Residents have been refused a rent reduction from their letting agent which told them to pay up ‘using the money they would have spent on lunches and holidays’.
More than 100 residents in Shacklewell, east London, requested a 20 per cent reduction in rent from Tower Quay properties amid the coronavirus pandemic.
They also signed a letter that sought to ensure that nobody would be evicted during the outbreak.
But their request was denied by letting agent Tower Quay properties, which is owned by Monaco-based tycoon John Christodoulou.
The agent told them it was ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unrealistic’ to expect a rental holiday.
John Christodoulou with Prince William at the 2018 Centrepoint Awards
Tower Quay is the agent for 170 flats in Somerford Grove, Shacklewell (pictured)
Tower Quay is the agent for 170 flats in Somerford Grove, Shacklewell.
A two-bed flat in the warehouse conversion block costs around £1,700 per month to rent.
Despite Government pleas for landlords to show understanding during the unprecedented circumstances, the tenants claim their letting agent was ‘not willing to budge.’
Tower Quay properties told residents they would be expected to pay on time as they save money on holidays, entertainment, travel, clothes and lunches during the pandemic.
The agent added: ‘Subsequently, when all of this is taken into account, in most cases we believe the impact on disposable income will be minimal, and there is therefore no justification for any reduction in rent, especially considering that whilst tenants are isolating the wear and tear in properties is increasing, which will be at the cost of the landlord.’
It is understood Mr Christodoulou was not consulted by Tower Quay.
One tenant told MailOnline: ‘Tower Quays are not providing any rental relief. We have had flatmates get laid off and are here on visas so unable to collect any benefits from the UK government yet we are told there is no rent ease.
‘This is unacceptable at these times especially since there are plans laid out by the government to have a hold on their mortgages which would allow landlords to provide a freeze on rent or reduce rent.
‘At a time when the world needs kindness and to come together, Tower Quay has been a company of greed and the picture of how not to behave in a global pandemic.’
Greek-Cypriot property developer John Christodoulou came to London as a child refugee in 1974 with his family, where he trained as a diamond mounter.
After launching a jewellery business he moved into real estate, launching the Yianis Group.
This split-level studio unit in the block owned by Tower Quay properties costs £1,495 per month to rent
The property in Shacklewell, which was listed on Zoopla in February, would cost £345 a week to rent
John Christodoulou with actress Kym Marsh and Anthony Joshua at the Star Ball in 2017 in Manchester
His company now boasts a vast portfolio with more than 10 million square feet of real estate, including a number of four and five star hotels such as the Four Seasons in Canary Wharf, London.
Mr Christodoulou describes himself as a ‘philanthropist’ and founded the Yianis Christodoulou Foundation, which supports children and their families in the UK and abroad.
The 54-year-old now lives in Monaco with his family.
Tower Quay properties has been contacted for comment.
A survey of 537 landlords carried out by eviction firm Landlord Action found that since the lockdown took place in March some 74 per cent of landlords have been contacted by tenants saying they will struggle to pay their rent.
But the Government was recently accused of rowing back on its promise to protect renters from eviction during the coronavirus crisis.
The Ministry of Housing originally promised a ‘complete ban on evictions’ for those unable to work due to the pandemic for up to three months.
However, while tenants can’t be physically removed from their property, landlords will still be able to serve them notice to kick them out once the three month period ends.
Landlords who are up to date with their payments can currently apply for a three-month payment holiday on their mortgage.
Section 82 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 introduced on March 25 intends to help protect commercial tenants by banning the forfeiture of commercial leases until June 30 – or longer if the Government deems necessary – for non-payment of rent.
But it does not stop landlords taking action such as rent arrears recovery, making a debt claim, issuing a statutory demand, or starting winding-up proceedings.
UKActive therefore wants the Government to amend the Act so landlords cannot purse legal action, and introduce financial support for them for a rent holiday.
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