Kennington flat goes for £62k in bungle
Thursday, 28 January 2010
A COUPLE have bought a two-bedroom flat for just over £60,000 because of a town hall blunder, it has emerged.
The unnamed husband and wife have been told they can purchase the Labour-run Lambeth property for just £62,000 because of a series of major errors.
The couple had applied to buy the home they rented in Isabella House, off Kennington Park Road, Kennington, in September, 2000, under Right to Buy (RTB) laws for £100,000, minus an RTB discount of £38,000.
But Lambeth refused to permit the sale because it did not own the freehold to the building.
It purchased the freehold in April 2001 but did not inform the couple of the change.
In 2005, the couple contacted the council again to ask why another tenant had been allowed to press ahead with an RTB application, and submitted a new bid to own the property.
But the town hall now demanded £167,500, minus an RTB discount of £16,000.
The couple argued that they should have been given the opportunity to buy the property in 2001 for £62,000, but were not told about the change to the freehold status despite the council being aware of their interest to become owner-occupiers.
Lambeth did not respond to their complaint so they went to the Local Government Ombudsman.
The ombudsman ruled there had been no maladministration by the council, but the case was reopened again in 2007 and 2008 after the husband and wife supplied new evidence.
Now a council report has revealed that the ombudsman has ruled in the couple’s favour.
The report to the borough’s corporate committee states the flat will now be sold to the couple for £62,000.
A Lambeth spokesman said: “The decision has been taken to remedy this complaint by proceeding with this sale on the valuation in 2001.
“This is £100,000 minus a discount of £38,000.”