‘Get me back to Belgravia’: Mother of six demands she is rehoused in exclusive suburb after a cap on housing benefit forced her out of 2MILLION home
Stephanie Demouh was entitled to housing benefit because she was registered as a single mother She lived in a four bedroom house in Belgravia, near Sloane Square, for about three yearsGovernment housing cap resulted in Westminster Council moving family
Demouh says she needs to live in the exclusive area so her children can get to school
Westminster City Council says it will now investigate the case
10:59 GMT, 17 March 2013
17:55 GMT, 17 March 2013
A mother-of-six who was forced out of a 2million home in one of London's most expensive areas after the government introduced a cap on housing benefit is demanding the council rehouse her in the same neighbourhood so her children can attend an elite school.
Stephanie Demouh, originally from Togo, in west Africa, was entitled to the handouts because she claimed she was a single mother.
She was allocated a four-bedroom house in Belgravia, near Sloane Square, where she has been living for about three years with her children.
It is not known how much exactly Ms Demouh's rent was each month and whether it was all funded from the housing benefit she received which totalled 1,200 a week.
However, after the government housing benefit was capped at 400-a-week she was forced to move into temporary accommodation 10 miles away in Edgware by Westminster City Council on December 29.
Lavish living: Belgravia is one of the capital's most exclusive neighbourhoods where properties cost more than 6million
Stephanie Demouh lived in a four bedroom house in Belgravia, near Sloane Square (pictured)
The mother, who is studying accountancy at Westminster University, wrote to councillors to complain and believes she
should be rehoused by the council in the exclusive neighbourhood, where
the average four-bedroom property is worth about 6million, so her four
children can attend a top Church of England school.
She hopes her fifth child will start in September.
Ms Demouh says her children are now always tired because of the distance they have to travel on the bus to school.
She told The Sunday Times: 'My children are suffering because they are overtired all the time.
'I can't change my place of study. If you have to attend a nine o'clock lecture, you can't be at both places together.'
According to records single mum Demouh married in 2001 but she was the only adult living in the house with her children.
Companies House records shows that her husband owns an online clothes store called Ambro & Phany. She is listed as the company's secretary.
Relocated: Stephanie Demouh was forced to move out of a 2million house near Sloane Square
Despite claiming to the council that
she is a single mother, it is understood she owns 50 per cent of the
shares of her husband's company.
When asked if her husband contributes to the family's living costs, she said 'a lot'.
Ms Demouh has denied outright that she has been involved in any fraudulent activity.
A council spokesman confirmed the
local authority will investigate the case and will look at Ms Demouh's
entire history with the council.
Jonathan Glanz, Westminster Council’s cabinet member for housing said:
'This investigation is ongoing, so we cannot comment on the specific
'Westminster City Council are committed to ensuring that homes and taxpayers’ money are used to help only those in genuine need and will not tolerate people “playing the system” to their own benefit.
'We will unhesitatingly take court action against those who make false claims to ensure that money only goes to those who genuinely need it.'
A crackdown on housing benefit has seen a massive fall in the number of families claiming over 30,000 a year, the Government say.
There has been a 75 per cent drop in the largest claims in three years, new figures show, after ministers pledged to cut the ballooning welfare budget.
Payments to tenants in the private rented sector were capped at 250 a week for a one-bedroom flat up to 400 for four bedrooms.