A Spiegel investigation found that in 2017 Sushil and Anjana Patel demanded £28,000 for a property they bought at auction for £4,000 before a court ruled it should be £5,100. It comes after the Tory government was accused of delaying tenancy reform
Priti Patel’s landlord parents have overpriced three condominiums by tens of thousands of pounds and forced tenants who want to buy them to take them to court, we can reveal.
A Mirror investigation has revealed that Sushil and Anjana Patel have asked a tenant to pay more than £28,000 for the property the Patels bought at auction for around £4,000. A judge later ruled they had made a mistake and it should have been £5,100 – just £31 more than the tenants had offered the Patels 12 months earlier.
We found out it wasn’t an isolated incident. The Patels demanded £7,500 from a second tenant in 2020 before a court ruled it should be £5,751. Mr Patel wanted £17,000 for another property he owned in 1993, but after a three-year legal battle a judge said the price should only be £2,750.
The government has been accused of failing to deliver on promises to reform the current system, which campaigners say tenants are at the “mercy” of investors trying to profit from ownership of their homes.
Ministers have promised to make it “easier and cheaper” for tenants to buy their property – but there was no specific bill to do so in the Queen’s speech.
Katie Kendrick, founder of the National Leasehold Campaign, told the Mirror: “In this situation the tenant had no choice but to go to court to challenge the premium.
“The court challenge process is daunting, stressful and costly for renters as their legal fees increase.”
Our investigation has found the Patels have been investing in property for at least 30 years, including ownership of five terraced houses in Kidderminster, which fetched £20,250 at auction in 2015.
The leaseholders of one of the houses, Michael Nock and his wife, completed the paperwork to purchase ownership of their property in December 2017.
A young couple who had been renting the property for five years wanted to buy it, but the remaining lease term was too short to take out a mortgage.
The Patels asked £28,435 for the property – which would have given them a 600% return on an investment that had cost them barely £4,000 – but the Nocks refused as it was valued at £5,069.
They were forced to take the case to a tribunal, where the judge “preferred” their appraiser’s evidence and said the Patels had “misunderstood” the rules on property valuation.
The Nocks were told to pay £5,100 for the property, just £31 more than they had offered and just 18% of what the Patels were asking.
Mr Nock told Der Spiegel it was an expensive court, costing him more in legal and expert fees than he saved.
But he had no regrets fighting his case: “If they had just said give us £8,000 instead of £5,000 I would have done it. But they simply refused. They basically just said if you want to buy this, take us to a tribunal.
Mr Nock’s neighbors tried to buy their property from the Patels in 2020 but that too ended up in court.
The tribunal said: “The parties could not agree on the price of the ownership interest.”
The Patels “made no formal submission” but “referred to a private agreement to sell the property” of two neighboring houses for £7,500 and £8,000.
But the tribunal judge agreed with the tenants, who had received a professional appraisal that the property was worth £5,751, ruling that was the “price to be paid”.
A third couple asked Mr Patel if they could buy ownership of this three bedroom house in Abbey Wood, London in 1993.
They offered £2,610 but Mr Patel, who owned the property, asked for £17,000. Two months later he lowered the price to £15,000 but tenants still refused.
It went to a tribunal but Mr Patel faxed the tribunal to say he was out of the country. A new court hearing was held but Mr Patel did not reply to “any of the five letters the court had sent to Mr Patel’s address”.
After an appraisal and inspection of the property, the judge ruled the price should be £2,750 – just £140 more than the tenants had offered, but only 16% of what Mr Patel originally asked.
The whole process took more than three years.
Katie Kendrick of the National Leasehold Campaign added: “Owners have used the tenancy system to exploit tenants for far too long.”
She said it was “very disappointing for millions of tenants” that the government’s plans to “make it easier, cheaper and faster for tenants to buy their condos” were not prioritized in the Queen’s speech this week.
When asked for comment at his north London home, Mr Patel declined to discuss the tenancy dispute and told our reporter to “go away”.
The Patels later declined to comment through their attorney, Carter Ruck.
The family are originally from Gujarat, India before moving to Uganda and then the UK where they opened a chain of newsagents in Hertfordshire.
Sushil Patel ran as a UKIP candidate in 2013.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/priti-patels-landlord-parents-overpriced-26959507 Priti Patel's landlord parents overpriced three condos and pressured tenants through court cases