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Rents stay low as Hill estates sold

THE Church Commissioners have agreed the £70-million sale of the freeholds of residential properties in the Octavia Hill Estates, they confirmed this week.

The 455 homes and 16 shops are in the Stoke Newington, Maida Vale, and Waterloo districts of London.

The Commissioners’ chief surveyor, Paul Clark, said on Monday: “We informed tenants of our proposals in February, and have now written to them again to let them know that a sale has been agreed. The sale does not affect the conditions of their tenancies.”

A Church House spokesman said on Monday that the terms on which tenants held their properties would remain, but that any policy on rental increases would rest with the new company. The properties have been taken over by the Genesis Housing Group, and will be managed by Pathmeads Housing Association, a registered social landlord.

The managing director of Pathmeads, Tom McGregor, said on Monday that his company had no intention of reviewing rent levels. It had become involved with tenants only in the past three months, and was committed to social housing. “That was one of the intentions of the Church Commissioners: to hand over to a housing association.”

Mr Clark said that the Commissioners had explained to the tenants why the sale was taking place. “Unlike the new owners, we are not a focused housing provider. We have a wider investment portfolio, and have a duty to deliver the best possible returns on our investments to help fund the work of the Church across the country.”
The properties account for about one third of the Octavia Hill Estates, which are mainly in central and south London.



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