14/11/2011 Inside Out South


Jon Cuthill investigates how pensioner Rosalee Reeves-Fisher signed up to a property deal which led to her losing her family home.

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Good evening. Welcome to Inside Out. Here is what is coming up: The


Sussex pensioner who lost her home. We investigate her lawyer and put


his legal advice under the spotlight. My whole life has been


ruined. That is what has happened. I do not have the courage to commit


suicide. Did this solicitor fail in his duty to protect her? We are


from BBC Inside Out. The Oxford housing crisis. Government cuts


that could force residents out on the street. It might not be a


palace but is my palace. I do not want to move. They cannot give it


and then take it away. Four men in a boat. With 3,000 miles to go, the


crew start to wonder, whose stupid idea was this? What is up? I cannot


believe I am the first one to cry. First tonight, I need to raise some


cash. �1 million. Do not worry, I have a plan. I am going to use your


eyes to secure the funds. He is an investment. We will be quids in. I


will get a solicitor to look at it. What could go wrong? Did you think


the donkeys will miss this place? - - do you think? They have a nice


house here. Two years ago we brought you the story of how


Rosalie Reeves-Fisher broke into their own home after a mortgage


company evicted her. Rosalie had lived at her family home for nearly


40 years. Then she fell under the spell of a woman named Sheila Mason.


She up persuaded Rosalie to use her family home as security for a loan


of �1 million. Sheila pollute the cash and left Rosalie with a loan


that she could never payback. The bailiffs came up to take possession


of a house. Michael, it is urgent, where every you are, the bailiffs


are here. Everybody must leave the property. We have a court order.


were filming but the bailiffs ordered us off the premises. I am


not moving from his house. After our intervention and at the very


last minute, a phone call came through and the eviction was called


off. I need to inform you the eviction is withdrawn. They have


withdrawn it! Come and have some champagne. Come on in. They are


swines. Come in and have a drink. Two years on, eviction looms once


more. This time, Rosalie has no choice but to sell because of her


spiralling debts. The mortgage company trying to repossess medal


Hill said Rosalie had been properly represented by a solicitor. They


could not be accused of any reckless lending, they said.


Tonight, we investigate that solicitor and ask did he fail in


his duty to protect? Moving out day is fast approaching. At 74, Rosalie


has got to pack generations of family life into boxes and crates


and prepare for the journey to a new home. I have lost my life and


home. The home is my life. It is with the animals and doing the


garden. I have had guests and things. My whole life has been


ruined. That is what has happened. I have not got the courage to


commit suicide. A lot of people have said that, I have said my life


is gone. It has, in a way. A local solicitor warned Rosalie not to get


involved with Sheila Mason's plant and a London bank also turned the


women away. Sheila Mason persevered and found a loan broker in a very


remote part of the UK. The River Usk. Some of the best fishing in


the country. Why would Rosalie who lived in Sussex and Sheila who


lived in Surrey travel all the way to Wales? We left here about five


AM. She came and picked me up. I fell asleep, which is nothing


unusual, on the route. It was quite a long journey. The appointment was


2pm. Usk was home to Lerwich Commerical Mortgage Corporation it


will arrange a loan even if it is not your property. It was exactly


what Sheila was looking for. It came up with a solicitor. I spent


20 minutes with Mr Townsend. Scheele said when we were coming


home, did he give you advise? I said, no, he did not. The broker


for Rosalie's �1 billion mortgage was ain't man called Geoffrey. We


are not saying he has done anything wrong. Remember the mortgage


company said Rosalie had been properly represented by a solicitor.


That solicitor was a man a name to Geoffrey Townsend. As well as


sharing the same first name, the two men have something else in


common. They were business partners. We have discovered nine businesses,


including loans and mortgage companies, where these two men were


directors. House solicitors act is regulated. Did Mr Townsend's


business relationship with the broker affect the advice he gave


Rosalie and put him in breach of the code of conduct? You must not


use your position to take unfair The borrowers came a long way. One


came from Sussex to the west of the country. That was to take


independent advice. You begin to wonder whether that is possible.


is not the first time Mr Townsend has a breach the guidelines. He was


fined �3,000 by the regulator before he even met Rosalie. Perhaps


the most worrying part of the case is that a Geoffrey Townsend


represented both Rosalie and Sheila. Where there are no common interests,


unlike married couples, both parties need separate solicitors.


