Former Diplomat Claims Council Took His Home
Craig Murray says he was outbid for house in Ealing Common
Britain's former Ambassador to Uzbekistan and now political activist Craig Murray has accused Ealing Council of 'radically distorting the market, to the detriment of private renters'.
In his blog, he spoke of his dismay at being beaten to a house by an offer over and above what the landlord had been asking. He was hoping to move to the area from Shepherd's Bush with his pregnant wife.
"I don't want to buy in a still falling market, so I was looking to rent again. More space means moving further out, so we were looking at a nice house at Ealing Common.
"The house had three bedrooms and was for rent at £2,300 per month. The rental market is also falling - not plummeting like the purchase market, but floating gently downwards. So we offered £2,100 and agreement seemed very close.
"Then Ealing Council stepped in and offered the owner £2,700 per month to take it for social housing.
"Obviously I admit to some personal frustration, but it is plain in this case (and I don't know how many houses Ealing Council are taking) that the government intervention is radically distorting the market, to the detriment of private renters."
Ealing Council cast doubt on Mr Murray's version of events saying that they had no record of a property of this kind being rented in the area recently under its private sector leasing scheme. They also said that the government's Local Housing Allowance scheme for people claiming housing benefit would not pay this much for a property in this area.
The Council hit the headlines last October after it emerged they had agreed to house an Afghani family there at a cost of £12,458 a month which, according to one local estate agent, was more than three times what a private tenant could expect to pay in the current financial climate.
January 16, 2009