3 Years Running: Buy-To-Let Legal Services Award
Sky News 28 March 2011
A Sky News investigation has uncovered a discounted-property scheme dozens of investors claim has left them thousands of pounds out of pocket.
The Ahuja Group Ltd markets itself as a property-sourcing company offering exclusive deals on repossessed homes, up to 30% off the market value.
But some investors who have paid the company £3,000 to arrange deals have claimed there is no discount and surveyors' reports are sometimes so damning, they can't get a mortgage to purchase the property and can't get their fees refunded.
The Ahuja Group claims it offers replacement properties for deals that fall through.
But investors say these are often unsuitable and they're left with bills for hundreds of pounds in surveyors' fees.
"I've been deceived by Mr Ahuja, who claims to have turned a £500 first from his mother into a property portfolio worth £15m.
The company is run by Mr Ajay Ahuja, who claims to have turned a £500 gift from his mother into a property portfolio worth £15m.
He claims to offer investors "no deposit down" deals and insists he's helped hundreds of people build an income for life through property investment.
But Sky News is aware of at least 50 investors who claim they have lost thousands of pounds in unfinished deals.
Gladys Euba claims she paid the Ahuja Group £4,698 for a 'buying trip' to the USA that she claims included an exclusive offer of two discounted properties for a 30% deposit.
However, after paying the fee she says the deposit was increased to 50%.
She said: "I couldn't afford such a large deposit so I couldn't make the trip and had to pull out of the deal but they wouldn't refund my money.
"I've been deceived by Mr Ahuja. He's scamming hard-working people like myself and he's bang out of order." - Client, Gladys Euba
When confronted by Sky News in his eight-bedroom mansion in Cambridgeshire, Mr Ahuja claimed he has many satisfied clients and his terms and conditions are clear that he doesn't offer refunds.
But Paul Shamplina from Landlord Action told Sky News: "This is sharp practice. Clients should obviously be refunded if they're promised non-existent discounts on properties.
"We're preparing court action with investors who have lost money to Mr Ahuja, to take him to court to get their money back."
Landlord action was set up by landlords for landlords with problem tenants. That is, tenants who are in rent arrears or break some other part of a tenancy agreement. Landlord & tenant law is a specialist area and we found solicitor charges were too much and too vague. When you have a bad tenant you want to evict them fast. Any landlord would want a bad tenant out. they want advice and help with the law. And that's what we do. We are experts in this area and unlike solicitors, we only act for landlords, never tenants. And we'll help recover the outstanding rent. Our free advice line is open to all landlords and we have carried out thousands of evictions.