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interestrateripoff

£345K For A One Bed Flat, And A Builder Brings Down The Building

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3015425/A-suburban-nightmare-just-wanted-builder-create-little-extra-space-followed-rules-happened-child-blood.html

  • Ed Goldswain and Jacquie Hale bought a £345,000 one-bed flat in 2011
  • But when Jacquie became pregnant, they decided to extend the cellar
  • They had hoped to add an extra bedroom - but it was a disastrous decision
  • The work caused devastating cracks and the building had to be demolished
  • Led to a 29 month legal battle, three different homes - and its not over yet

....

In a few tumultuous minutes, the couple lost not only their home, but all of their possessions. Deeply shocked, and suddenly homeless, the seven-and-a-half months pregnant Jacquie was then taken to hospital — twice — after suffering early labour contractions.

So began a Kafka-esque nightmare which, in the ensuing 29 months, has seen them move between three temporary properties, while being forced to pay the mortgage on a home that no longer exists (the loan still has 21 years to run) and fight a string of legal battles related to the disaster.

Their life savings, built up via more than a decade of graft, have all but vanished. ‘You read about things like this, and think it couldn’t possibly happen to you,’ says Jacquie. ‘But the thing about this is that it could have happened to anyone.’

..

While Ed and Jacquie’s contents insurance covered the majority of their possessions, along with compensation claims brought against them by neighbours and the owners of the demolished upstairs flat, the two firms covering Mr Knott and 4 Stanhope Avenue refused to pay out.

‘The builder’s insurer claimed the policy was invalid because Knott had broken terms of it, due to the incompetent way he worked,’ says Jacquie.

‘The freeholder’s insurer rejected our claim because of a clause in the policy saying they weren’t liable if the building fell down of its own accord. Ridiculous though it sounds, they are still arguing that is what happened.’ The couple are now considering whether to pursue both insurance firms for the money it will take to reconstruct 4 Stanhope Avenue.

They may not be able to afford to chase the insurers, however. More than two years of legal bills, mortgage payments, and rent payments for their temporary homes have left them hundreds of thousands of pounds out of pocket.

£345k for a a one bed flat!!! Sounds like they really should have moved.

However you have to admire the insurance companies with this, incompetent work not covered and the other firm saying it fell down of it's own accord! If they have nothing is bankruptcy the best option for them?

Edited by interestrateripoff

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Haven't seen a crack that big since a fat girl in a mini skirt bent over to pick up her purse . . .

Looking at the couple photo, I can just hear the past arguments:

'Im not bringing up kids in this tiny sh1thole. Go and get a job as a hedge fund and buy me a biggr place'

'But dahling I only have a cse in arithmetic'

'Its not what you know. its who you know'

'OK, go and see that bloke in the pub who does DIY and ask if he knows anything about digging out cellars. All the posh people are having it done'.

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This is one of the funniest property stories going:

'When Mr Knott came round to see us, he seemed competent and legitimate, and wore a smart shirt with the firm’s logo on it,’ says Jacquie.'


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'The tale of woe begins in the summer of 2012, when the couple put their basement conversion out to tender via the website of the Federation of Master Builders, a trade body supposed to protect consumers from cowboy firms.



It was, on paper, a straightforward job. Several other identical properties, including the home next door, had carried out similar basement conversions in recent years. And five different building companies bid for the contract, including AIMS.'



So rather than knocking on a door, asking to look at a neighbours similar work and asking who did it, they put the work out to tender, got 5 responses and choose AMS. Wonder why they choose AMS?

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‘We did everything by the book,’ says Jacquie. ‘We had planning, buildings control, party-wall agreements.’


Apart from employing a cowboy builder FFS.

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£345 k for a 1 bedroom flat in Finchley in 2011!!!! I think they were trying to spend as much money as possible on the worst possible option. And she works in banking! These are the people in charge of our money!

Even in 2015 they could find several 2 bed flats in Finchley for less than £350k. Nuts, totally nuts.

Edited by fru-gal

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Now the flat owner upstairs has been paid off via their contents insurance... do they own the whole plot, or would it be part owned by the insurance company?

If it's the whole plot, it could be worth more than they paid for the flat anyway.

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So did the builder have professional all indemnity insurance? If they did you would have thought even incompetent work would be covered. If the former homemoaner can afford it they should sue the insurer and the builder. Insurance is almost legalised theft these days.

Edited by Ghostly

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If, for all the reasons that we're all sadly familiar with, what was once a very nice, albeit not top-end semi wasn't sub-divided, crammed with as many units as possible, and used as the family home that it was originally and brilliantly designed for.....People wouldn't need to be digging out basements in the first place. Am I missing something?

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Now the flat owner upstairs has been paid off via their contents insurance... do they own the whole plot, or would it be part owned by the insurance company?

If it's the whole plot, it could be worth more than they paid for the flat anyway.

It was a leasehold.

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‘In fact, the reason we came late to starting a family is that I’d sacrificed relationships for my career. When I met Ed, I finally decided to take a less stressful job, and have a life.’

What you mean is, darling, you'd found a beta male willing to support you after you'd started to lose your looks and the city party circuit wasn't so welcoming.

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If, for all the reasons that we're all sadly familiar with, what was once a very nice, albeit not top-end semi wasn't sub-divided, crammed with as many units as possible, and used as the family home that it was originally and brilliantly designed for.....People wouldn't need to be digging out basements in the first place. Am I missing something?

The loony left and greens always did want us to all live in tiny pods.

Tories seem to like the idea too. We'll end up with a few undertaxed mansions and the huddled masses in an 8th of an old 2-up 2-down

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If, for all the reasons that we're all sadly familiar with, what was once a very nice, albeit not top-end semi wasn't sub-divided, crammed with as many units as possible, and used as the family home that it was originally and brilliantly designed for.....People wouldn't need to be digging out basements in the first place. Am I missing something?

