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Mis-sold a house!

(76 Posts)
Folicky Wed 21-Aug-19 01:45:37

I have recently bought a new build house from a builder.
I had it entered as an ‘agreed extra’ in the contract of sale that the builder would put some flooring in the attic for storage purposes.
I did not know nor did the builder tell me that strictly speaking this was not possible. Nor did he tell me that if he did put any flooring down, he would have to remove the insulation and it would invalidate any guarantees against the property/roof with NHBC for example.
Now 5 weeks after we completed, he is coming out with this horse shit.
He completely strung me along during the process…oh I can’t put the floor in yet, the insulation needs to be inspected, the insulation has only just been inspected so I’ll start on it now. I’ll do it while you’re on holiday etc etc. Anything to push this into the long grass and after the completion date. I did not check that he had done this prior to completion because there were several other things to check and he caused a huge drama on the day of completion about my solicitor not getting back to his in a timely enough manner. I clocked this as a smokescreen for something at the time and withheld some money in order to provide him with an incentive to finish some other small things he was supposed to so….but to was all to high drama and confusing to be able to really decipher what was going on.
Anyway now that I’m back from holiday he has only put in 3 planks of wood which he says is the flooring in the attic. When I challenged him on it he said, that was all he could do because the roof cannot take much load and it would indemnify any guarantees I had….and he would have to lift the insulation which is not ideal. However at NO TIME did he mention this prior to completion and indeed I had him laying flooring in the attic for storage purposes written into the contract of sale. However the fact that this is written into the contract of sale seems inconsequential to him and does not seem to be a threat/impetus.
Anyhows I’ve checked it with building controls and what the builder has now told me (after completion) is accurate. The attic has a truss rafter (w shaped) roof and is not designed for use as a storage space. Also it is against building control/regs to remove insulation or compress it (this makes it 50% less effective.
My position therefore, after substantial investment in this new build detached house is…..
I wouldn’t have bought if the attic could not be floored. It is one of the things I asked about early on, if I could get a storage floor put in.
I would not have bought the house if I’d have known that storing things in the attic would make me lose my guarantees on the house. Who would accept this? Having everything under guarantee is one of the reasons for buying a new build house.
I would not have bought the house if I’d have known that putting storage flooring in the attic would mean removing the insulation, when lower running costs were another central reason for moving into a new build home
I have paid for a home with modern insulation, that is guaranteed and that has storage.
It is a bit like buying a house with a garage and being told all along you can use it for storage only to find out after you have bought it that this is impossible or it would only be possible if you traded the storage aspect in for a less well insulated house or one without normal home builders’ council guarantees. There was NO mention of any conditions being put on the contracted agreement to put in flooring in the attic for storage purposes prior to the completion of sale (of the house).
It is apparent that the builder has strung me along to believe that he was going to put flooring in the attic for storage purposes with a series of deliberate and calculated lies designed to push this issue to after completion of the house sale. When I asked why he had not put down the flooring 2 week prior to sale completion, he said that the insulation needed to be inspected first and the flooring put down afterwards, when I asked again about this he said that the insulation had just been inspected the day previously and he was doing it now. When I noticed after completion that he had not done it (in the midst of the news of the leak and the various other things that he didn’t do) he told me he would do it while I was away on holiday. When I came back he had put down 3 planks of plywood around the attic door which wouldn’t hold a few suitcases and a Christmas tree.
WTF can I do?
Has anyone been in this or a similar position?
Can I sue him for mis-selling or breach of contract?
The building Control officer said that raised batons would need to be put down to raise the height of the floor so that the insulation would not be compressed and that, at the owner’s own risk, flooring could be put down in a large middle section of the house if desired. However as I am only finding out all of this deception now (5 weeks after moving in), I have spent any spare cash on blinds and furniture – so I haven’t got the oney to put this right in the meantime if I have to sue.
And also WTF (where W = why) should I even think about this when I have been consistently deceived and filibustered with drama, guff and tripe….When I cannot tell you how many conversations I had with the builder about the attic storage, what I was going to put there, how important it was to me, the fact that I was going to put up shelves (which I’ve bought) that I tended to buy older sizes of clothes for DC in the sales and wanted to keep them in the attic, etc, etc, etc.
I’m passed myself.
Any advice welcome.

OP’s posts: |
chopc Wed 21-Aug-19 06:06:50

What does your solicitor say?

BookwormMe2 Wed 21-Aug-19 06:38:07

Most loft floors use raised batons because of the depth of insulation these days. Check if that won't invalidate any guarantees you have - I bet it wouldn't. It might be a better solution than a costly legal battle? Presumably you love the rest of the house and would rather not move too? Get the builder to pay for it though!

Jessbow Wed 21-Aug-19 06:58:56

Were you really expecting the builder to change the design of the property to incorporate different roof trusses to increase the area availible to use as storage?

Sounds like he has done what he can with the space availible, if reluctantly.

You cannot just compress insulation with loft boards. Your expectation might be unrealistic.

Mileysmiley Wed 21-Aug-19 07:02:55

I have a floor in my attic and I didn't need to raise the battons .. I'll check this out for you.

BookwormMe2 Wed 21-Aug-19 07:04:00

Were you really expecting the builder to change the design of the property to incorporate different roof trusses to increase the area availible to use as storage?

That's not what the OP said. She checked and checked and double-, triple- checked that it was possible and the builder said yes and even wrote it into the contract!

