Crown Estate evictions: how much is HRH really worth?

Zardoz Greek zardos777 at
Wed Nov 4 12:32:11 GMT 2015

Royal rip off as residents told to buy Crown Estate houses and then kicked out
23:19, 21 JUN 2015 UPDATED 23:42, 21 JUN 2015 BY NICK SOMMERLAD
Two hundred Crown Estate properties are being sold to raise millions of pounds for the Treasury and help bankroll the royal family

Anne-Marie Jasper who is being evicted from a Crown Estate property
Dozens of people have been kicked out of Royal homes after being told they would have to buy them at inflated prices, the Mirror can reveal.

Families later discovered their homes had been flogged off for tens of thousands of pounds less than the price they were asked to stump up - or face eviction.

Two hundred Crown Estate properties are being sold from £100,000 to more than £300,000 each to raise millions of pounds for the Treasury and help bankroll the royal family.

The vast Crown Estate is worth more than £9 billion and made record profits last year. Most goes to the Treasury but 15% goes to the Royal Family through the Sovereign Grant which rose more than 5% to £40 million this year.

Carolyn Perryman FLASHFOTO
Carolyn Perryman who was evicted from Crown Estate property
Details of the how the Royal Family spent the cash will be released this week and the Mirror can reveal how their earnings have been boosted by the decision last year to sell off one in four of the estate’s rural homes.

Crown Estate tenants David and Christine Allen were evicted from their house in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, after 18 years when they were unable to find £115,000 that the Crown Estate wanted from them to buy it.

Christine, 54, broke down in tears when the Mirror revealed it was eventually sold for £100,000.

Letter from George Osborne
Letter from George Osborne
She said: “It has been very traumatic. We lived there for 18 years and were very happy. I miss my garden and I miss my grandchildren coming round to visit all the time. We’ve had to move further away from them.”

Carolyn Perryman, 38, left her home in Dunster, Somerset, after she received an eviction notice.

She said: “We were told that if we wanted to buy it it would cost around £300,000. That’s what they said the estate agents had valued it at.

“But it was not in good condition. The windows rattled, there was a huge crack in the hallway and the roof leaked.

“I complained about the condition of the property for more than a year but nothing was ever done about it.”

The house later sold for £275,000, according to Land Registry documents.

One disabled tenant Anne-Marie Jasper, in Thurluxton, Somerset, claims she was asked to pay nearly £50,000 more for her cottage than a local estate agent believes it is worth.

She said: “I have been here nearly 15 years and have spent a lot of money dealing with problems with the property like damp.

“But I was happy to do so because I thought I was here for the long term. It was a complete wreck when I moved in 2001.

How does the Queen make her money

“Now I have been told I need to pay £320,000 for the property. But a local estate agent has valued it at just £275,000.

“It’s totally out of my reach now. I had an accident five years ago. I’m unable to work and and registered disabled.”

Emma Brookes was forced out of her house in Dunster after four years and spending thousands of pounds on the property that she thought she was in long-term.

Emma said: “We were given first refusal at £230,000. We had been there for four years.

“We had spent quite a lot of money doing to garden up. It was in an atrocious state. I had inherited some money from my grandmother and we spent practically all of it on the garden.

“We were very happy there and had no intention of moving. We were gutted by there was nothing we could do about it. We couldn’t afford to buy it.”

The property later sold for £5,000 less than Emma was asked to pay.

But there are other more extreme cases.

Campaign group Forced Out found one property that was turned down by a tenant for £275,000 before being sold on the open market for £215,000.

The Mirror has been able to find both the asking price and the eventual selling price of 12 Crown Estate properties and in all but two cases they sold for less than expected.

One property in Somerset went on sale for £310,000 before it was sold for £270,000, a second went on the market for £275,000 but sold for £33,000 less while a third fetched £115,000, £10,000 less than the initial asking price.

Ken Jones, Director of The Crown Estate’s Rural and Coastal Portfolio, said: “Where we have completed sales to tenants, we are confident that this has reflected a fair market price.

“Any valuation, can only ever be an estimate until the property has been marketed and sold.

“Tenants looking to purchase have been advised to seek their own valuations and indeed, anyone seeking a mortgage would have been required by their mortgage provider to have an independent valuation done.

“Where tenants made improvements which increased a property’s value, we have compensated them for their expense.”

Although the the Queen does not own her 775-room home Buckingham Palace, she is worth an estimated £340 million and her private property portfolio includes Balmoral Castle and the Sandringham Estate.

A Crown Estate spokesman added: “The Treasury and Buckingham Palace have no role in management decisions as The Crown Estate is an independent commercial business established by an Act of Parliament.”

But, in a letter obtained by the Mirror, Chancellor George Osborne admitted he had the power to block the sell-off of 200 homes - but washed his hands as it was a “commercial decision” by the estate to “enhance its performance”.

In a cruel twist, the Tories clinched victory in last month’s election promising to expand the “right to buy” - where council tenants get the option of buying their homes with a discount of up to 70% - to housing associations.
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