United Kingdom

Couple living in rented flat on Queen's Crown Estate are being EVICTED

A young couple claim they are being evicted from their flat on the Queen's Crown Estate for charging their electric car without permission.

Christopher Brown, 33, and Daisy Bow Du Toit, 31, have been given just weeks to move out of their 'fairytale' home in Royal Mews, Hampton Court.  

The order to vacate their home of five years came after Mr Brown plugged his Volkswagen eGolf into a socket in a communal boiler room when his usual charging point at work was out of action during lockdown.

The couple insisted it was a 'time of real need' and they only used the socket to charge the car for emergencies, grocery shopping, and to help find work for Ms Bow Du Toit after she lost her job as a carer. 

But despite only running up what they understand to be only a £32 bill, offering to pay a hefty fine, and making a profuse apology, they say the Royal Household want them out of the £1,175-a-month flat by Christmas. 

The couple received the eviction letter in October, which did not specify the reason for the eviction, but they suspect it is because they charged the car.

Royal Household tenancies are not covered by legislation which protects tenants from being kicked out with less than six months notice. 

Christopher Brown, 33, and Daisy Bow Du Toit, 31, claim they are being evicted from their flat on the Queen's Crown Estate for charging their electric car without permission

They have been given just weeks to move out of their 'fairytale' home in Royal Mews, Hampton Court (pictured)

Mr Brown, a design engineer at an automotive company, acknowledges he was not allowed to charge his car, but tried to reason with the Royal Household. 

He said: 'We immediately wrote a letter of apology to say it was a time of real need during the pandemic and lost access to the charger at work.

'I said I could pay for it and and any fine they wanted as well. I even suggested something like £800.

'I think the royal family are all for green stuff but when it comes to the nitty gritty of them actually doing stuff here they just don't really want to.' 

Ms Bow du Toit added: 'There was no warning, no questions, just an eviction letter. We have apologised, explained the situation and offered to pay.

'Other renters are protected during the pandemic and get six months but as we rent from the Royal Household we have a non-assured agreement contract so are not protected.

'We're really sad and feel powerless.'  

Before buying the car, Mr Brown asked the Royal Household about having a charger installed at the property.

The couple insisted it was a 'time of real need' and they only used the socket to charge the car for emergencies, grocery shopping, and to help find work for Ms Bow Du Toit after she lost her job as a carer

He said they initially seemed 'receptive' but later refused and stuck to their guns when he appealed the decision.

Ms Bow du Toit said: 'Before getting the electric car there was discussion about the ability to charge the car or have a charger put in but they said no.' 

The heartbroken couple have lived at the address for the last five years and described their time in the stunning period property as 'a fairytale'.

Ms Bow du Toit, now a PhD student in craft through digital learning at Kingston University, said: 'The Queen of England has evicted us from our home of the last five years.

'This is the first home that we've moved in together and we've taken such good care of it.

'We have raised two adorable and well behaved cats, Luna and Kali and know it is going to be hard to find another suitable home that accepts us and the cats.

'The saddest part is that two years ago we started landscaping and planting in a communal garden that was derelict and have literally poured hours and hours of labour in all seasons with what little money we had into making this space green and beautiful for both nature and our neighbours.'  

Following their request for more time, the Royal Household gave them an extra month so they will not have to leave until the end of December.

But their experience has made them worry about other tenants of the Royal Household who could be facing the same fate.

Mr Brown said: 'Because we rent from the Royal Household our tenancy is not protected and they can evict us for no reason.

His partner added: 'It's like a blind spot. One of the reasons it's important that we've spoken about it is because we may not be the only people who are dealing with this. Things don't change unless people speak up.'

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said in a statement the Royal Household 'engages an external agency to lease a small number of residential properties at Hampton Court Mews'

They added the Royal Household terminated tenancies 'very rarely and only in exceptional circumstances.'

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