The code is quite clear. You must not act if there is a conflict of


interest and if you are a separate There is every indication there was


going to be a fall-out between the parties or if there was not a fall


out, there was the risk if the loan was called in, that only one party


would have assets to me that obligation. In those circumstances,


I think it is very foolhardy for somebody to accept instructions


from both borrowers. I think it would have been evident to we


solicitor who had just qualified. Alarm bells should have rung. I


think they should have been lights flashing round the room. Under the


threat of eviction, Rosalie has found a buyer and we use the


proceeds to pay back the loan. There is interest of more than


�200,000. Did you ever think this day would come? Well, I had hoped


it would not and why I have been hit in this way I do not know.


what I have seen so far, I think Mr Townsend have a lot to answer for.


Having seen the evidence, he was reported to the regulator. It has


the power to order the solicitor to pay Rosalie compensation. As for Mr


Townsend himself, he claims he does not have upshot's News Of The World


-- paperwork and cannot help. We have tried hard to get some answers.


It is time for one more go. Hello. We are from BBC Inside Out. Can I


just ask about Rosalie Reeves- Fisher? Why did you give her advice


and sort out a loan which would mean she would have to leave her


house? Surely that was a breach of conditions, working for both


parties, Sheila Mason and Rosalie Reeves-Fisher? I think she deserves


some answers because she has lost her house. Hopefully Rosalie will


have more or log trying to get compensation. Rosalie's legal


battles are far from over. But life at Meadowhills has finally come to


an end. It is time to say goodbye to her family home. They have


broken my life. They have killed me. I might as well just go to sleep.


My father died at 75 and I would not be surprised if I die it then.


The only thing that keeps me alive is to look after the cats and the


donkeys. It has all now ended. All due to something I never understood.


Not nice. But I hope I will get some justice.


Rosalie's fight for that justice goes on. Next, supply and demand.


There is a huge need for social housing in the south. There simply


is not enough. Rents are sky high a in the private sector and housing


charity Shelter is warning more people will become homeless because


of changes to benefits. There is such a shortage of housing


in Oxford but many of the 6,000 people on the council's waiting


list are unlikely to ever be harassed. Add to that 165 people in


temporary accommodation, you might have dreaming spires, but you also


have a housing nightmare. Of course, that is bad news if you're waiting


for somewhere to live. It is great news if you of one of the biggest


private sector landlords in Oxford. Meet Tariq Khuja. He owns and


manages 350 properties in the city and he is constantly on the lookout


for more. If the price is right, then we will buy it. It has


potential, that is a bonus. It works quite well. You can buy a


property, one house, and then divided into three units of


accommodation and it pays double the amount. Unlike many landlords


in Oxford, Tariq Khuja is happy to take people on housing benefit and


any bit of land is a potential earner. I purchased this property


some time ago and the adjacent property came up for sale. I bought


it as quickly as I could because what I was after his this land in


between. In his area, there is lots of development. I am hoping to


obtain planning permission to build, ideally, two flats and have two


separate units of accommodation. That would be two sets of income.


If I build a two bedroom house. Tariq Khuja is interrupted. Two


residents on the estate walk past and mention they are not happy with


some of the tenants of Tariq Khuja brings to the area. Not everybody


in Oxford likes me very much! I do not care what people think. I do


what I can to improve my life and other people's. The abuses -- the


abusive passer-by a says he is not improving her life. You approach


him and he does nothing about it. He puts more people in there in the


same situation. Yes they have a right to be housed but it is what


they are doing and the trouble they are causing. There is a stigma


attached to people on benefit. People do not accept that people


land on hard times. I do not know how we do get away with building


houses and putting people like the people he puts in there when there


are families around. We have had so much -- so much trouble. Nobody has


This is five minutes from the centre of Oxford. Like many service


areas, this has got a chain of hotels. But this one behind me has


been used to house people in emergencies by Oxford City Council


before they find them somewhere to live. For a whole week, Matt and


his partner have lived here with their baby, Jessica. Matt is


finding it hard to get work and they cannot afford to buy anywhere.


