Right to Buy raffle: £3.75m gamble doesn’t pay off

A woman almost made £3.75 million this week by raffling off her Right to Buy home.

Renu Qadri, who lives in Blackheath, Southeast London, launched the website HomeRaffler.com five days ago, with the aim of holding a lucky dip to pick the new owner of her house. The plan was to sell 750,000 tickets for entry into the random prize draw, which would net her a tidy sum of £3.75 milllion.

The property covers the top two storeys of a detached house on Hardy Road in Westcombe Park. The winner would get the house, including some of the furniture and £12,000 of “lead crystal chandeliers”. Miss Qadri? A profit of £3.39 million, after she bought the property several years ago for £360,000 using the government’s Right to Buy scheme. The Telegraph reports that the home was bought by Qadri, with the Land Registry record indicating that she received a £100,000 discount through the Right to Buy scheme, just below the maximum £104,900 discount available.

“After buying our house we are now struggling to pay the mortgage due to disability, and have tried but failed to sell the property through traditional routes and we would like to avoid repossession,” the site reportedly once read.

“After talking to many estate agents and ‘quick buy’ companies, we believe it is in our best interest to take the sale of our property into our own hands, whilst offering someone else the opportunity to own and enjoy the property as their own.”

It offered tickets that could be purchased via PayPal, but before the property could reach its target, the raffle was cancelled by local authorities, who warned that it was potentially breaching official rules. Indeed, there are restrictions on Right to Buy homes being sold on within 10 years of purchase, with the council required to be offered the first chance to buy it and, if sold on the market, the buyer required to repay a certain portion of their original discount.

“We will be cancelling the raffle with immediate effect,” the website now states. “All tickets holders will be given a full refund through PayPal. We are working with the local council and the gambling commission to get the raffle reinstated.”

The five-bedroom flat, meanwhile, is still listed to purchase on the market via conventional means for £1.25 million.

“This substantial conversion is currently configured to comprise five double bedrooms, bright reception, dining room, bathrooms, separate w/c and a sizeable kitchen/diner,” says its listing on Rightmove. “The sheer size of this wonderful property means it is versatile and open to a change in configuration to suit a buyers needs. The property has been double glazed throughout in keeping with the original windows and boasts high ceilings with some original features.”

The Royal Borough of Greenwich told the newspaper: “The Royal Borough welcomes the withdrawal of this raffle after our alerting the resident to possible contravention of the Gambling Act 2005.”