One private landlord owns 93, another owns 32, another 15 landlords each own 10 or more and a further 83 landlords each own between 5 and 9 of these dwellings.
These figures are from Wandsworth Council. GMB submitted an FOI request to the council listing known owners of leaseholds and asking how many properties they own. This was refused by the council under Section 21(1) on grounds that "Information reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means".
GMB then used the Land Registry to investigate who are the landlords in 69 blocks of flats in Wandsworth. The search covered 1,438 leasehold properties where the council is the freehold owner. Of the 1,438 leasehold properties searched, 508 (35%) have a registered owner different from the property address.
The report, which is attached to this release as a pdf, contains the results of what GMB found on the public record as part of the investigation using the Land Registry and other sources. Below and in notes to editors is the information GMB has established on some of the main landlords.
The Gows: Looking at a single block in Putney (Sherfield Gardens), it was found that out of the 120 properties, 90 are leasehold, with 62 having an owner with a different address (or known to live elsewhere). Of these 62 properties, Charles and Karin Gow own 40 with Charles alone owning 35 of these. He owns KCG Property (www.kcgproperty.com), a Roehampton Lettings and Management company, and both are directors of PCB (Surrey) LLP. Wandsworth says only one owner has more than 32 properties so Charles Gow may own the 93 properties mentioned.
The Smiths: The Birkett Smiths own properties across London through the Guernsey incorporated companies Chelsea Estates Ltd and Birkett Estates Ltd. They also have a number of properties registered in their own names: Alexander Birkett Smith, his wife Helena, brother Nicholas and his wife Alexandra. From our searches, Chelsea Estates Ltd own 30. With a related company, Birkett Estates and individuals of these companies, the total owned in Wandsworth is at least 66. Alexander is an ex venture capitalist having worked for Rothschild’s before setting up his residential property business, with his brother, and running two farms near Scarborough which are in receipt of European Farm subsidy payments. The brothers are directors of Daleside Estates Ltd, Smith Street Ltd, Overdale Farms Ltd and Smith Street Estates Ltd. Nicholas is also a director of the Portman Hunt, a Dorset based Hunt, and Daniel Lambert Ltd along with his wife Alexandra.
Palmyra Properties: The Palmyra Properties, CPIF group of companies own 46 leasehold properties where Wandsworth Borough own the freehold. Palmyra Properties is Jersey based, CPIF Property, incorporated in Guernsey, Affordable Property Investments incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and Skyprops is incorporated in Mauritius.
Of the other companies searched, Drumree Asset Holdings (1 property) and Entreprises Generalles (Investissements) (1 property) are both incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
Cherwell Investments Ltd (cherwellinvestments.com): Cherwell Investments own 11 leasehold properties where Wandsworth Borough own the freehold. Directors are Alexander Thompson and Thomas Holroyd, both directors of several other property investment companies. The website states that they own ‘a large number of properties in a small area of London (SW4, SW11, SW12 and SW18) We have focused on this for the past 20 years……We are constantly adding to and upgrading our portfolio in the Battersea, Balham, Clapham and Wandsworth area.
The Lockes: Marcus and Susan Locke own at least 11 leasehold properties where Wandsworth Borough own the freehold. Marcus is an LLP member of High Holborn LLP, director of 373 New Kings Road Freehold Ltd (letting of property) and juststjohn.com ltd.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “This investigation lays bare the harsh reality of the exploitation of our social housing stock. It shows private businesses making vast profits from the public purse while the people these homes were built for sit on waiting lists that never move. To add insult to injury many are using offshore tax havens to avoid paying tax on these profits.
These homes were built and designed to be rented by ordinary London families. The investigation exposes Mrs Thatcher’s flagship policy of "right to buy" for individuals as nothing more than a charter for the exploitation of our social housing for private profit. Her plan to create a home owning democracy has turned into a "buy to let" bonanza.
You could not make it up that the family of one of Mrs Thatcher’s aides who served as housing minister during the high tide of the right to buy ends up owning a vast swathe of London’s ex council housing. While tens of thousands of ordinary London families are unable to find council house to rent rich farmers and the elite are scooping them up by the tractor load. The "right to buy" has turned into a rich harvest for greedy farmers and others."
Contact Paul Maloney GMB Regional Secretary 07901 343 839 or Paul Grafton 07714 239 093
Wandsworth Housing Report
Notes to Editors
1 Check appendix A to the attached report for information on 69 blocks of flats in Wandsworth on the estates in SW11 2, SW11 3, SW11 4, SW11 5, SW11 6, SW12 8, SW12 9 and a single block in SW15 4.
