Mystery of £2.5 million ‘ghost house’ in Kentish Town
Questions over why prime property has been empty for 15 months
07 September, 2018
IT became known as “the Ghost House”, a Victorian home in one of Kentish Town’s most desirable streets which, although worth upwards of £2.5million, has become a local landmark for lying empty for well over a year.
Now the story behind the property in Lawford Road can be told.
The house is owned by social housing providers One Housing and had long-term tenants in it until last year – a family who had called it home for more than a decade until June 2017. But despite being given three months’ notice – plenty of time to find new tenants from Camden Council’s waiting list – the five-bedroom house was not re-let.
One neighbour, who did want to be named, said: “We were looking forward to welcoming in new neighbours, but after a few weeks, nothing had happened. We were all somewhat surprised by this, as we know how much it is worth – and that it could be a wonderful home for a family in need.”
They added: “We suspected they wanted to leave it empty then quietly sell it off when the housing market picks up, but this would be a terrible decision – our neighbourhood is mixed and diverse because it has affordable, rented housing in good homes next ones worth a fortune.” One Housing, based in Chalk Farm Road, acted quickly to evict squatters who moved into the basement earlier this year.
A spokesman told the New Journal: “We accept that 15 months is a long time but it was due to our consideration for the best use of the property. A five-bedroom unit in Camden is unusual, so extra thought was given to different options.” He added that work on the house would take “around two weeks”.
Camden Council housing chief, Labour councillor Meric Apak, said he had asked questions about the property before the summer – it is in his Kentish Town ward – and feared the housing association had planned to “land bank” the house.
He added: “I hope One will bring this property back into use as soon as possible so that a family can call it home again. However, if property speculation is at work here, and rumours of this home being banked for a future sale to invest this outside of Camden turn out to be true, this would be a betrayal of residents on our waiting list.”