No hoax: £500-a-month for bed in a cupboard under the stairs is genuine - despite speculation of PR fakery

The story of a London landlord trying to rent out a 'bedroom' in a cupboard under the stairs for £500 per month is genuine, despite speculation it was a hoax carried out for a PR firm, PRWeek has been told.

#privetdrive: The original tweet has now been retweeted and favourited by thousands
#privetdrive: The original tweet has now been retweeted and favourited by thousands

On Wednesday, Alexandra Lomax tweeted pictures of an uncomfortably small bedroom she had viewed after seeing it advertised online - using the hashtag #privetdrive in a reference to the cupboard in which the fictional character Harry Potter spent most of his pre-Hogwarts childhood.

The story was picked up in London and national media, with commentators saying it highlighted the capital's housing problems.

However, the story soon attracted doubters and suggestions it was a hoax or publicity stunt for London2Let, the website that advertised the room. One blogger pointed out that Lomax's LinkedIn profile listed her as working for Redbrick Communications, a property specialist PR firm in Nottingham. The Independent also picked up on these doubts of the story's veracity.

Following August's 'Sweaty-gate' scandal, where the PRCA was prompted to investigate an incident of case study fakery by a member firm, PRs suggested on Twitter that this could be a case of malpractice by Redbrick.

However, the CIPR's PR manager noted that neither PR body would be able to look into it as Redbrick was not a member of either organisation.

PRWeek contacted Redbrick, whose owner and joint MD Clive Purcell told PRWeek: "It is a genuine story."

He said that Lomax had left the firm in August and was now looking for work in London. "The speculation generated was I think as a result of her not responding to some journalists' enquiries," he said.

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.