This information has been downloaded from publically accessible records from the Land Registry, the official land registration service for England and Wales. The Land Registry provides details on the registered owners of property and land. It is compulsory to register all land and property which changes ownership or has a mortgage for the first time. Since 1990 the Land Registry has been open to public inspection governed by Section 66 of the Land Registration Act 2002 which provides for register information to be publically available. Further details are available from http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/.
2 The summary table below shows all individuals with 2 or more properties and all companies searched:
|Wandsworth leaseholds||Total Leaseholds ALL AREAS**|
|CHELSEA ESTATES LIMITED||30||51|
|BIRKETT ESTATES LIMITED||9||19|
|Alexander James Birkett Smith*||10|
|Alexandra Clara Smith*||2|
|Helena Catherine Smith*||6|
|Nicholas Joseph Birkett Smith*||9|
|PALMYRA PROPERTIES LIMITED||20||23|
|CPIF PROPERTY LIMITED||13||20|
|THE FERRYVIEW PARTNERSHIP LLP||2||3|
|AFFORDABLE PROPERTY INVESTMENTS LIMITED||6|
|Richard James Verdin and Christopher Neil Kemsley*||2|
|Charles Edward Gow*||35|
|CHERWELL INVESTMENTS LIMITED||11||21|
|Marcus Julian Locke*||11|
|Anna & Khrysztof Sanczuk*||10|
|ALLIANCE AND MUTUAL INVESTMENT COMPANY (2002) LIMITED||3||63|
|LAKEVIEW ESTATES (UK) LIMITED||3||19|
|LAKEVIEW PROPERTIES (UK) LIMITED||1||9|
|SIMON PROPERTY LIMITED||4||12|
|Timothy Michael Charles Kirk and Michelle Galea Kirk*||4|
|Nigel William Pittam And Jill Pittam*||4|
|SALIENT INVESTMENTS LIMITED||3||15|
|P J PROPERTIES & CONSULTANCY LIMITED||3||5|
|V K PROPERTIES LIMITED||3||5|
|WONTLE OTTMAW PROPERTIES LIMITED||3||4|
|Valeriy Bogoslovskyy And Nicolai Adelman*||3|
|David Chapman And Jennifer Anne Chapman*||3|
|Thomas William Wright*||3|
|CHEROKEE PROJECTS LIMITED||2||3|
|GREEN PASTURES (SOUTH) LIMITED||2||2|
|PEGASUS NETWORKS LIMITED||2||2|
|WESTMINSTER MEAT MARKET LIMITED||2||2|
|Mouaffaq Alassad and Margaret Alassad*||2|
|Gergana Stoimenova Bozukova*||2|
|Bruce Howard Burkitt*||2|
|Giles Edward Chapman and Anna-Karin Chapman*||2|
|John Richard Corner*||2|
|Gordon Patrick D'Silva*||2|
|Akil Nurali Esmail*||2|
|Ade Ibrahim Fabunmi-Stone and Pauline Jennifer Fabunmi-Stone*||2|
|Zahid Pervez Hanif*||2|
|Eloise Mary-Rose Howard*||2|
|Garvin Alfred Manamperi Karunaratne and Dahanayake Liyanage Bimba Karunaratne*||2|
|Jonathan Paul Marshall*||2|
|Carole Antwi Nuamah*||2|
|Patricia Margaret Lilian Pledger*||2|
|Yvonne Lorraine Tulloch*||2|
|Andrew Daniel Wallis*||2|
|Parameswaran Ramesh and Jegatheeswary Ramesh*||2|
|AC BATTERSEA LIMITED||1||1|
|DRUMREE ASSET HOLDINGS INC||1||1|
|EAGLETON PROPERTIES LIMITED||1||5|
|ENTREPRISES GENERALES (INVESTISSEMENTS) LIMITED||1||4|
|HERECROFT ESTATES LIMITED||1||4|
|J.V. PROPERTIES (UK) LIMITED||1||5|
|M. A. GARMENTS (LONDON) LTD||1|
|MIGHTY Y LTD||1|
|OAKLEY 31 LIMITED||1|
|PROPERTY NETWORK (KA) LIMITED||1||21|
|T. BRO INVESTMENT LIMITED||1||30|
|THAXTED BUILDERS LIMITED||1||8|
* The individuals ownerships of the leaseholds only includes those that we have located and searched. The company ownerships are total figures as the Land Registry allows searching on companies
** Total Leaseholds all areas - outside of Wandsworth these are all leasehold owned properties but the respective councils are not necessarily the freehold owner
GMB learned that under Margaret Thatcher’s Right-to-Buy scheme, Wandsworth Borough Council have sold 24,000 properties since 1978. For 15,874 of the 24,000 properties it was the lease to these dwellings that was sold as they were in blocks of flats where the council have retained the freehold, and the rest of the dwellings continued to be occupied by council tenants.