July 24 2014 Latest news:
Ben Bloom , Reporter
Thursday, March 15, 2012
A family who have lived in the same St John’s Wood flat for three generations are being forced out by the council after 60 years.
Seven members of the Machiavello family have lived in their three-bedroom property in Aberdeen Place since 1952.
But after the death of 89-year-old Isabel Machiavello in August, the two remaining family members living at the address were told the flat was underoccupied and they would have to move out.
Michael Machiavello, 54, who still lives in the flat with his brother Andrew, 59, says he nearly began crying when he found out they would have to leave.
“It’s very sad,” he said. “I have got all my memories of my mother and father here.
“I have been here all my life. I don’t know what it’s going to be like when we have to go.”
Michael and his three siblings grew up in the flat with their parents Angel and Isabel. Their grandfather also briefly joined the family home in the mid-1950s.
But Angel’s death in 2000 left just three family members in the property, and when Isabel died last summer, Westminster Council decided that two people taking up a three-bedroom flat meant it was underoccupied.
“When my mother passed away the council was doing checks to find out who was living there, so I let them know that she had died,” said Mr Machiavello. “I gave a letter to the council and thought it would be OK, but three weeks later I got the bombshell that we were not allowed to stay here anymore. I nearly started crying.
“I’ve lived here my whole life. We have kept all the payments up and always looked after the place.
“We have painted it and decorated it and never had any problems with the neighbours.”
Mr Machiavello, who went to secondary school at St George’s in Maida Vale, and his brother have been told they must leave by May.
The council’s housing boss Cllr Jonathan Glanz said: “Westminster currently has over 1,000 families and vulnerable residents waiting to be allocated to a larger property.
“We must make use of all the limited space available in the city and ensure that we prioritise housing for those urgently in need.
“We have done everything that we can and more for these tenants and we will be providing alternative housing options to suit their individual needs.”