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Fuming over damp, my parents, greedy vendors and wankbadger builder.

(23 Posts)
NinjaBunny Fri 28-Feb-14 14:29:32

My parents bought a bungalow in November. My dad is 75, my mum is younger but has arthritis and could no longer manage the stairs.

Vendors were lovely.

Had basic homebuyers survey done. No problems.

They move in. Week One water starts pouring through a window when it rains. hmm Builder/window man comes out and does some stuff. Problem moves but isn't resolved.

More stuff is done, nothing resolved. Extractor fan is opened one day, kitchen fills up with water.

Vendor ignores their many calls.

Solicitor want £174 an hour just to look through the paperwork to see if any money can be recouped.

Parents make plans with a local builder to have the roof re-done first and then a new bathroom. Builder is a cunt. Keeps saying he'll ring/turn up then doesn't bother. Decides he'll do the bathroom first despite what they've asked and basically acts as though he's doing them a favour. He's not. This has been booked since December and he's charging a large sum of money. Has also strung them along saying he has his own scaffolding company and similar but later says he needs to hire them from elsewhere.

Went round there last week. Most ceilings/coving/tops of walls are black with mould. Duvets, clothes, carpets, etc tinged with mould.

They're miserable.

Today they tell me that they're going to sell. At a loss seeing as the roof is badly in need of sorting.


They've cancelled the builder.

They plan to scrub off the damp, smarten it all up with nice fresh paint, new carpets and hope someone who doesn't mind getting the roof redone and a couple of windows refitted.

They'll be entirely honest with any buyer, because that's how they are.

I'm so fucked off. These are my elderly parents. I feel like they've been royally duped. Which they have. I'm really upset for them.

I'll help them get it nice ready for selling but I don't want them to have to do this. They've only just moved and that was really hard for them.

What can I do? What will help? Who can I call??

WhatKatyDidnt Fri 28-Feb-14 15:11:51

I feel your pain... I really do. But unfortunately, I think it's a case of caveat emptor and there's not much you can do to go after the vendors now.

Definitely get rid of the builder - god I hate it when tradespeople are rude and act like they're doing you a favour...

Moving house will probably cost a lot more financially and stress-wise than fixing the problem, so do you think your parents would entertain the idea of finding another builder who could sort the roof, windows and decorating in one fell swoop?

IHaveSeenMyHat Fri 28-Feb-14 15:18:43

Oh, what a nightmare. You must be fizzing with rage.

WhatKatyDidnt is right though. Once you factor in the enormous cost of moving again AND the loss they'll make if they're honest about what's wrong with the house, aren't they better off finding quality tradespeople (would a structural engineer be helpful, even, or is that unnecessary?) and getting everything fixed? Because I'm sure this is fixable.

I can understand why they feel like they hate the house and just want to get rid, though.

adagio Fri 28-Feb-14 15:29:19

I am so sorry :-( How crap.

For our elderly grandparents I called Age Concern and they put us onto trusted tradespeople and another charity who did advice on grants and stuff. From that we got decent, verified tradespeople to do their required work, plus help for certain costs - got them all they could with insulation etc without the cowboys or risk, and once they were in the system anything they needed was identified and subsequently sorted (e.g. rewire needed and done without them being ripped off etc).

Worth a call perhaps?

NinjaBunny Fri 28-Feb-14 15:56:45

Oooo, calling Age Concern is a good idea. Only problem with that is in my dad's head he's 40 and he might be mildly insulted.

I'll google them in a second.

I do realise that the vendor can't do anything now, I'm just angry that they weren't honest about the situation. They even had small heaters in the wardrobes, my dad assumed it kept the clothes nice and warm to put on ( confused hmm ), obviously it was to stop the damp killing their clothes.

I agree that moving again is a mahoosive deal and they were pretty stressed out the last time.

However, my last home was rented and had quite a bad damp problem so I know how crap it is dealing with it.

Parents barely ever have their heating on which doesn't help either. I avoid going around there as it's so cold, I need a long bath to defrost when I get in.

They only decided this today, though. They may not go through with it.

Ringing Age Concern now.


NinjaBunny Fri 28-Feb-14 16:17:42

Phoned them!!

They're lovely, lovely people on the phoneline. Although it's called Age UK now (combo of Age Concern and Help The Aged).


Have a number to call for 'Trusted Tradespeople' and they're sending me an information pack. Trusted Tradespeople office isn't open today, just Mon - Thur 10am - 3pm.

Just called my dad to inform him of this news but he was watching Countdown and I'm not convinced I had his full attention. I expect he'll call back later.


It's the Trusted Tradesmen bit that'll mean more than the grant. They just need someone who's not full of shit.

Thank you!!

Mandy21 Fri 28-Feb-14 16:29:03

If there is a problem with the windows, it could be that they are covered by FENSA - have a look through the paperwork your parents got when they bought the house (should be with the deeds). Our windows were shocking but also didn't realise the extent before we moved in, they'd been put in relatively recently. The company who had installed them had gone bust surprise surprise but through FENSA, we had a remedial company come out to assess the work, and we had new units put in and everything sealed again.

We also have a problem with mould (certainly in 1 bedroom which is really cold) and I think it doesn't help that we only have the heating on for a limited time in such a cold room.

