Tag Archives: Ayesha Chowdhury

Hey Porsche

25 Aug

Ayesha Porsche Tweet

My heart goes out Beckton’s lead community councillor, Ayesha Chowdhury. Her beloved white Porsche was stolen from her driveway last night.

The Twitter announcement attracted two ‘likes’ before being deleted. Such cruelty. Who celebrates a Labour councillor in one of London’s poorest boroughs being deprived of their high-powered luxury German sports car? 

And this is not the first piece of ill-fortune to have befallen her. In 2011 she had to move out of her housing association property when the national media focused its attention on her buy-to-let portfolio in Newham, then valued at over a million pounds. 

Happily for her, the soaraway London property market has since inflated her wealth to over £4 million, with an estimated monthly rental value of close to £19,000.

So if the Porsche doesn’t come back she can probably afford a new one.

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Landlord news

12 Aug

Chowdhury & Noor

Two bits of good news for Newham’s landlord councillors.

Beckon lead councillor Ayesha Chowdhury has added yet another property to her extensive buy-to-let portfolio. The acquisition of 58 Alma Street, London E15 1QA means she now owns 19 homes in the borough.

And the planning case against Plaistow South councillor Ahmed Noor has been closed. He complied with the terms of the enforcement notice served on him at the end of April.

It remains to be seen if further action will be taken against him for operating a private rented property without a licence.

Who wants to be a millionaire?

17 Apr

Ayesha Chowdhury 

Beckon lead councillor Ayesha Chowdhury owns a property portfolio worth in excess of £4 million

On Monday Newham council officers and the police forcibly took back possession of a flat in Stratford that had been occupied by its former tenant and the Focus E15 housing campaign. Jasmin Stone, the most prominent of the campaigners was arrested and later bailed.

It is the latest in a long line of incidents that highlight the chronic shortage of social housing in the borough and the council’s complete lack of interest in those who need it most. When anyone dares to challenge the mayor’s priorities – “developers, developers, developers,” to borrow a phrase – he has no hesitation in sending in the heavies.

The ‘developers first’ policy means that the gleaming glass and steel towers going up in Canning Town, Royal Docks and Stratford contain few, if any, affordable units. Properties are openly marketed to overseas investors with the tagline ‘no social housing’.

With hundreds of council homes being deliberately left empty and new builds aimed squarely at the investment market, the thousands of families on the social housing waiting list have few options. Demand for private rented accommodation has rocketed and rents have soared – along with the housing benefit bill – transferring wealth upwards into the ever-expanding pockets of the rich.

Which is good news for the large number of Newham councillors who are private landlords.

Take Beckton’s Ayesha Chowdhury, for example. She has amassed a portfolio of Newham properties that – based on estimates from property website Zoopla.co.uk – is now worth more than £4 million. Zoopla also provides an estimate of her potential monthly rental income. If all Cllr Chowdhury’s properties are let out at these rates she’ll be pulling in close to £19,000 a month.

  Purchase Price Current Value Increase Monthly rental
82 Downings, E6 £105,000 £238,000 £133,000 £1,100
95 Lonsdale Avenue, E6 £55,000 £165,000 £110,000 £790
6 Truesdale Road, E6 £122,000 £260,000 £138,000 £1,200
100 Park Avenue, E6 £72,000 £185,000 £113,000 £890
199 Tollgate Road, E6 £65,000 £172,000 £107,000 £828
10 Harrier Way, E6 £249,000 £370,000 £121,000 £1,700
27 Trader Road, E6 £198,500 £295,000 £96,500 £1,365
5 Hogarth Close, E16 £185,000 £296,000 £111,000 £1,588
47 Plymouth Road, E16 £140,000 £219,000 £79,000 £868
205 Tollgate Road, E6 £57,500 £152,000 £94,500 £732
18 Eric Close E7 £189,000 £264,000 £75,000 £1,021
96a Plashet Grove E7 £160,000 £188,000 £28,000 £903
5 Chelmsford Close, E6 £225,000 £334,000 £109,000 £1,546
203 Tollgate Road, E6 £160,000 £197,000 £37,000 £950
5a Hogarth Close, E6* £75,000 £195,000 £120,000 £1,000
39 Albatross Close, E6 £191,600 £287,000 £95,400 £1,380
20 Viscount Drive, E6** £205,000 £210,000 £5,000 £1,011
TOTALS: £2,454,600 £4,027,000 £1,572,400 £18,872

* New build – estimated construction cost

** My estimate – actual sale price not yet available

This might be portrayed by some as a story of hard work and a reward for enterprise. But until 2011 Cllr Chowdhury lived in social housing, paying a subsidised social rent while building her private fortune. She only moved into one of her own properties when the story appeared in the national press.

