Mascot Towers owner left $1.2 million in debt, 3 years after evacuation

A father’s dream of owning a home has turned into a never-ending nightmare as he struggles with mounting debt.

Anthony Najafian, 42, has a combined mortgage of $1.2 million, about $500,000 of which is due to a damaged and uninhabitable home.

The father of three bought his first home, a one-bedroom apartment in the doomed Mascot Towers building in Sydney’s inner south in 2010. Five years later, he bought a second property to live in, renting Mascot’s apartment.

In June 2019, Mr. Najafian’s world was rocked when residents, including his tenants, were suddenly evicted after cracks were discovered in the property.

The problem was detected during construction work in the vicinity. A building engineer who conducted an inspection of the cracks “expressed concern for the safety of the residents in the building” and the building manager decided to evacuate.

Since they left, residents have been unable to live in the 10-story apartment complex.

Three years later, the homeowner is struggling with debt, depression, and anxiety.

“It has been very hard. I am a sole breadwinner supporting three dependents,” he told

“Almost every day I wake up with a rush of nervous anxiety and a lot of uncertainty.

“It just completely washes over me when I wake up and causes multiple panic attacks and anxiety attacks throughout the day.

“And on top of that, there’s so much fear and so much nervousness.

“It has had a huge impact on our lives. So, essentially, the situation is not good.”

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Mr. Najafian’s debt began when he paid interest only on his Mascot Towers mortgage. He later refinanced and took out another mortgage on his current property in Ryde.

After the Mascot Towers saga began and the complications continued, their bills kept piling up with special liens and legal costs, made more difficult by not receiving rent since the evacuation.

He now owes $1 million to the bank and $200,000 to creditors.

With two mortgages, mounting debt, an income and creditors hounding them, Najafian said the financial pressures have been tough on him and his family.

“It’s been a pretty tough life, I sort of counted every dollar just to make sure I had every penny I could to give my kids a good life,” she said.

“But now, it doesn’t seem that significant when you lose your life savings and all that.

“Unfortunately, I cannot file for bankruptcy because my name is one of many names listed in my mother’s family home along with my siblings.

“So if I went bankrupt, we would have to lose that as well.”

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Ten days after the evacuation, the NSW Government announced assistance to residents.

The package offered residents daily support payments of $220, $300 and $400 per night, depending on how many rooms are in their apartment.

Still, Najafian says he and other owner-investors have had to wait years for financial help.

“We ended up taking back a little bit of the government. Just one year of basically one year of rent, which is better than nothing,” she said.

“I still haven’t received help. I know that several people are not eligible from the group of owners and investors.”

A spokesperson for NSW Fair Trading told that a financial assistance package for owner-investors had recently been approved.

“The NSW Government has secured unprecedented and significant support for the displaced occupants of Mascot Towers, providing a financial assistance package,” the spokesperson said.

“Last month, the NSW government approved a financial assistance package for residential owners and investors.

“Eligible owner-investors may apply for financial assistance beginning July 1, 2022. Financial support will be retroactive for a period of 12 months through July 1, 2021.”

Mr. Najafian is currently on application for assistance offered by Fair Trading.

He is hopeful that the process will be quick and help pay off his $1.2 million debt.

“I’ll get 29 or 28 grand or something like that,” he said.

“So in the general scheme of things, it’s not that much, but hopefully it helps narrow it down a bit now.”

Last month, residents of Mascot Towers settled out of court with development company ALAND over claims cracks forced them from their homes. Sydney’s morning herald informed.

At the time of the evacuation, residents had just four hours to leave the failing high-rise building.

Nearly 300 people have had to struggle to find other accommodation, causing considerable emotional and financial distress.

Construction defects in NSW are required to be covered by a six-year manufacturer’s warranty by law, but because the building was 10 years old, those costs were borne by the owners.

Australian Apartment Advocacy director Samantha Reece said the circumstances of the unit owners were unfortunate.

“Mascot Towers is a very unfortunate circumstance and one that shows that not enough is being done to protect apartment buyers,” Ms Reece told

“But the most important focus is that the owners of Mascot Towers should have been doing inspections of their building since the first year.

“And most likely, they were able to identify any major defects during the warranty period and therefore have had government support.”

Ms. Reece recommends that if you buy into an apartment building, you should take responsibility for the entire building from day one and check for defects.

“And that means being aware of what’s going on in terms of repairs, being aware of what’s going on with your builder to make sure they don’t go into liquidation,” he said.

“But you need to act within those six years. Otherwise, they will catch you.”

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