They ask for council help. We are staying with my mother had it is a


bit overcrowded. Everything comes to a head and we have been asked to


leave. This is where the council has put up. Having put up with this


for a week, he is going back to the council, hoping to get something


more permanent. Today, he is in luck as long as he signed up


straight away. He will live in an area he does not know. You have


guessed it, it is owned and managed by Tariq Khuja. This is a property


of the council which has been given to us temporarily. Not ideal. But


upstairs, I will show you the bedroom. The rent is just over


�1,000 per month. This is temporary. We could be here for up to three


months. It is not great but the council is footing most of the bill.


They are running businesses and they are entitled to charge the


full back. They did not have made's rates. It is chronic and acute. We


have got massive housing need and not enough social housing. We have


got a private rented sector becoming unaffordable because of


benefit changes. We put them into places like this as briefly as


possible until we can find somewhere better for them are. But


we have problems also in accommodation for the same reasons.


My daughter is nine weeks old. My partner does not want Jessica here.


I did not know if my mother will have her overnight or one of us


stays here and one stays at my mother's. Just until we get things


sorted. It is a period of dramatic change in housing benefit. From


January next year instead of people under 25 it will be anyone under 35


that only qualifies for housing allowance in a room in a shared


house. Somebody currently in a flat will see a drop in benefit and have


to move, it they can find somewhere else. Is used to be a family house.


It has been rented for a few weeks. We will refurbish the property and


make it into a HMO up. That means it should provide four or five


rooms. Just around the corner is one of his tenants, directly


affected by the new allowances. Adrian is 32. He will have to move


to a single room. Gutted. It took me ages to get hit. It is not


really a palace but it is mine. I have built it up and done


everything I can and I do not want to move. I get somewhere and they


changed the law. How does that work? Ridiculous. This is paid for


by the council? Yes. And in their eyes they are paying and I should


be grateful for what I get but they cannot even be supping and take it


away. We will put a new kitchen in here. -- give me something. This


will be 80 middle kitchen. He will move from his own bathroom and


kitchen. I am a diabetic and I keep insulin in the fridge. It is


medication that has got to be kept safe. What do I do? It is


government policy that is at fault. This for me is policy-making


addressing places like Westminster and Kensington where people were


claiming benefit on expensive properties. The government view is


they should move to places like Peckham. At might work in London


but not Oxford because they have not got anywhere to go. The benefit


cuts were designed to force landlords to reduce rent. That is


not happening but it is happening - - having an effect. It has already


got worse. Since April this year when allowances were reduced, there


has been a massive influx of homeless people. But that will not


save money? It will cost a lot more money. It will not save money. It


will put a greater burden of local government at a time when funding


is being reduced and we are being asked to make major efficiencies


and savings. Meanwhile, Matt is still living at Tariq Khuja's


temporary accommodation but he has found another place. As soon as


this is empty, we have got seven days to turn it around and get it


ready to that. But generally we get it done on the same day. It is a


big demand. At least he has got some comfort from the housing


nightmare in the City of dreams and spies. We have got somewhere else


to live. -- spires. We are moving Finally tonight, we are all at sea.


Four men, one boat and 3000 miles. They are rowing from Australia to


Mauritius. By the looks of it, they are all completely unsupported!


The Indian Ocean. Land a distant memory, with only an albatross for


company. I think it's official, I'm going mad. I think the other boys


probably are too. I've been talking to myself quite a lot now. Wild


weather, deadly currents and broken bodies. The sea continues to punish


us. This environment is completely unforgiving. My body is in utter


pain. In April, an Army captain from Dorset and three chartered


surveyors set out. What they knew would be a great physical challenge


would also question their beliefs. In the last week or so, our faith


in God certainly has been really tested. What's up? I can't believe


I'm the first one to cry. This epic journey has taken the team three


It is exactly 8 o'clock in the evening on Friday 11th March.


team is preparing to row more than 3000 miles from Australia to


Mauritius. That's 3000 miles worth of legs and arms. Engines are for


wimps. What does that represent? Our sleeping and the area that we


are confined to. Next stop, Geraldton on the West Coast of


Australia. Time for the crew to acclimatise while they wait for the


boat to arrive. Indian Runner 4 is 29 feet long with a small sleeping


cabin at each end. It will have to carry everything that they will


need for 70 days at sea. I just haven't got a clue what's out there,


both in terms of how I will cope physically, mentally, how I will


cope personally with being at sea, never been before. I'm looking


forward to the experience, looking forward to seeing how I cope.


