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To ask what you think could happen to the house next door?

(23 Posts)
FlamingoFlower Tue 11-Apr-17 11:17:23

I live in a semi on a lovely street but the lady in the house next door died some years ago. She has 4 sons all of which are on benefits (this is relevant) and I personally know one of the sons.

Anyway - the one son got left the house in the will and the other sons contested it and its been in dispute for 7 years now. This means that the son who had it left to him in the will is unable to sell it until the dispute is resolved.

I am in contact with the one son who has told me that the block gets renewed every year or so many years and can keep being renewed until one of them takes the other to court.

The "landlord" let his son live in there for a while but he was a known drug dealer and ended up with several petrol bombs through the letter box and a lot of the downstairs was damaged due to fire and only minor repairs carried out. He then ended up in prison so the house was empty again.

Then the house was "rented out" to another family member for a few years and they have recently moved out. The whole time they have been living there the house has fallen into serious disrepair and eventually social services intervened and moved them into another house because it was in such a bad state.

Next door invited me in before they left just because they probably thought I didn't believe it was in such a bad state but it was. The front door is hanging off due to woodworm infestation, the ceilings are bowing in because of a major waterleak from upstairs, the floors are rotten and falling in, there is damp on every single wall in the house, the back windows are smashed and have big holes in them, the boiler is very old and doesn't even work anymore, the bathroom upstairs sink is hanging off the wall, all radiators are hanging off the wall, wallpaper falling off in big strips etc.
The outside has piles and piles of rubbish stacked up around the back, things like TV's, clocks, furniture etc.
There's a huge crack all the way up the back of the house from the floor to the roof.

I have spoken to the landlord a few times who has told me he won't be spending any money on the property as its still in dispute and he's quite bitter about it and says he would rather let the house fall down than let the others have it or any proceeds from it and he doesn't have the money to take it to court or repair it anyway.

I remember a few years ago the council would go in and do up a property then charge the owner for it but I believe this has all stopped now.

So I was just wondering - does anyone know what could happen in this case? As previously mentioned the "landlord" is on benefits living in a council house and apparently has no money to do up the house/wont do up the house,and no money to take the dispute to court.
The son who I speak to also is on benefits and has no money to take it to court either.

WIll the council just let the house be left and fall into disrepair or do you think they will enforce something?

I am not just being nosey or shoving my nose in but I have a genuine interest to sell my house in the next few years and would hate either my property to be affected from any damage happening to theirs or have to take a massive loss on my sale because of the state of next door.

Expecting2017 Tue 11-Apr-17 11:29:28

It will go into disrepair till the dispute is solved.

There was a house in my town that handy had anyone live in it for 15 years due to a family dispute. It was a stunning house but it literally fell apart it was such a shame. Dispute must have settled eventually house was pulled down and land sold for 4 new houses to be built.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Tue 11-Apr-17 11:29:38

Is this thread other half of your semi?
Must be very worrying for you. Do you have a legal advice clause in your house insurance policy?
If so could you find out what if any steps you can take to protect the integrity of your house

Expecting2017 Tue 11-Apr-17 11:29:54

Didn't have anyone live *

BarbaraofSeville Tue 11-Apr-17 11:36:29

Talk to your council - possibly part of the planning department. I have knowledge of a house that was in severe disrepair some years ago.

The council should have the power to order the owner to make it safe/stop it going into disrepair although if he says he has no money I don't know if they can do anything - force a sale for example.

DancingLedge Tue 11-Apr-17 12:01:01

Talk to local council.
Persist to get right person/department.
If no joy, approach a local councillor- contact details on council website.
But the house may have to be empty for 2 years before they can take action.
You can take legal action if it's significantly affecting your house, but try everything else first.

FlamingoFlower Tue 11-Apr-17 12:14:52

Yep this is the house directly attached to mine - the other semi. If it were a house not attached to me then I wouldn't be so worried.

The problem is, he's putting people in there that don't mind living in squalor and only get removed when either they get thrown in prison or forcibly removed by SS because their kids keep getting really ill so hes quite happy to put these people in there and have them pay rent - I don't know how he's got away with charging these people rent for so many years and not fined due to the state that its in!

But anyway, he's still not going to maintain the place and I'm concerned that whatever is causing the issues next door is going to start creeping into my property.

I do need to check my insurance policy when I get home I think....

NotMoreMinecraft Tue 11-Apr-17 12:21:20

I'd get legal advice. It's an awful position to be in.
Also are you in a position to offer to buy it ?even a ridiculously low offer. They might take 5,000 to get rid of it. Then you could do up and sell or let out.

RedSandYellowSand Tue 11-Apr-17 12:27:12

Oh, heck. When it is attached to you, that sounds very worrying.
I don't think you are going to like the story. The house opposite my parents burnt down. The kids who inherited it were fighting, and it sat there for maybe 15 years, getting more and more overgrown. Eventually something (i don't know what) changed, the land was sold, and the whole lot flattened, and a new house built on the plot.

But attached to you? I think d talk to someone, but i have no idea who.

ScaryMonstersandSuperCreeps Tue 11-Apr-17 12:49:08

There was a house in a row of cottages near me which got to a dangerous state. They demolished it and there is a gap now!!

