Underhand tactics uncovered by Inside Out
Residents of a Wolverhampton mobile home park are being cheated out of thousands of pounds by the site's owner, according to evidence unearthed by undercover investigations by BBC One West Midlands's Inside Out programme (Friday 23 March at 7.30pm).
Pensioner Dorothy Pritchard lived at the Oxley Court mobile home site until her health persuaded her to move into sheltered accommodation. As her life savings were tied up in the prefabricated property, she decided to sell up to release the equity.
The home was valued by an estate agent at £90,000 and a buyer was interested. Unfortunately, Dorothy had not reckoned on the landlord of the site – Christopher Nedic – who has to approve every sale. He refused on the grounds that Dorothy's home has structural problems – a claim she denies.
Dorothy Pritchard says: "I got a structural engineer, and he went over the premises and he found what was wrong with it were just cosmetic things. He said it should last another 25 years."
Posing as interested buyers, the Inside Out team were shown around the mobile home site at Oxley Court in Wolverhampton, by Mr Nedic, to find out what tactics were being used to undermine potential sales of the homes on the site.
When the undercover reporter declared an interest in Dorothy's home, Mr Nedic replied: "Don't bother. You're wasting your time. The concrete pad that it sits on – it's cracked right down the middle. You can buy it, but it's got to be moved off the pad, and it might fall to pieces."
Mr Nedic also made it clear that he had no intention of allowing Dorothy, or indeed any of the owners of older homes on the site, to sell to anyone other than him.
By blocking sales Mr Nedic forces owners like Dorothy to sell to him instead, at rock–bottom prices. He can then replace the original home with a brand new unit in its place and sell it for a large profit.
Inside Out has heard from a number of former residents who have lost thousands of pounds due to sales of their property being blocked. One lady, who wished to remain anonymous, put her home on the market for £45,000. Eventually she felt she had no choice but to sell to Mr Nedic – for just £700.
Solicitor Alexa Collis says Mr Nedic is breaking the law. She states: "The only grounds a site owner would have for refusing his consent to the sale of a park home would be the purchaser's credit worthiness, say for example they had a string of county court judgements, or were known not to meet their financial obligations."
For Dorothy, there seems to be no happy ending in sight: "I'll have to just let the home go, and just have what pittance he wants to give me for it. And I don't think it's fair, because I've worked all my life, and that's my money, it isn't his."
Inside Out, Friday 23 March, 7.30pm, BBC One West Midlands
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