June 17, 2024

George Osborne’s childhood nanny faces £115,000 bills over right-to-buy flat

Farieda Chandoo demonstrates broken masonry in the refurbishment of  four years ago – fighting which has cost her £115,000

Farieda Chandoo demonstrates broken masonry in the refurbishment of four years ago – fighting which has cost her £115,000

Farieda Chandoo, 61, George Osborne’s childhood nanny, is a passionate believer in the right-to-buy – which the Tories want to extend to housing associations – but her experience of owning a flat in a council block has been disastrous.

Now her case, reported on LKP in February 2014 here has been reported in the Sunday Times.

Farieda Chandoo, 61, a former nurse who looked after the five-year-old George, bought her three-bedroom, split-level ex-council flat for £42,000 in 1997.

But she refused to pay for Southwark council’s major refurbishment works at the Brandon Estate in Camberwell and has been left with legal bills of more than £115,000.

“I do not want anything for free from anybody,” says Farieda, an NHS secretary. “If we had received what we were supposed to have when these works were proposed, I would have paid up.

“But we didn’t, and the works were carried out so badly that they now need doing again. I just would not pay for things that we did not get.”

As Farieda was the only leaseholder in her block of 25 in full-time employment, she alone had to pay her full share of £44,000.

She represented herself at the property tribunal and failed, and then appealed in the county court, which set aside four days to hear the case.

Even though she had two surveyors’ reports saying that the works were substandard and had not complied with the original specification, Farieda again lost adding a further £60,000, which with interest and other charges is now over £115,000.

Her mortgage company has paid the bill, but Farieda will have to rent her property out, which she thinks is worth nearly £400,000 although other properties have reached a maximum of c£240,000, and become a lodger herself.

“I have been destroyed by this,” she says. “I just have to put it all in another part of my mind or I would not be able to sleep or go to work.”

During her ordeal, which began from 2011, Farieda even contacted the Osbornes asking for help.

She fondly recalls her time working for Sir Peter and Felicity, and recalls George – then called Gideon – as “a lovely little boy”.

“They were very kind me and the mother was particularly kind letting me sit in the front of the car when we drove down to the country as I suffered from car sickness.

“I hated getting in touch with the Osborne’s as it was like putting out the begging bowl. But I never heard anything back. It was a long time ago.”

Nonetheless, Farieda remains a passionate supporter of the right to buy.

“The policy of encouraging people to own their own flat is good, but leaseholders need to be protected from Labour controlled councils which want to sabotage it by wasting all this money on completely useless major works.”

Farieda is by no means alone. Many leaseholders in Southwark have been caught up in major works schemes and the council even has a policy of buying back right-to-buy properties rather than forfeit them through the courts.”

A neighbour of Farieda’s, David Simpson, 70, also faces a £32,000 bill, which he cannot possibly pay. He has just been taken to court.

Last year Eric Pickles introduced a cap on major works bills at £15,000 for leaseholders in London, and £10,000 outside the capital.

The move followed the death in 2013 of Florence Bourne, 93, a right-to-buy leaseholder tormented by a £50,000 refurbishment bill from Newham council – for works that were subsequently ruled unnecessary.

In contrast to the rotting concrete at the 1970s Brandon Estate, where Farieda lives, the housing offices of Southwark council are unusually lavish in Tooley Street.

Sebastian O’Kelly, of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, is quoted in the Sunday Times saying:

“Leaving aside all other issues, Farieda’s case shows how appallingly lay applicants can be treated by lawyers and the courts.

“Why were four days set aside to hear this case, if much of her evidence was deemed irrelevant.

“Who can really take pride in taking £115,000 off a 61-year-old woman who should never have been exposed to a four day case on her own?”

It is a question for wider discussion whether it is right for, say, young taxpayers who have no prospect of buying a home themselves should be subsidising these purchases and then the major works as well.

Local authority and housing association tenants have the most secure tenancies that exist.


  1. Outrageous. And the Tories want to extend the right to buy to housing association properties.

    • Just listened, to Adrian Goldberg on 5 Live at 11:00 today, it was about the fraud carried out by Managing Agents on some of the 6 million leaseholders who tenant flats.

      Once again OM Property Management were mentioned, just to remind everyone that they are a Peverel Group company and have changed name to Firstport Property Services Ltd.

      Along with Cirrus Communications now Appello and Peverel Management Services ltd they cheated thousands of elderly pensioners out of Service Charges that were Price Rigged by some of the Peverel Group of Companies.

      Well done Adrian Goldberg, Sir Peter Bottomley thinks this programme has been the best in highlighting the very serious problems that exist in Leasehold.

      Here at Ashbrook Court we have NO House Manager, NO Area Manager and the Regional Manager who is to return from leave tomorrow has cancelled our meeting on the 26/05/2015 as she will not discuss the issues/matters that were outstanding before the Area Manager was signed off on long term sick leave, just having returned from leave.

      We have now been headless for 8 weeks not that any one would know as little had been done previously this year. I did meet with the Area Manager very early in March this year and he again agreed to investigate the many issues/matters unresolved.

      The Regional manager stated that all these issues/matters were no longer issues /matters to her as she will not investigate any of the past issues.

      Sebastian what more can be done?

  2. Trevor Bradley says

    Purchased for £42K and now worth £400K!! What’s the problem. Just sell it, pay off the debts/fines and move to a lovely FREEHOLD 3 bed detached in leafy Warwickshire for example at £150K. Go further north and pay even less. Stuff London!! People must have more money than sense to live in London unless it is an absolute necessity

    • Moving is certainly not that easy. I was just very fortunate to find a suitable property at a price I could afford and in a desirable area not far from where I lived previously. I suspect this poor woman is stuck and can’t sell in spite of its high value. Who would be mad enough to buy a flat in such a run down condition and knowing that the majority of the leaseholders are renters/tenants? What a terrible position to be in at her age and on her own?

  3. Michael Epstein says

    How about a Mcarthy &Stone built, Peverel/Firstport managed retirement flat in Blackpool? Yours for £29 grand!

  4. Trevor Bradley says

    ME, what sort of “troubles” would I be buying for £29K.
    Reminds me of the one in Oxford a while back that was being dumped for £11K I think

  5. Michael Epstein says

    Don’t exaggerate Trevor! The one in Oxford was dumped for £7k!

    • As a victim of the retirement sector myself I don’t think this is particularly funny. It’s a very serious matter that older people who buy into the retirement sector are conned and ripped off then have to sell at a very reduced price. And in the case of the Oxford flats the leasehold ‘owners’ were forced to almost give their homes away for a ridiculously low price. Thank heavens I was able to sell and move to get out of it all but not everyone is so fortunate. The abolition of leasehold tenure is the only answer to this problem.

  6. Trevor Bradley says

    Fleeced, I can assure you my comment was not made with the intent of the matter being funny. On the contrary no one is more serious, and angry, than me about the disgraceful things that go on.
    As you say, it’s a very serious matter that older people who buy into the retirement sector are conned and ripped off then have to sell at a very reduced price.
    What I said was factual and true. Sometimes one needs to “lighten up a little” just to keep calm.
    You can’t fight the world by being 1,000% serious 24/7

  7. Michael Epstein says

    According to Peverel/Firstport accounts you” can’t fight the world by being 873% serious 19/5″
    That statement has been audited!