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should I stay or run?? long post sorry!

(37 Posts)
movingonup2015 Tue 05-Jan-16 13:42:26

bought a house last December - really liked it when I viewed it early summer, although alarm bells probably should have started ringing when I was only allowed to view the property when the vendor was there...

anyway I asked about the (attached) neighbours as the garden was quite over grown and the front of the house looked a bit worse for wear but I was told the old lady that lived there recently died and the son was doing it up so he has put family members in there just to keep the place ticking over - they were apparently very quiet and hardly heard - wonderful I thought and obviously if they are doing it up then the garden wont be overgrown for long and it will all be nice and shiny soon... The neighbours were never in during the three times I viewed the house.

Asked if there was any problems with any damp in the house - nope nothing, never had any problems with damp ever they said. Perfect.

Had the full survey done - one or two things were brought up such as repointing and the possibility of some wall ties needing replacing at some point in the future but nothing urgent and certainly nothing to worry about immediately so I was told.

Also they said they were smokers but only ever smoked outside.. not keen on the smoking thing but as they only smoked outside - not too much of an issue I thought.

Anyway 6 months later after completion finally went through I got handed the keys and the stench of smoke hit me like sledgehammer - my clothes stank my hair stank after only 30 minutes of being in the property...they had obviously chainsmoked inside the house from the minute the sold sign went up.

I thought I could just air out the property and all would be fine. Decided to do a few changes before moving in and certainly didn't want to move in until the stench had subsided.

So many problems then emerged with the house that I didn't end up moving in until recently - I had to rip up a carpet in the dining room and the floor was completely rotten - there is a major damp problem in that they had an extension built on the back of the dining room which blocked up the air vents, also for whatever reason (I suspect something to do with party wall??) they left a 1ft gap at the side of the extension and as the garden/house runs downhill all the rain water collects into the gulley, and cant drain out again, seeps into the foundations in through the dining room and with all the rain we've had has obviously been sitting in the floor and is now stinking out the house.
I cant see any way of rectifying this - you cant get down the side of the gulley to put any sort of drain or vent or anything in there unless I knock down next doors wall for access. I've just replaced the floorboards and put laminate floor down for now (which will probably warp in a few months!) just so I have a floor.

other various problems were needing doing - plumbing in the bathroom needed ripping out and redoing because previous plumber made a complete bodge of it all. The fitted wardrobe doors were all warped so needed replacing, hob doesn't work but cant afford to get that replaced yet.

Serious damp problem in one bedroom under the window, serious damp problem in the living room under the windows. Damp in under the stairs cupboard. All windows need adjusting/hinges replacing.

The kitchen cupboards needed scrubbing within an inch of their lives due to all the nicotine all over them and the carcasses inside that were once white are now a dirty brown/orange. I have scrubbed and bleached them but they remain orange.

That's only the half of it... the biggest problem is next door.. the elderly lady died five years ago - not recently!! and the will has been contested so the "owner" has put family members in there that are paying him rent - the house is a complete state, and is in serious disrepair, the outside looks like steptoes yard there are fridges/freezers, rubbish, kids toys, broken furniture you name it, its out there. The family living in there are happy living in the state that its in and have no plans to leave. The owner wont do any maintenance to the property because he feels he doesn't need to, and he doesn't work so probably doesn't have anything other than benefit money which I don't imagine he would want to spend doing the place up when it could get taken off him if the other family members successfully contest the will.

There are only 2 bedrooms and one "living" space habitable in the house so the husband sleeps on the sofa which is directly opposite my living room and spends all day and night in there, he never leaves the house - has his mates round constantly and smokes weed all day and night (which his landlord sells to him)which seeps into my house due to obvious cavity/brickwork leaking problems.

My bedroom is directly above my living room so the shouting and noise I can hear when I go to bed.

I am trying to keep on the good side of them and keep friendly with them because they know I can hear them, I've lightheartedly commented on a few occasions that I heard their discussions about what they were having that night for tea so the woman that lives there knows I can hear them so getting on the wrong side of them could make it a whole lot worse... I have politely said I can hear them shouting and they've just shrugged it off and said well the kids are little bastards that's why I shout at them! - charming.....

