AN ASTONISHING attack on one of the biggest and most respected housing providers in London has been made by the Mayor of Hackney.
Jules Pipe said: “…Peabody is also increasing rents of former Crown Estate properties they purchased by around 7% a year, making what was once key worker housing unaffordable for many existing tenants.”
To ensure that his words were available unmediated to the public, he had the statement posted on the council website.
The local Labour leader was reacting to a Daily Mirror investigation which claimed that Conservative MP for Newbury Richard Benyon, right, was raising the rents of hundreds of Hackney tenants of a Shoreditch estate he had bought.
Pipe’s statement had some soothing words for the renters but then made a sudden switch of topic to criticise Peabody, without any details, not saying even whether the alleged unfairness of the social enterprise’s rents involved properties in Hackney.
Asked for details, the Mayor told Loving Dalston he had nothing to add.
Peabody declined to comment, apart from saying that it works closely with Hackney. The organisation owns more than 27,000 homes in London and houses about 80,000 people.
Over the last 18 months Hackney tenants of ex-Crown Estate flats owned by Peabody have been objecting to planned 7% rent rises.
Peabody chief executive Stephen Howlett is nevertheless likely to press the Mayor for clarification of his website statement.
Charlotte George, of Hackney Green Party, said: “It wouldn’t surprise me if Peabody were over-charging for its rental properties. Who isn’t? The rental market is out of control in London and controls need to be introduced urgently, plus tenants should be given security of tenure.
“Hackney is becoming more and more unaffordable and drastic action should be taken by Hackney council, as well as the GLA and national governments.”
Hamish Scott 030714
* Main picture: a new Peabody Hackney project, Pembury Circus, Amhurst Road, Hackney E8 1FA
* Backstory: Labour team pose as punters
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.