Jim Monahan and Pamela Yianni in Newton Street

To the estate agent it is “superbly located”, a short walk from the Royal Opera House in the heart of Covent Garden and has a private balcony and 70ft terrace “with superb views”.

But for neighbours, two flats put up for sale by their landlords, the Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA), should not be intended to provide wealthy Verdi lovers a new base – and should instead be used for those who desperately need it. affordable housing.

The New review can reveal one-bedroom apartments in Victorian buildings on Newton Street are on the market for nearly £600,000. One is already proposed and visits are in progress for the second.

The block of Newton Street

Now tenants and civic groups are hoping to force the ISHA to back down, saying the sales go against the spirit housing associations are meant to serve.

In response, ISHA says the money raised is needed to meet huge bills caused in part by fixing security issues in stocks that were revealed by the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Jim Monahan, an architect with the Covent Garden Community Association, said: “I despair. They say they are here to do one thing and then do the complete opposite. They should put the sale on hold and have an open discussion with the tenants.

“They should behave like a real social landlord, but they just see it as a cash cow.”

Built in the 1870s, the blocks were originally led by social reformer Octavia Hill. In the 1980s, the houses were in poor condition.

Mr Monahan was then tasked with adapting them to the intended use and worked to increase the space, moving the stairs to forge new rooms, making the 33 apartments a better mix of sizes and giving each household their own bathroom of bath.

Previously, the toilets were shared on a common landing.

Mr Monahan added: “Low-cost, good-quality housing is a prerequisite for ensuring a safe residential community, and a secure stock of low-rent housing is also essential in order to be able to provide accommodation for those who need to work. unsocial hours. and serves central London. Good quality social housing guarantees a sustainable economy.

Long-time tenant Pamela Yianni, who has lived on Newton Street for more than three decades, said tenants feared this was a trend that would see the supply of affordable housing eat away.

She added: “No one here is happy about this. We feel disappointed that no one even told us about the plans before they were well advanced. Affordable housing must be protected or it strips the heart of a town.

This week, tenants battled it out in other ISHA-owned areas, writing an open letter to other tenants, warning them of what was happening.

Chief Executive of ISHA, Ruth Davison, said: “ISHA is passionate about social housing and maintaining mixed and vibrant communities.

“That’s why we continued to build social housing when others didn’t and to charge the cheapest rents. The tragic Grenfell fire highlighted the shocking standards of many building contractors as well as the failure of governments to properly regulate the industry, and we have buildings we need to repair.

She added: ‘Where we can we have sought contractors, where we can’t we have to pay for the work ourselves and the cost is several million pounds. The board therefore made the painful decision last year to sell a handful of vacant properties each year to fund this work because safety is our number one priority.

“We have listened to the concerns of councilors and residents and have added a restriction to the lease so that homes cannot be used for short-term rentals like Airbnb.”