A distraught photographer is facing financial ruin after a court order forced him to forfeit his £800,000 home costing him his entire life savings.
Dennis Jackson, 73, from Plantation Wharf, in Battersea, has been fighting a protracted legal battle for three years after he refused to pay a £9,000 service charge for work he said was never carried out by his freeholder, Cube Real Estate.
After losing the leasehold valuation tribunal, Mr Jackson was then ordered to pay the freeholder's legal costs, amounting to £70,000.
On January 30, his lease was forfeited at Wandsworth County Court and Mr Jackson must pack his bags and leave the property by February 27.
He will then lose all the equity he has in the property, amounting to more than £600,000.
Mr Jackson, who has lived in the property for 16 years, said: "I face absolute ruin because of this. I am looking at complete and utter destitution.
"I don't have £70,000 to pay and you've got to have the cash, your assets are irrelevant. I am asset-rich, but cash-poor."
The case has appalled veteran Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley, who has an interest in leasehold abuses and has urged Mr Jackson’s lenders, the Prudential, to intervene to prevent the property being lost.
A spokesman for Picasso Investments, a Cube Real Estate joint venture, explained how the current law relating to forfeiture meant it had no choice but to pursue the court costs.
He said: "Mr Jackson challenged many elements of the service charge at a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal which, aside from one item relating to only a few pounds of service charge expenditure, did not uphold his complaint.
"Mr Jackson has tried to have the original tribunal decision reversed, but has failed.
"He has continued to not pay the service charge due on his property and this is increasing the potential financial liability for his fellow residents."