I don't want to put anymore money into the house other than getting the windows sorted (I have someone coming out to look at them this week) so don't want to go down the road of having expensive sound proofing etc installed as it isn't always guaranteed to work anyway.

the way I feel at the moment I want to get all the little obvious jobs out of the way so that the damp under the windows is done then put it on the market but the way next door looks I cant see me selling it for anywhere near what I paid for it plus when people come round they will instantly be put off by next doors noise not to mention the state of it.

I have had a word with another resident in the street who knows the family of the house next door, and saw one of the contesters of the will recently who apparently stated "the will shall be blocked for as long as we can and he (current owner) will not be able to sell it for years yet as long as we have anything to do with it"

WWYD - stay and hope that at some point in the next 2 years the will does get released and the property will get sorted, or fix the window problems, wait til the summer and put it on the market and run for the hills? I'm guessing the state of the house next door is going to seriously devalue my property? My friends think I'm mad and that I will lose too much money selling and buying another and that I've put so much hard work and money in the property that I should stick it out but I just don't want to be there anymore..

No point calling council or anyone about the noise as the only ones that can hear them is me so they would know its me that's complained, plus I would have to declare it as a dispute when selling. I just really hate this house now it doesn't feel like home I dread going home! Last night I had to have my TV on that loud in my living room to keep above their noise I swear I've gone a bit deaf today!

Thanks if you have got this far!

Epilepsyhelp Tue 05-Jan-16 13:48:05

Oh good god. I don't know what to say <helpful> except that I would want to be out of there at any price but can you sell in good faith when you know all the issues? I have no idea what to suggest which doesn't involve huge expense in renevations or taking a big hit and selling low due to all the issues sad you poor thing flowers

JT05 Tue 05-Jan-16 13:55:45

Didn't want to read and run. Is there any comeback against your surveyor? A full survey should have alerted you to the seriousness of the damp problem.

As far as neighbours, we all could have people like this move in next to us. Only you living there can make the final decision. If the property increases in value due to general house prices, then you might not lose much.

Hope it all works out.

movingonup2015 Tue 05-Jan-16 14:18:46

Thanks both - cant really have anything against the surveyor as unless he ripped the carpet up in the dining room he would never have known that the floor was rotten unfortunately :-(

Annoyingly the damp under the windows doesn't happen in the summer which is when he surveyed the place, it only happens after about 3/4 days heavy rain. I know it will be awful for new buyers to face these problems but its either be totally honest and never ever sell the property (unless at a massive loss) or do what previous owners did and run knowing the problems were there...

I cant blame them really - they had probably had enough of the neighbours too albeit the problems were nowhere near as bad when they lived there - certainly not loads of rubbish outside like there is now and I suspect new boyfriend didn't live there because when I went round the three times there was never any noise next door and he never leaves the property so I'm guessing he just didn't live there then.

Sunnyshores Tue 05-Jan-16 15:16:12

Im guessing a big part of your decision is knowing how long you might have these neighbours. Rather than the problems with the house?

Im not sure contested wills can drag on forever? I would have thought its one court case "I deserve some of this inheritence" and a yes or no answer from the judge, then one appeal. Maybe someone who dies without a will would be more complicated with several "I deserve" cases going on. But 5 years already? You could see if any of the earlier hearings have been made public record. Perhaps your conveyancing solicitor would answer these simple questions for you.

How about calling public health about the rubbish outside and overgrown garden. That complaint could have come from anyone on the street.

movingonup2015 Tue 05-Jan-16 15:33:09

Sunnyshores - yes the problems with the house I would be prepared to either sort or live with if it weren't for the neighbours but the house problems are adding to my distress of not wanting to live there anymore and just adding the icing to the cake really...

Who would I call about the rubbish, environmental health? would they let me do that anonymously or would they have a duty to say "you are annoying your next door neighbour so get rid" for example?

With regards to the dispute I wasn't quite clear on that - the will has been blocked rather than disputed at the moment - the other family members are going to take the inherited owner to court but not yet, they are going to let it drag on for several years first apparently (cant see the logic there personally) so at the moment he is just blocked from selling it on.