Stripeymug Tue 11-Apr-17 12:54:40

They missed a trick by not claiming on insurance when they had it for fire and water damage.

If they try to "let it" again you can report them to the council straight away as they have already involved SS for removal before. Councils offer a mediation service, not just for council tenants could yo approach them?

There is a house in a terrace by us in a similar situation, in our close, it is falling into terrible repair and I can't believe that house in the same terrace, next door but one recently sold for a small fortune! (so it might not put off future buyers?). In our case the house has a large fence that is about to fall into a public highway so the council are aware.

RandomMess Tue 11-Apr-17 12:58:37

Presumably they could actually sell the house it's just that the proceeds could not be split and handed out? They'd stay on account at the solicitors...

Perhaps this is a solution that could happen?

FlamingoFlower Tue 11-Apr-17 13:01:06

I'd love to buy it if the opportunity arose but sadly it can't be sold until the dispute is solved and by the sounds of it the other sons are just going to keep renewing the block on it until they have saved up enough money to take it to court which is going to take years apparently.

The trouble is I don't think the other sons actually want the house I just don't think they want the son that inherited to have it otherwise they'd probably be trying to push it a lot more and be more interested in the sate of the place.

if it got into a serious state of disrepair i.e was falling down and needed demolishing how could they do that whilst keeping mine upright at the same time? I don't know much about the structure of houses but I assume when they build semi detached they build it all at the same time rather than building one house then building the other up against it?

CoolCarrie Tue 11-Apr-17 13:01:21

We have a house like this at the end of our street, and it has caused huge problems for the neighbours right next to it. It is a r eal shame as it clearly was a lovely French style house, huge garden with swimming pool, and now the pool is full of filth, everything that can be moved has been stolen and there were people squatting in it.
The council eventually bricked up the windows and have left it to rot, and I am surprised the ndn haven't set fire to the whole place.
The council have to deal with the house you are writing about as it is clearly a health risk, a fire risk and it could end up with squatters.

shovetheholly Tue 11-Apr-17 13:01:37

Before you spend a fortune on a lawyer, I also think this might be something your local planning department can help with. There should be a housing standards team at the council I think (though not an expert on this)

CoolCarrie Tue 11-Apr-17 13:12:28

Plus you mention that the landlord has rented out somewhere that is clearly uninhabitable to say the least, so if I were you, I would get in touch ASAP with the council, do it today, don't leave it any longer as it will get worse and it took 7 years for the council to get around to bricking up the windows in our local hovel.
Your have put up with it long enough

QuizteamBleakley Tue 11-Apr-17 13:24:57

Have a read of this - they may be able to help or give some advice; they have dealt with many similar cases.
Also agree with pp that your local council should be able to help.
Best of luck.

Latenightreader Tue 11-Apr-17 13:38:55

A house on my street (terraced) was empty for over thirty years, getting more and more dilapidated. The roof was sagging, the ceilings bulging, the bricks crumbling, wood rotting and the glass all broken. We were convinced it was going to collapse and bring down the row. It suddenly sold last year and after a few weeks work it is indistinguishable from the rest of the street. Just to give you hope!

I'd second the point about contacting the council. They can put pressure on the owners to sort out various aspects (pests, rubbish etc). I've seen it happen locally with success - sometimes it takes a while, but I've seen results.

DJBaggySmalls Tue 11-Apr-17 13:43:32

Look at your local councils website and see if they have an empty home strategy.

8misskitty8 Tue 11-Apr-17 15:05:12

What about a report to environmental health ? The house lying in disrepair etc. Will eventually effect your house.

If the owner is renting it out then he is getting an income so you could report him to benefits office if you think he isn't declaring the rental earnings.

I'd also report him to the council as if he is the legal owner then why does he have a council house himself. I thought that wasn't allowed ?

FlamingoFlower Tue 11-Apr-17 16:03:56

Well that's what I don't understand misskitty but somehow he's allowed..maybe because his name isn't on the land registry/deeds.

I spoke to him a while back because his fence is fallen down and broken, I knew he wouldn't do anything about it so I asked him what the deal was and he said he wouldn't do anything about it but I'm free to repair it if want to (at my own cost obviously). He said he wasn't even sure it was his fence as he doesn't have the deeds so I'm assuming that means he isn't on the deeds.

I know he's not on the land registry - I looked it up before I met him to find out who actually "owned" it incase this issue should rear its head and its still his late mother's name on there, but the actual land is leasehold which was sold off a few years back and belongs to someone in London...

Birdsgottaf1y Tue 11-Apr-17 16:32:17

Because it's being challenged, he won't be able to change the deeds.

Your first step is the Council, if it was just disrepair then it would be the Evironmental Health section.

However he's illegally renting it out, so if someone else moves in, there are a few departments that you could make phone calls to.

They're letting this drift along and I doubt that he's paying Buildings Insurance, which is a worry.

I'd worry that they may be trying to fiddle the electric or gas. His 'tenants' don't mind illegally renting, so you don't know what else is going on.

The house can be knocked down, without damaging the structure of yours. But you need to start to act on what's going on.

MabelFurball Tue 11-Apr-17 17:39:58

If ownership is being contended he should not be renting the house out at all. He is profiting from something which he doesn't legally own. The other brothers may be in on it though - who knows!

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