Despite this she was reselected as a Labour candidate for last year’s council election and rewarded by Sir Robin with an extra £6,679 a year as mayoral advisor and lead community councillor.

As the old saying has it, money goes to money.

Council houses not councillors’ houses

7 Oct

Campaigners leaving the Carpenters Estate

Campaigners leave the Carpenters Estate with their heads held high (pic via @hackofalltrades)

Under increasing pressure from a flood of bad press and a Standards Committee investigation that won’t go away, Sir Robin has re-tooled his half-hearted apology to the Focus E15 mums into a column for the Guardian

After a bit of grandstanding about his ‘victory’ in winning back possession of the four perfectly habitable flats he’d left empty for years, the mayor turns his attention to the causes of the housing crisis:

The lack of housing supply, the Conservative government’s barbaric benefit bashing and the private rented sector’s spiralling rents and declining standards are a triple whammy.

Of course, he doesn’t mention his own personal contributions: NewShare, his partnership with Countrywide PLC that will flog off council homes in a ‘shared equity’ scheme; Red Doors Ventures, a council-owned development company that will build 3,500 home for private rent – the majority of them at full market rates; the repeated failure of planners to require developers to deliver social housing; the consistent commuting of section 106 obligations into cash payments that vanish into the general budget instead of being spent on housing; the intentional running down of the Carpenters Estate, leaving hundreds of serviceable homes sitting empty. This list goes on and on.

The mayor also glosses over the contribution of many of his Labour colleagues on council who are active in the private rented sector as landlords. They are getting fat from those spiralling market rents and ever-ballooning London property values.

Ayesha Chowdhury, community lead councillor for Beckton, has a portfolio of 18 properties in Newham, 17 of which are rented out. Ahmed Noor (Plaistow S) lists 6 properties in the register of interests; Unmesh Desai, Cabinet Member for Crime and Anti Social Behaviour, owns 5 properties; Mukesh Patel (Green St E) also has 5, as does Anthony McAlmont, chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee; Rohima Rahman, Forest Gate’s lead councillor, scrapes by with a mere 3 – two she owns and one leased from the council. There are many others who have a couple of properties listed.

As social housing is shut down or sold off and the private sector booms these rentier capitalists are quids in.

Poor Sir Robin: with just one home to his name, must feel a bit left out.

Albert Rose by any other name…

5 Mar

I’ve written before about the slapdash attitude of the mayor and his councillors towards record-keeping and accountability. In particular about the register of interests.

This is a significant public document: it’s how we can tell if our elected representatives are looking after our best interests or theirs. If it’s not accurate or kept up-to-date we can’t know.

So it’s troubling to discover another example of an inaccurate declaration.

Councillor Ayesha Chowdhury has represented Beckton ward since 2002 and is currently the ‘lead community councillor’ for the area. Councillor Chowdhury owns (or co-owns) a large number of residential properties in the borough, from which she derives income from rent. In June 2006 she added to her declaration of interests a property at ’39 Albert Rose Close, E6.’

In January 2008 the spelling was changed to ’39 Albert Roase Close, E6’. And it has remained on the Register ever since.

But there is no Albert Rose (or Roase) Close in E6. Or in Newham. Or London for that matter.

In fact, there is no street of that name anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Presumably Ayesha Chowdhury knows how many houses and flats she owns. One of them must correspond to the Albert Rose Close entry in the register of interests, but it’s actual location is hidden. The net effect is that she has an undeclared property interest.

So if the councillor sits on a planning committee, or a licensing committee, or in full council and considers a proposal that affects her interest in this property we won’t know about it. We won’t know if she’s voting for her constituents or herself.

Ayesha Chowdhury is plainly a talented business person; she’s built up and now manages a substantial property portfolio and rental business. That requires considerable organisational skills. So it’s a mystery as to why she hasn’t – in 8 long years – made sure the list on the register of interests is correct.

As a member of the council’s Standards Advisory Committee she should know better.

UPDATE:

Following the election in May Councillor Chowdhury has updated her register of interests. The property in question is now listed as ’39 Albertross Close’.

There is no ‘Albertross Close’ in Newham, but there is an Albatross Close. Number 39 is a leasehold flat.