Tenant fights rent increase of 850%

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The Independent Online
A TENANT facing an 850 per cent rise in rent on her Crown Estate home on the edge of Regents Park in London will challenge the increase in the High Court at the end of this month.

Janet Morris is appealing against the rent sanctioned by the Rent Assessment Committee, an official arbitrator in disputes between tenants, landlords and local rent officers over fair rents.

Until now, Mrs Morris has been paying pounds 3,300 a year - just under pounds 60 a week - but this has been raised to pounds 28,500 a year, nearly pounds 550 a week.

She lives in a Nash terrace on the edge of Regents Park, where the Crown has been reviewing its rents in recent years.

This process has already forced several elderly residents of Crown Estate properties in the area to leave their homes because they cannot afford the new rents, according to Phebe Robinow, honorary secretary of the Park Villages Residents' Association.

Mrs Robinow said the problem with rising rents was one of a number facing Crown Estate tenants. Another was that the Government's planned leasehold enfranchisement legislation will not apply to owners of certain Crown Estate homes, including those in Regents Park.

Mrs Morris is the first tenant to have fought her rent case as far as the High Court.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Estate said that while the rent appeared high, it was necessary to put this into context, against market rents for similar properties in the area.

'We are talking about very nice detached houses in Regents Park,' she said.

'People are charging pounds 2,000 a week for some properties in the area.'