don't really have any doubts. The only problems could be the


unpredictable weather, the ocean I think is the only thing that will


stop us. Dear diary To supplement Ed's Journal, the crew will film a


video diary of their voyage. They've got to rack up 50 miles a


day, rowing around the clock if they are to beat the record of 69


The wind has been pushing against us all day and now it has started


tipping with rain. He is down on the oars and I have battered down


the hatch and I will go on in 25 minutes and I tell you what, we


didn't sign up for this. Two and a half weeks in and unfavourable


crosswinds are slowing progress. Skipper James has tendonitis in his


lower legs. The sea continues to punish us. This environment is


completely unforgiving. My body had the moment is in utter pain with my


right shoulder. Every time I pull on the oar it feels like someone is


trying to rip my arm out of its socket. 50 days to go. I need to


find some form of equilibrium or pain threshold that is sustainable


for the rest of this trip. Day 22. Saturday May 14th. We are just


having our 1000 mile celebration. Awesome party! It is really good.


Glad so many people could come. What was the theme? The theme was,


Row, Row, row your boat. And you have come as a cave man. I thought


I'd give you a little insight into my view most afternoons. And most


mornings. But a month in and a series of equipment failures and


uncooperative winds are taking their toll. What's up? I can't


believe I'm the first one to cry. Why is it so emotional? Nothing


just seems to work and we just can't find a solution to the


steering and now we're got amazing conditions to row in. -- we have


got. The steering has gone wrong, the hand steering has gone wrong.


We've broken two auto pilots and we have got 1800 miles to go. I feel


like crying as well. It is looking a bit bleak at the moment, but we


will get through it. This is probably the lowest point that I


have had so far. And we have got to really grip now. It is grin and


bear it time. We need to work as a It is 25th of May. I think it is


fair to say we are deteriorating. We are all losing weight now. We


are on double rations for lunch. We are all so hungry. That is as far


as I can close my fingers. I've got to wake up early now so that I can


do these sorts of exercises, for 10 minutes or so, to make sure I can


grip the oar. The poor conditions continue and they can't increase


their daily mileage. They're beginning to feel it is an


impossible task. We are going over and over in my head what it would


like if we don't get this record. I'd been so confident until this


point, for the last three years we were going to do it. And now maybe


it is slowly slipping from our grasp. I don't know. After weeks of


seeing nothing but the horizon and each other, a spectacular visitor


comes to the sea. What have you spotted? That is a whale, man. We


have been for a full hour and a half swimming with this amazing


wail. -- whale. We took it in turns to jump in the water. I went first


and was pretty apprehensive, I wasn't really sure if whales eat


you or not. I didn't think they did. Wow! Diving with a whale in the


middle of the Indian Ocean with six kilometres of water below us and it


Down to 8 miles a day instead of the target 50, the crew now know


they have lost the record. To add to the misery, with only 100 miles


to Mauritius, the wind and sea is against them again. They


reluctantly deploy the Para Anchor to stop drifting backwards.


miles should only be a couple of days. Four days ago, we're only 135


miles away. But we just can't get near the island and we are being


pushed too far south. If we are pushed further south we will never


Four days later, the end is in sight. We are now only one mile


from the finish. This time I will go to tell the guys how we are


doing. They are one stone lighter in weight and scientific tests show


their brain reaction times have actually slowed down. On dry land


in Mauritius, with their coach Nick Knight, the team gives a press


conference. Rupert Harding, News of the World. Is it true that you


prayed every day? Dan gave us a set of thoughts for the day. We did


actually really genuinely found them of huge encouragement,


actually. Then we finished off with a hymn and none of us knew the


words. Could we have a rendition? We will give you a little song. You


know we belong together! You and I forever and ever. No matter where


you are, you're my guiding star. their families meet them at the


finish, time to reflect on an experience few people will ever


have. They have been some pretty big highs and lows. I was asked


yesterday whether I was finally at one with the ocean. I probably am


now. Home and away. And as far as we know, they are still talking to


each other, just. That's it for now. Don't forget to e-mail me. I'll see


you next week. Hi, I'm Steve Lang, Universal Group. We gatecrash this


man's seminar, which claims to offer financial peace of mind to


the elderly. Why are you selling a product when you are possibly,


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