LL doesn't care about this because hes getting rent from the property so LL isn't disputing anything, other family members aren't disputing anything (yet) just blocking him from doing anything so it could stay this way for years and years I assume until one of them decides to do something?

neepsandtatties Tue 05-Jan-16 15:47:33

Is renting the house out an option while you wait for the will to be sorted?

Bearbehind Tue 05-Jan-16 16:38:44

Renting the house out is a really really bad idea. You just transfer the problem to someone else but you are ultimately responsible for everything that goes wrong and tenants are not going to put up with damp etc.

Unfortunately I think you are going to have to ride it out for a while yet.

It doesn't take a genius to look at the short time you've owned the property and look at the state of next door and make an assumption on why you want to move so it's very unlikely you'd sell it.

I think you're just going to have to tackle the work needed on your house and see what the situation is next door when that's done.

Sunnyshores Tue 05-Jan-16 17:01:53

The Will is obviously the stalemate and you need to find out as much as poss about this and then try and force someones hand. I wouldnt have thought a court would just bar forever the sale of the house. Surely it would be stopped for x time or until x had done such and such. I think you can read the minutes (thats not the right word) of the court case.

LL/current owners motiation may be just the rent and he is lucky to have found someone to rent it in such a state - but the wannabe owner may only want to sell and if he were to hear of the decreasing daily value, he may do something.

Could you visit ll and explain your ficticious plans for doing up your house to a good standard and getting fantastic rent (ie loads more than he is currently getting).

Re environmental health, just tell them youre scared of neighbours and want it all in confidence.

WickedWax Tue 05-Jan-16 17:25:36

I think you need to pay the money to get the house up to standard and reassess in a year or two. That's what I'd do.

Or try and sell it without doing the work, and take one financial hit for the state of the house, and another for the state of next door.

You've really been let down by your surveyor, a full survey should have revealed the badly built extension (from what you've described, my DH would spot the drainage problem and he's not even in the building trade, just really good at DIY, etc) and the damp problem, and you'd be extremely lucky/sneaky to sell without the problems being picked up by a decent surveyor/being honest about the condition of the house.

lalalonglegs Tue 05-Jan-16 18:23:43

I think you would be happier if the house was in better order and, as you are unlikelyt o sell it in its current state, you should spend some money. Can you build cupboards along the party wa to deaden some of the noise? EH will investigate if next door is very unsightly - but it would have to be really dreadful for them to enforce. Get a builder to look at the drainage issue - they might have some imaginative solutions (could it be roofed over to stop rain getting in there???).

Good luck - bad neighbours are the pits but focus on what you can solve.

Bearbehind Tue 05-Jan-16 19:01:39

The Will is obviously the stalemate and you need to find out as much as poss about this and then try and force someones hand

How can you possibly find out about a will that is nothing to do with you or 'try and force someone's hand' when the situation is none of the OP's business? hmm

It sounds like the party's to the will can't 'force' the situation so a random stranger who's only connection is they happen to live next door will stand no chance.

FriendofBill Tue 05-Jan-16 19:08:41

Might not be much help, but sugar soap will get rid of the nicotine stains.


evrybuddy Tue 05-Jan-16 19:24:07

How are prices in your area? Are you in south east?

Do any superficial improvements that you can - anything simple or cheap and put it back on the market before Easter or sooner if you can't wait.

Life really is too short to liver miserably if you don't have to.

If people ask why you're selling so quick, just say you'd set out to be a developer/renovator but realised it wasn't for you.
Too hard, too dirty and too time-consuming.
You're happy for someone else to do the work and take the profits when it's done.

People will see the opportunity you saw.
They'll be glad to take advantage of what they see as your naivity.

Only you know the truth as it stands now, and for all you know the will and the neighbours could be sorted by next Christmas - not your problem - not your duty to sort out.

Not your profit if the next owner makes a packet but not your problem if they don't.

cooper44 Tue 05-Jan-16 19:29:48

I've got an extension with a very narrow gap to the boundary - probably a foot - and we have guttering from the courtyard behind than then runs along the boundary - you might not think you could put drainage in but I'd ask a builder as they might be able to get access from roof level.
I think if you report anything to the council it's on record and you'd then have to declare it - I've just done lots of research myself as I'm having a not dissimilar issue.
Agree with above about sugar soap - you can get rid of the grime and smell - it will just take time (and new carpets)
Sorry - it sounds like a nightmare. But the house at least sounds fixable.

