Monday, 15 August 2011


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The couple use benefits to pay the rent on the home in West Hampstead, north London

Monday August 15,2011

By James Dowling

A FAMILY of asylum seekers on “every kind of benefit available” have been granted a move to a £2million London mansion that rents out at £8,000 a month just to be nearer their friends, it emerged yesterday.

Jobless Somali Saeed Khaliif, 49, and wife Sayida use benefits to pay the rent on the six-bedroom home in West Hampstead, north London.

It was claimed the family moved from Coventry to be closer to friends and relatives in London. While it is not known exactly how many children the Khaliifs have, up to eight youngsters have been seen at the house, including two in wheelchairs.

The new “substantial home” was on the market for £2million. It has six bedrooms, three bathrooms and three receptions.

It was recently advertised locally at a rent of £1,500 per week. But their former landlord, Raj Sohal, said: “If the rent on their new property is £8,000 a month, I’m sure they are getting a lot more. They were on every kind of benefit available.”

He said the large family told him they wanted to leave his Coventry home to be closer to relatives in the capital.

They were on every kind of benefit available.

Former landlord, Raj Sohal

The Government recently capped housing benefit at £400 per week, but it is thought the Khaliifs moved before the limit.

The estate agent blurb said: “Located along a quiet tree-lined street just off the West End Lane, close to West Hampstead for all the three main train stations, local shops and the plethora of restaurants and bars.”

It adds: “The property comprises a light and spacious reception room, modern kitchen, six good-sized bedrooms (four with en suite shower room, two with dressing rooms), shower room and 90ft garden. This is a truly unique home.”

When Mr Khaliif was approached last week outside his home he reportedly said: “This is my house. We’ve got every right to live here.”

Neither he nor his wife have worked since arriving in the UK three years ago.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman was unable to comment on the Khaliifs’ individual case. The DWP fund the benefit, but it is administered by local councils. The spokeswoman said: “It is unfair on taxpayers that some claimants are in large homes most working families can’t afford.”

Camden council press office did not answer phone calls yesterday. Council member Chris Knight, said it had refused to release information about the family or the house. It is held under data protection rules.

He said it was “daft” that the North London borough was housing people from other areas when locals could not find a suitable home.

“The council’s job is to look after the people of Camden first,” he said.

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