I agree that moving is not the right answer - if they can find reliable people to sort it out, it will be more cost effective to do that that pay estate agent fees + costs of moving + stamp duty + loss on re-sale price.

IHaveSeenMyHat Fri 28-Feb-14 17:56:38

And of there's no FENSA certificate the vendors should have taken out an indemnity policy via their solicitors. The house sale wouldn't have proceeded without one or the other.

LIZS Sat 01-Mar-14 16:32:37

sad If they're not heating the house properly nor opening the windows or extractor then the mould /damp will get worse. Try to convince them it will cost less to resolve than move.

specialsubject Sat 01-Mar-14 18:29:03

so did the surveyor notice nothing of this?

unusually bad even for surveyors who seem to be licensed to be rubbish. Try them first, going to RICS is probably a waste of time but surveyors do carry insurance against missing things they should have noticed.

forget the vendor, that ship has sailed. And yes, they need to turn the heating on.

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 01-Mar-14 18:34:24

That's sad, but they should have got a full survey. It's not now the vendors problem. Think it'll need to go down to experience, even at their age.

TunipTheUnconquerable Sat 01-Mar-14 18:39:02

They're going to make the problem a lot worse if they don't put the heating on. Don't they realise this?

eurochick Sat 01-Mar-14 18:40:00

TBH, it sounds like they need to get a decent builder and learn how to manage the house. My parents' house has a tendency towards damp (single brick construction - not cavity wall) and they have to really keep on top of it - heat it well, be very careful about drying washing indoors and use a dehumidifier in the worst rooms. It's just how the house is. Short of knocking it down and rebuilding it with cavity walls, it just needs to be managed.

MissWing Sun 02-Mar-14 20:41:15

NinjaBunny, that's so rubbish. Crossing my fingers those approved tradespeople come up trumps.

(no wisdom to add I'm afraid...)

NinjaBunny Sun 02-Mar-14 21:50:03

We had a chat today about the heating.

They think it's cold because of the damp. Wrong! They're old house had no damp and that was freezing too!

I think they just don't feel the cold. I agree they need to heat it.

I'm with EDF and my bills are fixed until 2017. I'm trying to convince them to change and do the same. Means the bill won't go up regardless of how much heat they use.

Going to wait for this information pack. They said if they could get some help paying and a non-shit builder they'd reconsider. So hopefully that'll help.

iggymama Sun 02-Mar-14 22:34:53

Ring their local council, in my area over 70s can have grants to cover home improvements such as roofs, windows and heating. No doubt they could also get better insulation too.

It may also be that the lack of heating is causing condensation so heat and ventilation will help.

mrsminiverscharlady Sun 02-Mar-14 23:17:29

I'm with EDF and my bills are fixed until 2017. Means the bill won't go up regardless of how much heat they use.

Eh? Surely it's the price per unit that's fixed rather than the bill itself?

IHaveSeenMyHat Sun 02-Mar-14 23:24:36

I think you've misunderstood fixing as well. The rate is fixed, so if gas/electricity prices rise, your rate won't go up. You aren't paying a set price regardless of how much gas you use.

Badvoc Tue 04-Mar-14 07:17:20

I feel for your parents,I really do but it's happened to us too.
We moved in 2 years ago, basic survey done and electrical and has safety certificates done. All good.
Within 2 months we had to replace the boiler, most of the kitchen appliances, worktop, sink etc.
Within the last year we have had to replace the conservatory roof and windows at the back of the house. The fascias also need doing.
And now the kitchen is falling part and the electrics are actually dangerous!
If it were up to me I would sell it but dh refuses to even consider it so now we need to find ££££ for a new kitchen.
Agree with getting a decent builder. Ask around. Get personal recommendations.

struggling100 Tue 04-Mar-14 15:09:50

This is such a horrible thing to happen, and my heart goes out to your family.

I just wanted to second the advice that everyone is giving you about sorting the problem out rather than painting over and trying to move house. I honestly think it could be cheaper in the long run. See if the local council offer a Trusted Trader scheme, and make use of that. Once you find one decent tradesperson, they'll know others and be able to recommend.

If money is a problem, instead of a builder, you could get quotes from individual tradespeople. It can work out far cheaper. Make sure they get 3 quotes for each job, and different sets of opinions about what's going wrong (I had a damp problem in my house, and got quotes that were over £1500 different to sort it).

NinjaBunny Tue 04-Mar-14 21:09:32

It's not so much the money. More that my parents have worked hard all their lives and would resent handing over wads of cash to someone who they feel is ignoring their wishes and taking them for a ride.

I worked all weekend and Monday so hadn't really spoken to them since Friday but they rang last night asking for the phone numbers I've got for the builders/tradespeople and mentioned that my mum wants to stay.

I did mention the grants but I think pride would stop them from asking.


As for the 'fixed price' gas and electric; bollocks - thought it sounded to good to be true!


TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 04-Mar-14 21:22:52

Would they be up for reading up about the issue so they're talking to builders from a more informed position?
I found this book very good.

NinjaBunny Tue 04-Mar-14 22:12:45

Oooo, yes! They might!

Thank you!!


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