'£96k from house sale not paid out' by speedyproperty.co.uk

By Jenny Johnson
BBC News

Media caption,
Philip Edwards said he was "mortified" after incurring what he says is a £96,000 loss

A man who used a "quick sale" firm to sell his home claims he received less than half of what the property was actually sold for.

Philip Edwards used Midlands-based speedyproperty.co.uk to sell his three bedroom house in Hawarden, Flintshire, after seeing an advert in a newspaper.

But he said he only received £68,000 from the £165,000 sale.

speedyproperty.co.uk has not responded to requests for a comment. West Midlands Police is investigating.

Mr Edwards, 69, contacted the firm after he saw a newspaper advert which offered a fast-cash quick-sale house selling service.

He decided to use the firm to sell the semi-detached house which had belonged to his parents.

Despite being sold for £165,000, Mr Edwards said he was only paid £68,000.

The former funeral mortician said the rest, £96,000, was paid to two other companies. BBC Wales understands the founder of speedyproperty.co.uk is a director and shareholder of these two companies.

Mr Edwards said he was not told any money from the proceeds of the sale would be made to any other companies.

He said he had no knowledge of what the companies were and it was only on completion that he became aware of the payments.

He said he was told the money would be invested for his future - but he said he had not been able to contact either of the companies since and has had no further correspondence from them.

Mr Edwards used £64,000 from the sale to pay off a debt.

He remained as a tenant in the property paying the new owner £600 a month but he fell into arrears while in hospital being treated for cancer and was evicted in 2016.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Philip Edwards used the firm to sell his Hawarden property

He now lives in sheltered accommodation with his second wife and her son.

"I'm mortified really," said Mr Edwards.

"It's as if everything that my parents worked for and what I've worked for, and at the end of the day there's nothing.

"It was explained to me as an investment, and it would ensure my wellbeing for years to come.

"I've had to graft like anyone else, to have it all disappear..."

West Midlands Police said it was looking into a number of complaints from homeowners who sold their houses through speedyproperty.co.uk - which operated through a website which is no longer accessible.

Police are currently looking into a number of similar incidents.

It is believed a number of different named companies with the same directors and shareholders received large sums of money from each of the house sales.

Image caption,
Solicitor Nigel Cole says some of his clients affected by the house selling scheme were 'very vulnerable'

The force said its Economic Crime Unit was involved in the inquiry which is looking at cases from 2013 to June 2017 and it is believed that there may be many more people who have been affected.

Nigel Cole, a solicitor with Portsmouth firm Verisona Law, is preparing to issue a claim for negligence against a firm of solicitors based in the Midlands which handled some of the speedyproperty.co.uk sales.

"My clients say they didn't know the payments were being made to these companies, they didn't authorise them and were shocked to see such vast amounts of money having disappeared on completion," said Mr Cole.

"Mr Edwards isn't a well man… he had inherited that house from his parents and it was really his only asset in life, and he's lost that asset.

"The clients are very vulnerable, they're elderly, two of them have cancer… they're not sophisticated people and I think they've been taken advantage of and had these massive sums deducted and paid to these organisations.

"They've lost their life savings in these transactions… they've had to leave the houses and go into other houses and temporary council accommodation."

speedyproperty.co.uk did not respond to numerous requests to comment.

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