London council demands £360,000 from homeowner after mistakenly selling him £700,000 flat for half price

‘They’ve clearly made a massive mistake and it’s of no fault of my own’

Adam Forrest@adamtomforrest
Friday 15 February 2019 20:55
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London council demands £360,000 from flat owner after wrongly selling him £700,000 two-bed flat for half price

Council bosses have demanded a London homeowner pay them £360,000 after they mistakenly sold him a £700,000 flat at half price.

Antony Zomparelli, 54, bought his two-bed Georgian home from Islington Borough Council under the Right to Buy scheme for £340,000 in 2014.

Two years later the council wrote to Mr Zomparelli to explain he had been undercharged because valuers thought the property only had one bedroom rather than two. They told him he would have to pay the huge shortfall.

“I would never have bought the property if I knew it was going to cost £700,000,” said the security guard. “It would never have crossed my mind. How can they expect me to afford to pay?

“It has ruined my life. I can’t function as a normal person or think straight. It has caused me depression and I’ve had to go to the doctors.

“It has put a massive strain on my relationship with friends and family. I just couldn’t believe it. I can’t understand how they can do this, it seems impossible.

He added: “They’ve clearly made a massive mistake and it’s of no fault of my own.”

Mr Zomparelli is now preparing for legal battle in court over the £360,000 demanded by Islington Borough Council.

He originally rented the flat in Chadwell Street from the council in 2001 and bought it from the local authority under the Right to Buy in 2013.

Inside Mr Zomparelli’s Islington flat (Paul Davey / SWNS)

The Londoner also got an £102,700 discount because of the length of time he had lived there.

The council admitted it originally valued the home as a one-bed in a “desktop” valuation – a way of valuing a property or business using existing information.

The bedroom in question is a “box room” and Antony claims it was mentioned on his lease, drawn up by the council. The homeowner also claims that an independent surveyor conducted a site survey of the flat before the sale took place.

Islington council is claiming Mr Zomparelli has been “unjustly enriched” by the apparent administrative blunder.

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In a letter in March 2016, the local authority explained that where a public body “acts outside their jurisdiction, their decision is void”.

Mr Zomparelli said: “It’s madness really. They have doubled the price of a property based on a box room.”

Having failed to agree terms out of court, the council and Mr Zomparelli are due to begin legal proceedings at Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court but are still waiting for confirmation on a date.

Additional reporting by SWNS

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