Couple who bought an entire village in UK spark fury by raising rents by 60 per cent
By Ben Chapman
Published: 25/03/2023- 14:27
Updated: 25/03/2023- 14:48
A millionaire couple are forcing an entire village out of their homes by ramping up rents by extreme amounts.
Landlords Lisa Walsh, 30, and her husband Chris, 35, enjoy travelling all over the world while ramping up rents in the village of Aberllefenni, north Wales, by up to 60 per cent.
The couple bought the entire historic Welsh village for £1 million and are forcing tenants out of their homes they have lived in for decades.
Mother-of-two Sara Lewis, 55, has lived in the village for 22 years and told the Mail she was in “tears” at the prospect of being left “homeless” as she faces a 26 per cent rent hike.
Residents have started to protest in the idyllic Welsh village
70-year-old disabled pensioner Brian Kügler said he has been left with just £3-a-month to live on after his rent surged by almost 60 per cent, from £380 to £595 a month.
He said: “My head is all over the place. I can't afford the rent and don't have the money to cover it.
“If I had to pay £595 a month, I would be left with just £3 a month for food, running my car and bills.
“I am really bl**** angry at the council and the landlord.
“How can the landlord put the rent up by so much? How can that be right?
“I love living here. It is my home. I have spent a lot of money redecorating the house and don't want to move.”
The pensioner has lived in the cottage with his dog, Jake, for 14 years.
He added: “All this has had an impact on my health. I am not very well.
“I didn't have a Christmas last year because of all this.
“Why can't the council help out with the discretionary payment?
“I just don't know what I am going to do.”
Fellow tenant Sara Lewis has organised a daily sit-down protests against the charges imposed on the village that boats incredible scenery.
The mum-of-two has criticised the Gwynedd Council over their inaction on the matter.
She said: “My Universal Credit contains £300 for my rent and the council current gives me £49 from its discretionary fund to pay the shortfall.
“I have applied to Gwynedd Council for the £250 shortfall and received a phone call saying that I won't be receiving it and will have to find the money myself.
“I don't have any savings and cannot work because I have severe emphysema and need oxygen at all times.
“The council are being heartless and have caused be so much stress that it is making me ill.
“When I received the phone call, I was in tears. They are making me homeless and do not care.
“How ill do you have to be to qualify for the discretionary payment?”
The village was bought by Walsh Investment Properties after being put up for sale in 2016.
Aberllefenni community councillor John Pughe Roberts told the BBC: “I believe that the intention is to raise the rent so high that the tenants have to move out.
“Some people who live in the houses are very vulnerable and are going to find it difficult to find the money to pay the difference.
“Everyone in the village is concerned, some more than others because of the varying amount the rent goes up.”
Chris Walsh told MailOnline that he wanted to reassure the tenants, saying : “We have given them all peace of mind that we are going work with them to make them stay in their homes.
“We don't want anyone to move out. We have no plans to turn them into holiday lets or sell to them.
“They have been living in properties where rents are unsustainable and we have raised the rent to a fair amount, which is still massively below market value.
“Someone could have bought all those properties and evicted them. We do not plan to do that.
“We have lowered the rents from what was initially proposed by the agent, who used to manage the properties, and now because we in-house manage them, the rents have been reduced down rents off-setting the management fees we were charged.”
A spokesman for Gwynedd council said: “We are committed to supporting any individual facing difficulties as a result of the housing crisis. All applications for Discretionary Housing Funding presented to us are assessed by our benefits team as a matter of urgency.
“Whilst we cannot comment in detail on individual cases, we can confirm that this particular application is currently being assessed.”