Meet the Ukip housing spokesman raking in £800,000 in Housing BenefitMeet the Ukip housing spokesman raking in £800,000 in Housing Benefit
Ukip has made a name for itself by demanding new migrants stop receiving various benefits, yet their housing and environment spokesman is making a fortune off existing migrants on benefits, thanks to the way benefits are distributed.
Millionaire Mr Charalambous is a major landlord and personally owns HUNDREDS of properties in London. And he’s making a lot of money from a system he doesn’t believe in.
The party is keen to restrict the welfare state. Yet some of the main beneficiaries of the welfare spending in the London council of Haringey have been people like Mr Charalambous.
Raking in a fortune
Mr Charalambous received £826,395 from Haringey Council in housing benefit last year, according to Freedom of Information requests sent by the union GMB.
The year prior to that, he’d made £745,351 from Haringey in housing benefit.
In both cases the true amount that he’s been paid will likely be higher, because some housing benefit is paid to the tenants themselves and then gets paid to landlords, according to the DWP.
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Around one in six of his tenants are migrants
The Ukip housing spokesman owns “several hundred” properties, and foreign nationals account for around 14 per cent of his tenants, according to the Ukip press office.
Asked whether he believes he is hypocritical for taking on migrants as tenants, he said, through the Ukip press office: “Until there is sufficient social housing in our country it is the moral duty of landlords to take on housing benefit tenants.
“Most private landlords prefer to rent to non-housing benefit tenants where they are likely to receive higher rents. Indeed, the number of private landlords willing to accept housing benefit tenants is declining.”
Ukip will remove housing benefit from migrants but not from his tenants
Mr Charalambous believes that it’s fair to introduce legislation to stop giving migrants benefits, but not retrospectively.
He said: “It would be unfair and against the interests of natural justice to deprive people of benefits who may have originally come here without resources on the understanding that they would receive government support to survive.”
Though new immigrants wouldn’t get any benefits for five years, people already there – like Mr Charalambous’s current tenants – will keep theirs.
“Immigrants already in the UK would definitely not lose their current entitlement to benefits,” he told us.
He also champions being an “ethical landlord”
We put it to Mr Charalambous that multi-property buy-to-let landlords like him are locking young people out of the housing ladder by reducing the number of houses they’re able to buy.
Mr Charalambous replied that he considers himself an “ethical landlord”. He told us he does not charge his tenants deposits, admin fees or seek previous landlord or credit references.
As a result of this, he says, his average tenant retention is about 3 years and 4 months, which is more than double the national average of 18 months.
His stance on Right to Buy for council house tenants appears to be out of line with the party’s.
Mr Charalambous told us he’s critical of the ‘Right to Buy’ proposal, believing that it will be “detrimental to our desperately deficient quantity of social housing”.
Yet the Ukip Manifesto suggests that the Right to Buy scheme will be continued, and restricted to British nationals.