The Prince of Wales is a rural champion from my perspective, this article makes less good reading about the crown estate and its relationship with its tenants. It tells us:

Scores of complaints have been made about rented properties on royal land and tenants have faced more than 100 evictions, a Guardian investigation has found, prompting anger over how the Queen’s £14bn property portfolio is managed.

The crown estate, which helps bankroll the Queen by giving the monarch 25% of its profits, has sought to evict 113 tenants in the past five years so they can sell their homes for profit.

It comes after it has emerged on Tuesday that the taxpayer has footed a £2.4m bill to renovate Frogmore Cottage, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s official residence, according to royal accounts. While the royals have no direct oversight role in crown estate’s dealings, Prince William and Prince Charles have both spoken before about the importance of ensuring good quality housing is available for all.

Figures obtained by the Guardian show that the crown estate has received more than 100 complaints about its residential properties in just two years, including grievances over rent hikes, leaks, delays in repairs and faulty electrical goods.

One evicted tenant accused the crown estate – which made £329m profit last year – of “greed”. The retired police officer, who said he was left thousands of pounds out of pocket after being evicted, told the Guardian: “The crown estate are custodians, they are not a bloody commercial estate agent. They are custodians and therefore they have a social duty to the public and their communities.”

An investigation using data obtained through Freedom of Information laws reveals that:

  • The crown estate has made £1.1bn selling off more than 700 residential and commercial properties since 2014, with one private firm subsequently hiking rent well above inflation.
  • More than a quarter of a million pounds has been banked by the crown estate in housing benefit from just seven hard-up tenants.
  • Four tenants have sued the crown estate for breach of contract, including one claim worth half a million pounds.

The disclosures will be uncomfortable for senior royals who have previously expressed their concern over the state of private rental properties. In March, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited dilapidated housing in Blackpool and saw rain leaking through the windows of a property and holes in the ceiling. The third-in-line to the throne later said during the visit: “There is a sadder side to Blackpool,” adding: “And we shouldn’t skirt around these issues.”

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