Our hammer horror! Cottage sold by TV auctioneer Colin West for £69,000 came with only 5ft of garden
- Rebecca and David French spent £69,000 on a two-bedroom Cumbrian cottage
- Their ‘deal of the day’ home only came with 43 of the 258 sq ft they thought it did
- Auctioneer Colin West, who appears in Homes under the Hammer, was the seller
- West pleaded guilty in October to misdescribing the house and was fined £950
Rebecca and David French thought they had secured a bargain in buying a house for £69,000.
Auctioneer Colin West, who appears on the BBC’s Homes under the Hammer, told the pair their winning bid for the two-bedroom Cumbrian cottage was the ‘deal of the day’.
But their elation turned to despair when they learnt that all bar a 5ft strip of the garden belonged to a neighbouring farmer.
Sold short: Rebecca and David French own less than a fifth of the garden at their Cumbrian cottage
They also found out that the seller was none other than West.
He said he had forgotten to mention the problem with the back garden, which meant that the Frenches owned only 43 of its 258 sq ft.
Homes Under the Hammer approached the couple to film their renovation efforts but the plan was dropped because the sale led to court action.
‘I felt sick to the stomach when our solicitor told me they didn’t think that the garden was included in the deeds,’ said Mrs French, 54, who does up properties full time with her 53-year-old husband.
This is the garden that Rebecca and David French thought they were getting when they purchased the two-bedroom Cumbrian cottage
‘We didn’t know the garden was not included when we bought it or otherwise we wouldn’t have bothered. Who is going to want to buy a house that doesn’t come with the garden for the full price?’
West, a director at Auction House Cumbria, pleaded guilty in October to misdescribing the house and was fined £950.
Carlisle magistrates decided he had not sought to deceive but still had a duty of care when selling properties.
Following the case, West offered the couple £3,000 in compensation but they are seeking £12,500, saying they are unable to market the property at its £120,000 value.
Fined: Colin West pleaded guilty in October to misdescribing the house and was fined £950
Mrs French added: ‘When he put his hammer down, he said “that is the deal of the day”. It might have been for him, but it wasn’t for us. When I found out he was the owner as well, that is when the anger set in.’
The Cumbrian auction house is one of many filmed by Lion Television, the production company which makes Homes under the Hammer for the BBC.
West, who still appears on the show, said: ‘The court found that (and it was reported contemporaneously that) the regulatory breach was caused by a genuine mistake and that there was no intent to deceive.’
A BBC spokesman said: ‘We have confirmed to Mr and Mrs French we have no plans to broadcast the property purchase.’
Lion Television was contacted for comment.