Sunnyshores Tue 05-Jan-16 21:09:06

Bearbehind - such narrow minded thinking certainly wont get OP anywhere and criticising me for my input is downright rude. Sometimes you need to work smart not work hard.

Quodlibet Tue 05-Jan-16 21:22:20

Re the damp under the windows - if it only occurs when it rains (and is therefore rainwater getting in and not rising damp) it might not be too difficult or costly to sort. Could just be bad seals around the windows, or some blown pointing somewhere. FX!

Is there no comeback you can have against the vendors for misinformation during the sale? Was any of it in writing?

Bearbehind Tue 05-Jan-16 21:26:21

I wasn't trying to be rude sunnyshores, I'm genuinely interested in how you propose the OP finds out the details of the will and try's to force someone's hand.

movingonup2015 Tue 05-Jan-16 22:15:03

Thank you everyone for your replies and thanks for the comments about the sugar soap but unfortunately it didn't work for me. My poor mum spent her afternoon off with me scrubbing the cupboards with sugar soap and then I stood back afterwards and thought hmm still looks dirty so I scrubbed it with one of those magic eraser things and it was dark brown/orange! I ended up going through a stack of the erasers in the end but worth it now they are nice and clean (on the outside anyway but the insides won't budge)

It was in the property information form that there were no neighbour disputes which may have been totally true if they never complained (officially). Apparently the people that lived here did complain to next door about the amount of cat crap all over her flowerbeds (they have ten cats which I again didn't know until after purchase) but again it was never official.

I have called in a window doctor company to come out Friday and I'm praying they say Oh yes that's an easy fix lol wishful thinking maybe!

Thanks Cooper maybe you're right a builder might have a bright idea about how to sort it.
Had a friend pop round tonight to vent about my issues and she seems to think that once the windows are sorted someone may fall in love with the place as ive finished it to such a high standard internally and the rest of the houses in my area are very old fashioned inside, artex and anaglypta wallpaper everywhere, pink bathroom suites etc so thinks that might help when coming to sell perhaps.

I may have a friend ring the environment dept then so there wouldn't be any come back. It really is a disgrace and can't quite work out why no one else in my street hasn't reported them...

catbasilio Tue 05-Jan-16 23:23:21

Omg how tragic. If you do decide to sell I may be worthwhile to clear their front garden at your own cost and pay little sums to the neighbour to keep quiet on the viewing days. Sorry but it sounds so horrible that I would want to escape.

As for the house, if this is a long-term house I would do it up slowly. It has issues but it doesn't sound like falling apart, I am sure a good builder would be able to sort out.

So sorry to hear about your neighbours though.

Bearbehind Wed 06-Jan-16 07:02:16

it really is a disgrace and can't quite work out why no one else in my street hasn't reported them...

It's a catch 22 though isn't it- the people most affected by the state of the neighbours house are those who live right beside it and if they make any kind of official compliant they'd have to disclose that when they came to sell, likely putting off a potential buyer so, like your vendor, they put up with it and sell to someone without disclosing the facts.

Unless you live in a very slow area it's very likely you'll be able to sell in about a year but having only been in the house for 1 year and having an eyesore of a house next door is virtually guaranteed to ring alarm bells with potential buyers who will run for the hills unless the price reflects the risk.

Bearbehind Wed 06-Jan-16 07:04:31

Meant to add, have you tried uPVC solvent cleaner on the units- it stinks but I love the smell but there's not much it won't remove and the smell disappears- you can buy it on Ebay.

Bearbehind Wed 06-Jan-16 07:06:52

Make sure you wash the solvent cleaner off really well though cos its flammable!

VulcanWoman Wed 06-Jan-16 07:30:14

I would get in touch with a solicitor to see if you have any come back regarding the people you bought the house from basically covering up the state of the place/neighbours.

VulcanWoman Wed 06-Jan-16 07:33:05

They ticked the boxes in the legal pack to say no disputes/problems with neighbours which was a lie.

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