£150 cash incentive offered to Westminster landlords to house MP

16:08 12 November 2012

The housing arm of Westminster Council has defended offering £150 in cash as an incentive for social landlords to house an MP.

An email was sent to landlords with the cash offer alongside the promise that the unnamed MP would be a “sought-after tenant” who was looking for a flat for less than £335 per week.

The offer was sent out by CityWest Homes Residential, a private lettings firm wholly owned by CityWest Homes, which is responsible for the borough’s council housing stock.

Leader of Westminster’s Labour opposition Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg said: “CityWest Homes should be concentrating on finding homes in Westminster for the most vulnerable and not acting as an estate agent for Members of Parliament.

“It just shows the warped priorities of Westminster Conservatives, giving priority to MPs, who they call ‘sought-after tenants’, while sending families in housing need 50 miles away to places like Maidstone and Bletchley.”

But Petros Christen, director of finance for CityWest Homes, said the appeal was “unconnected with the social housing part of the business”, adding: “While CityWest Homes Residential is a private management company, it is worth pointing out that the money it makes contributes to keeping overheads low at CityWest itself.

“In this case, a cash incentive to find a specific property for a particular client was better value for money than placing an advert.”

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