Disabled ex-soldier loses his tenancy
Princess Margaret’s millionaire godson, Lord William Buckhurst, has told a disabled soldier with PTSD he needs to leave his property.
When Andrew Johns (pictured above) moved into the cottage owned by Buckhurst, he was told he had a place to live for life.
But the high-profile landlord has now given the dad of four just eight weeks to find a new place.
Johns, 57, told The Mirror: “I’ve spent every single penny I’ve ever had on this place because it was supposed to be my forever home. Knowing I will have to leave with nowhere to go makes me feel physically sick.
“I had a beautiful little bungalow in Essex but the noise of being in a town started to impact my PTSD.
“Moving to a derelict cottage was a huge sacrifice but the peace and quiet was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I wake up in the morning and all I can hear is birdsong – but it’s now being ripped away from me.”
Johns joined the Third Battalion Anglian Regiment, but his life changed in 1986 when a terrorist bomb exploded leaving him in chronic pain and difficulty walking.
Since the attack he has been taking 28 tablets a day, including morphine and tramadol to ease his agony.
Looking for somewhere to live to suit his limited mobility Johns came across a derelict cottage on the Buckhurst Estate, Sussex in 2014.
It took him two years to negotiate with its landlord, Buckhurst, to let him move in. But once the deal was done Johns had a new place where he paid £250 a month for the first three years and did the home up at his own cost.
In 2017 Buckhurst, 43, increased the rent to £525 and again in 2022 bumping the rent to £700 per month moving over to a monthly rolling contract.
Despite the changing contracts Johns thought the landlord would keep his promise that he had somewhere to live for the rest of his life.
“He said the rent will never go up to full market value and the only way I’ll leave is in a box. I took his word because he is a Lord – I assumed if you can trust anyone you can trust a Lord,” Johns said.
He had paid out of his own savings to transform the cottage into an accessible living place complete with a walk-in shower equipped with hand rails, he also replaced the ceiling, refitted the kitchen and dug a sewer even though the property still has no heating or hot water.
The cottage, thanks to the renovation Johns carried out, is now expected to fetch around £350,000 on the housing market.
Since the no-fault eviction law was introduced last month landlords have greater power over their tenants.
“Using the no-fault eviction law on good tenants is disgusting. I understand bad tenants need to be removed – but to evict someone for no reason feels so wrong,” Johns said.
His concern is that he may have to move into a council flat, living off a disability war pension it could be the only level of property he can afford; and then there’s the added worry living in a busy neighbourhood triggering off his PTSD.
“I cannot cope with lots of external noise, so something as simple as hearing the neighbour’s TV would cause a lot of anxiety. This was supposed to be my forever home and I just want what I was promised,” Johns said.
“I served my country and now one of Britain’s richest men is evicting me.”
[ Lord Buckhurst was educated at Eton, and graduated from Newcastle University with a BA (Hons) in Classical Studies. ]