Are House Lotteries Scams

Sometimes and perhaps due to an unusual location, unconventional build or architecture or just a downturn in the market, selling a house can be difficult.

So, why not auction the house or better still hold a lottery and the winner gets the house (as long as enough tickets have been sold)?

You might even make more money than through a direct sale.

This has been done on quite a few occasions – the lucky ticket holder gets a house for the price of a lottery ticket – maybe £2 or £10 or £250 or whatever and the seller gets rid of a difficult property and possibly gets a lot more money than through a normal sale.

BUT, of the times this has been tried, there have been unsatisfactory endings to the lottery and some people consider these to be scams.

Example 1. The East wing of a Grade II listed Manor in Lancashire was raffled by Dunstan Low who managed to sell all the 250,000 tickets at £2 each.  His reason for the lottery was to stop the bank grabbing the property and he was honest about that motivation.

Marie Segar, an office worker from Warrington won the house, having bought £40 worth of tickets, and subsequently sold it for £305,000.  This is how it is supposed to work.

Example 2. one-bedroom flat in Brixton was raffled in 2018 and the winner was due to be announced in June 2018 then the closure date was moved to November 2018 then it was moved again to 2019 to give the company “a bit more time to sell the 150,000 tickets required to cover the property and its associated costs”.

Perhaps this is reasonable but it’s pretty poor for the people already with tickets.

In some of these cases, when insufficient tickets are sold, a winner is chosen and gets a cash prize instead. Then the original owner still has the property and has likely made a lot of money.

If you do buy tickets in a house raffle, better read the small print to see what happens if insufficient tickets can be sold in time.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-wasters do let me know, by email.

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