‘Debt-ridden’ Lembit Opik has £1million property

Lembit Opik has a property portfolio worth nearly £1million despite recently saying he was debt-ridden

Only seven months ago former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik claimed he was debt ridden and in danger of losing his South London home.

The celebrity loving politician – who came to prominence after dating both ITV weather girl Sian Lloyd and then Cheeky Girl singer Gabriela Irimia – painted a bleak picture of his finances.

Mr Opik told how he almost had his London flat repossessed, his phone cut off and how he ‘nearly’ became insolvent.

But the Daily Mail has now learned that far from being in penury the former politician has a property portfolio nearing £1million.

And Lembit has also been incredibly ‘cheeky’ by giving an interview that he didn’t ‘fancy being a landlord’.

For when the former politician made that statement he was already a landlord after advertising his two former constituency homes in Wales for rent.

Last night he apologised for the gaffe and claimed he was a ‘reluctant’ landlord and ‘stuck’ with two properties that he cannot sell due to a ‘recession and depression’ in the area he owns his homes.

Mr Opik owns a two bedroomed flat in Lambeth, South London

Mr Opik owns this rental property in Newtown, Wales

Mr Opik owns a two bedroomed flat in Lambeth, South London (left) worth around £530,000 as well as this rental property (right) in Newtown, Wales

Speaking to the Sunday Times in May, this year, Mr Opik was asked: ‘What’s better for retirement – property or pension?’

The 52-year-old – who once served as a Lib Dem housing spokesman – then replied: ‘Property, unquestionably, because there is a limited supply of it.

‘I don’t fancy being a landlord. But if the only thing I cared about was to get rich, I’d buy as much property as I could and let it. Then I’d move to Fiji.’

However, what Mr Opik failed to disclose during the interview was that he was already a landlord in the Powys town of Newtown, Wales where he once served as the Montgomeryshire MP for thirteen years before losing his seat in 2010.

During his time as an MP Mr Opik was able to buy two properties in the largest town in Powys – generously assisted by taxpayer funding at the time.

The first home he purchased was a three bedroomed cottage in Frankwell Street which he bought for £41,000 in June 2000 with the help of a mortgage from the National Westminster Bank.

Mr Opik lived in the property for a number of years but this week it was in the hands of a tenant thought to be paying in the region of £400 a month to live in the four storey town house in a conservation area.

He also rents out this former constituency home, thought to be worth around £240,000

He also rents out this former constituency home, thought to be worth around £240,000

Records show that the house was indeed put up for sale briefly in August 2013 for £128,500 but it was then decided to rent out the property some months later in April 2014.

Mr Opik’s second former constituency home is a three bedroomed detached property which he bought in September 2008 for £190,000 with the help of another National Westminster Bank mortgage and the taxpayer.

Two years later Mr Opik lost his seat as an MP but he kept the house.

Once again he did briefly try and sell the property in January 2013 for £239,000 but he then decided he would rent it out and offered the house to tenants in November of the same year for a rent of £555 a month.

While Landlord Mr Opik owns his two Welsh properties he also has a two bedroomed flat in Lambeth, South London, which he bought in 1997 for £110,000 and is now worth around £530,000 giving him a combined property empire valued at £897,500.

He currently shares his London property home with his 33-year-old lawyer girlfriend Sabina Yankova who is the mother of their daughter who was born in June.

The ex Lib Dem MP became well known when he dated 'Cheeky Girl' Gabriella Irimia

The ex Lib Dem MP became well known when he dated TV weather forecaster Sian Lloyd

The ex Lib Dem MP became well known when he dated ‘Cheeky Girl’ Gabriella Irimia (left) and TV weather forecaster Sian Lloyd (right)

Last month she posted a series of tweets claiming Mr Opik was an ‘absentee father’ at times and was also unreliable because of his heavy drinking.

Mr Opik is registered as the landlord of both his properties in Wales on the Rent Smart Wales website.

Rent Smart Wales process landlord registrations and grant licences to landlords and agents who need to comply with the Housing ( Wales) Act 2014.

Last night Mr Opik said: ‘I really don’t like having those properties. The point I was trying to make in the article was that I really don’t like being a landlord.

‘Looking at what I said I now see it came across differently . I should have asked for ‘copy approval’ of the article and then I would have read it before publication and changed that phrase.

‘Unfortunately I find being a landlord tiring and wearisome and that is why I have an agent who looks after the two properties. I certainly don’t have any desire to build up a property empire.

‘All I can say again is that I didn’t want to give the impression I wasn’t already a landlord. There has been a recession and depression in the part of Wales where my properties can be found.

‘Property prices in that part of the world are very low and the only way they would rise is if they struck oil in Montgomeryshire.’


Read more at DailyMail.co.uk