A dad who purchased a one-bedroom apartment in a prime Sydney location is set to lose $450,000 from the potential sale of his home.
Like the 132 other owners of the bungled Mascot Towers apartment block, Anthony Najafian is in financial ruin because of his 2009 purchase.
More than four years after residents of the cracking and uninhabitable inner-south Sydney block were evacuated due to safety concerns, the government is attempting to broker a deal which would allow owners to sell their individual apartments to a commercial consortium.
However, because Mr Najafian bought his unit as an investment he is ineligible for government assistance.
“If we do manage to sell, I’d get about 133k out of what should be an $800,000 apartment, based on current values,” he said.
The potential sale would leave his family with a remaining mortgage of about $450,000.
“We are just seeking just and fair help. We want to be all equally look after, we’ve (investors and owner occupiers) have all been suffering, and we also want to move on.”
Mr Najafian was the first resident to move into Mascot Towers before him and his wife upsized into another apartment home in 2015.
They briefly lived at the property in 2018 but because it was rented out at the time of the evacuation, they are classified as investors, and not owner occupiers.
Investors, like owner occupiers will be told how much they will be given for the sale of their apartment on February 19.
From then, they will have until March 15 to decide whether they will accept that offer.
However, unlike owner occupiers who will get government support which would see their mortgages forgiven, investors have been left to negotiate with banks.
Single mum of three, Holly, also faces a similar scenario. She bought her one-bedroom apartment in 2009, however had to rent it out in 2011 due to financial reasons.
“I was honestly so chuffed to have it but I realised fairly quickly that it’s really expensive living on your own,” she said.
While she agrees she was fortunate enough to “have a roof over my head” in the aftermath of the evacuation, she says both owners and investors have since been “put through the wringer”.
“I had no support, the bank was on my back, and I had to get the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) involved,” said Holly.
“As of today, I can’t even officially divorce my partner because as far as separating assets, when you’ve got a debt of half a million dollars, no one want to take ownership of it.”
Holly says that while she could get around $133,000 in the sale, she’d still be left with a $400,000 mortgage that would leave her “financially devastated”.
She would also have to sell the second apartment that she owns with her partner, which was bought by remortgaging her Mascot Towers property in the months before the evacuation.
“That puts us in the rental market. Honestly, I’m too scared to even think that far ahead. I think I live in hope that something might change between now.”
Mr Najafian says he’s thankful of the advocacy that’s been done by the NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler – who is leading the deal – but he’s calling on the government to finish the job.
The dad-of-one says the offer to sell his former home will only continue his family’s financial pain.
“He’s actually met with us and wants to do the right thing but I don’t think the funding is there to be able to support everyone equally to get this nightmare over and don't with,” he said.
“Everyone is sick, both mentally and physically. We’re exhausted.”
The NSW Department of Customer Service was contacted for comment but deterred its response to the office of Fair Trading Minister Anoulack Chanthivong.