Mileysmiley Wed 21-Aug-19 07:04:28

I just read this on another site

Mileysmiley Wed 21-Aug-19 07:06:07

I have loads of heavy stuff in my attic and the ceiling and joists are fine btw (no sagging)

Mileysmiley Wed 21-Aug-19 07:08:26

I got my loft boarding quite cheaply from B & Q it is chipboard and very strong.

SciFiRules Wed 21-Aug-19 07:10:46

The design of new build houses is poor in many respects. They are well insulated but the rooves are lightweight, the joists tend to be nothing more than OSB and batten (given the fancy name "engineered") which are not resistant long term. It sounds as though the builder was dong his best and trying to appease you whilst protecting your guarantees.

BookwormMe2 Wed 21-Aug-19 07:14:54

We loft boarded like that too, Miley! The problem OP has now is that if she squishes down the insulation she knowingly invalidates her NHBC guarantee. Raised boards using batons are her best option.

cortex10 Wed 21-Aug-19 07:21:12

As @scifirules says - modern houses don't tend to have strong enough rafters to take the weight of lots of stored items as previously. They no longer tend to have water tanks in the roof so don't need to be as strong. DS is in the process of buying a new build which is how we found out. He was also told it would invalidate the NHBC warranty if he tries to board it.

HeyThereSummerRain Wed 21-Aug-19 07:29:56

There are lots of systems to place a raised floor in the attic to enable you to board it without squashing down the insulation.

I will confess my attic is the W style one, my house was built in 1999 and I have stored a load of stuff up there. I mean, a LOT.

We boarded it out when we moved in 10 years ago before the whole increased insulation thing kicked in.

The joists are not flooring joists though so I am mindful that they are are not as thick as a flooring joists. I just distribute the weight around. My boards are not only down the middle section but also go left and right a bit but not all the way to the eaves.

But your builder can board it with a raised floor like this

Did you get anything from him in writing? Did you not specify this to the solicitor for completion?

Birdsfoottrefoil Wed 21-Aug-19 07:34:57

The loft/rafters may not be strong enough but surely that is the whole problem - the builder agreed to floor the loft for storage. By agreeing to this he should have been aware of the implications of what he had agreed and adjusted the build accordingly - strengthening the rafters if necessary and raised batons. If this was going to eat into his profits unduly then he shouldn’t have agreed to it.

ivykaty44 Wed 21-Aug-19 07:40:30

What did your survey say?

CuriousaboutSamphire Wed 21-Aug-19 07:42:39

Go back to your solicitor wit the string of emails etc and get them to start the process, any process, of getting that man to meet the obligations of his job.

Good luck

wowfudge Wed 21-Aug-19 07:44:43

The answer is in your OP: I did not check that he had done this prior to completion because there were several other things to check. When you buy a house it is on the basis buyer beware. Buyers will always be advised to check prior to exchange that everything is as they expect it to be.

You may be able to find a solution now, but I very much doubt you have any come back against the builder.

MaybeitsMaybelline Wed 21-Aug-19 07:45:51

I had a truss roof, the whole lot was cut out and steel girders craned in when we had the loft converted. All the joists were replaced and insulation changed. It seems like you were hoping to use it more as an occasional room than what I would define as storage, which would probably be a couple of suitcases and a Christmas tree!

I suspect your builder didn’t know he couldn’t do what he promised at first then fobbed you off. I think at best all you can do is perhaps take him to court, see a solicitor?

TempleCloud Wed 21-Aug-19 07:47:46

You should speak to your solicitor, especially as you say this was in your contract. If he can't deliver the floor he is in breach of contract. He is a builder so should have known this was not possible.

You should be entitled for damages for breach. I'd argue that the cost should be sufficient to pay for equivalent storage at a storage unit plus a bit for the inconvenience of having to travel to it. Your solicitor can advise.

BenWillbondsPants Wed 21-Aug-19 07:49:12

The point is not whether it's unrealistic to floor the loft. The point is that builder deceived the OP from the get go. OP, I'm not sure what you can do about this. A friend bought a new build the builder had lied and lied and lied to her about a particular aspect of the build. She was all over social media about it and in the end the builder did fix the issue, but I'm not sure there's much you can do in your case.

itwasalovelydreamwhileitlasted Wed 21-Aug-19 07:51:02

He is factually correct that in new build houses it invalidates warranties if you board the trusses to be able to walk on them/storage etc as the loading calculations don't take into account all the stuff you're likely to put in there and also insulation isn't designed to be covered over like that as it needs air flow around them

That being said practically we all do it.....I'd ask him for a credit for the works he hasn't done - wait 6 months and then get a company in to do it or do it yourself (it's pretty easy)

OliviaCat Wed 21-Aug-19 07:51:08

As others have said, this is pretty normal for new builds. You need an older house for storage.

What do you need to store? Can you use a garage or something else?

I think you need to come to terms with this somehow. There is always something when you buy a house but you need to move on.

thedancingbear Wed 21-Aug-19 07:51:34

Solicitor with full facts of the matter, copy of the contract, email and text exchanges etc. No brainer.

You may well have a claim here (no-one can tell you without full facts and supporting evidence). What I will say is that it is unlikely to have a defence on the basis that he's undertaken to do something that it turns out is not practicable.

You've tried to sort amicably, he's told you to fuck off. This is the natural next step.

itwasalovelydreamwhileitlasted Wed 21-Aug-19 07:52:54

Also it's not really miss selling ....presumably you didn't buy the property only because of the potential storage space in the loft

LizzieSiddal Wed 21-Aug-19 07:53:42

IWhen you buy a house it is on the basis buyer beware.*

Surely not if something is specifically written into the contract or stated in the sellers pack? A buyer can’t be expected to check every single aspect of a house!

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