ATTEMPTS to sell repossessed homes in parts of Tyrone have been met with violence and intimidation, a Co Down-based property auctioneer has claimed.
BRG Gibson in Holywood has become one of the north’s biggest auctioneers for repossessed houses, selling dozens of properties in Belfast and Dublin every six weeks.
Speaking to the TyroneHerald last week, one of the company’s auctioneers, Roy Little, revealed that along with South Armagh, the Omagh district has become a hotbed for attempts to intimidate potential buyers out of purchasing repossessed properties.
The Enniskillen native claimed houses had been burned down and staff physically assaulted in the wider Omagh area.
Last week, potential property buyers from Belfast found that a Trillick house, advertised for auction on September 9, had been severely vandalised, with graffiti on the front declaring that the property was ‘not for sale’.
In August, police were tasked to the house on the Killyfuddy Road after reports that a number of windows and doors had been taken sometime between July 25 and 30. The auction in the Stormont Hotel next Tuesday will be the third time that BRG have attempted to sell the four bedroom Trillick house.
From an initial guide price of £88,000 in May, the property will go under the hammer next week with a guide price of just £45,000. The detached house, which is advertised as high spec, is listed with a rateable value of £160,000.
Speaking on Friday, just one day after he was escorted by four police cars to a house in Crossmaglen, Mr Little claimed that attempts to prevent the homes being sold on has become “almost a business” in parts of Tyrone.
“You have a house with a mortgage, you stop paying the payments, the house gets repossessed.” You go in, you take out the bathroom, take out the kitchen, take out the radiators and you spray ‘no sale’ on it and you get it back for a fraction of what it is worth,” he explained.
“Most of the difficulty I have would be down in and around Omagh and that general area,” he continued. “I think a large part of it is, they see a man coming down with a shirt and tie from Belfast and there’s an element that they think they can bully their way out of it.
“They think that person won’t know anyone in the locality and they can get away with doing it,” he said.
“You find all of the stuff goes back in within a few weeks time and someone who either through greed or who by no fault of their own has got into difficulties, has now got the property back for a fraction of what it is worth. And they get away with it.”
Mr Little claimed that the Killyfuddy Road house “has been subject to a campaign”.
He admitted that the online photos needed to be updated, but added, “At the end of the day, we don’t get paid until we sell these houses, so we’ll sell them to anyone.
“Our ideal situation is that we get the thing sold so we don’t have to keep going back to it,” he affirmed.