A recently widowed pensioner who became the victim of a housing scam has warned others against falling to the same trick.
Kate Millington, 76, lost £55,000 on a housing deal after the developer failed to tell her about a restriction which stated her new house could only be used as a holiday home.
Builder Andrew Dunn, 53, of Longridge near Preston, was fined £2,000 by Blackpool magistrates last week after he pleaded guilty to two counts of making a false statement under the Property Misdescriptions Act about the cottages, which were sited at Poultons Farm, on Longmoor Lane, Nateby.
Mrs Millington, who previously lived on Leathercote, in Garstang, and has since moved to Nantwich, in Cheshire, bought her cottage for £180,000 shortly after the death of her husband Bill in 2010.
After finding out about the restrictions she sold the property for £125,000, meaning a total loss of £55,000.
Mrs Millington said: “With all the trauma of losing my husband I didn’t think anyone could’ve done that to me.
“I’m glad Mr Dunn has at last had his toes nipped and I’m pleased that something has been done to warn others, but I’ve had the roughest of deals.
“It’s a warning to other to be on their guard, be very careful if you’re buying barn conversions in the country because they could be set up as holiday cottages when in fact you can’t live in them.”
Prosecuting and defence
Nick McNamara, prosecuting, on behalf of Lancashire County Council Trading Standards, told the court: “Local estate agent Graham Parkinson was asked to market the houses which he did so as ideal country and retirement retreats. However at some stage the advert stated unrestricted occupation. This was not true.”
Defending Dunn, Stephen Scott said: “My client has been a builder for many years and he accepts he has been negligent in the production of the advertising details. Normally searches are carried out and restrictions like this would be revealed, the solicitors involved must accept some responsibility.”