Yes, I think people who say 'there's no shortage of houses, if there was a shortage there'd be homeless people everywhere' have no idea of how far younger people (especially in London/SE) are having to compromise/cope. Many 2 storey semis and terraced houses have been split into seriously compromised flats so now you have 2 families living in a space that was designed and built for one family 80+ years ago.

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But you did not check his insurance or whether he was competent. Just his shirt + logo.

Before signing a contract for the initial build, which involved lowering the cellar floor by a metre, creating two light-wells, underpinning and waterproofing the internal walls, Ed and Jacquie spoke with previous AIMS clients, to check its credentials.

They inspected Knott’s insurance policy, and had it amended in order to cover exactly the sort of structural work the project would entail. Jacquie even spoke personally with the insurer to confirm that the policy would cover him for the job.

They also informed the freeholder, who oversaw a separate buildings insurance for the flat, and checked the forthcoming project would not invalidate the policy.

‘We did everything by the book,’ says Jacquie. ‘We had planning, buildings control, party-wall agreements.’

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'Im not bringing up kids in this tiny sh1thole. Go and get a job as a hedge fund and buy me a biggr place'

Prior to the disaster, they had worked tirelessly to gain their foothold on the property ladder. Ed had a good job in marketing and Jacquie had just spent a decade with a major investment bank, in a role that required punishing hours.

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Yes, I think people who say 'there's no shortage of houses, if there was a shortage there'd be homeless people everywhere' have no idea of how far younger people (especially in London/SE) are having to compromise/cope. Many 2 storey semis and terraced houses have been split into seriously compromised flats so now you have 2 families living in a space that was designed and built for one family 80+ years ago.

Yes, I think people who say 'there's no shortage of houses, if there was a shortage there'd be homeless people everywhere' have no idea of how far younger people (especially in London/SE) are having to compromise/cope. Many 2 storey semis and terraced houses have been split into seriously compromised flats so now you have 2 families living in a space that was designed and built for one family 80+ years ago.

+1

Its not just the homeless, its the underhoused. Youngish couple across the road from me, two kids, both seem to work all hours god sends and are condemned to a lifetime of living in a barely 500sq modernish terrace.

Then there are all the housesharers...people living with parents, living with house mates.

Trouble is, we seem to be completely unbothered by it...frankly im surprised the birth rate hasnt collapsed given the amount of people I know living in conditions its basically impossible to start a family.

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‘In fact, the reason we came late to starting a family is that I’d sacrificed relationships for my career. When I met Ed, I finally decided to take a less stressful job, and have a life.’

What you mean is, darling, you'd found a beta male willing to support you after you'd started to lose your looks and the city party circuit wasn't so welcoming.

I do like the "we'd" part....He obviously had no say in the matter...or didn't force the issue; for a quiet life...

If she went bankrupt, I take it she couldn't go back into banking...

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If they didn't own the freehold, I'm not sure how they were able to get agreement to convert the basement. Did they even have planning permission?

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+1

Its not just the homeless, its the underhoused. Youngish couple across the road from me, two kids, both seem to work all hours god sends and are condemned to a lifetime of living in a barely 500sq modernish terrace.

Then there are all the housesharers...people living with parents, living with house mates.

Trouble is, we seem to be completely unbothered by it...frankly im surprised the birth rate hasnt collapsed given the amount of people I know living in conditions its basically impossible to start a family.

But it has collapsed amongst the white middle classes (am I allowed to say that?). Birth rates are increasing amongst immigrants, the Muslim population has doubled or tripled since 2001. All those free benefits if you don't work, have no work ethic and you value having more children to progress your religion/race above anything else.

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If they didn't own the freehold, I'm not sure how they were able to get agreement to convert the basement. Did they even have planning permission?

According to the Wail article they had planning permission and approval from the freeholder. There's no real reason the freeholder would object that I can think of.

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But it has collapsed amongst the white middle classes (am I allowed to say that?). Birth rates are increasing amongst immigrants, the Muslim population has doubled or tripled since 2001. All those free benefits if you don't work, have no work ethic and you value having more children to progress your religion/race above anything else.

Not sure of the class breakdown, but it wasnt significantly (any?) higher in white groups in the 90s when housing was far more affordable, and most houses hadnt been subdivided...nor is it any higher in germany or other european nations with less costly housing.

I think its just peoples expectations have been managed down. Whereas previously people wanted a garden for their kid to play outside in, they now accept not having one...i guess the Wii does all that.

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So rather than knocking on a door, asking to look at a neighbours similar work and asking who did it, they put the work out to tender, got 5 responses and choose AMS. Wonder why they choose AMS?

Because they could start the work first....

It seems the builder is quite lucky that the collapse didn't happen at night as he might now be residing in one of Her Maj's finest long term hotels.

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Yes, I think people who say 'there's no shortage of houses, if there was a shortage there'd be homeless people everywhere' have no idea of how far younger people (especially in London/SE) are having to compromise/cope. Many 2 storey semis and terraced houses have been split into seriously compromised flats so now you have 2 families living in a space that was designed and built for one family 80+ years ago.

Or victorian 3 storey townhouses divided up into 3-4 flats. Speaking from previous personal experience: family with kids in a 3 bed flat, family with one kid in a 2 bed flat, couple in a one bed flat, and finally muggins in the other one bed. If it had a basement with natural daylight another flat would have been crammed in. So you've got 10 people crammed into a house designed for probably 2 adults and 3 children (the average at the time).

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Or victorian 3 storey townhouses divided up into 3-4 flats. Speaking from previous personal experience: family with kids in a 3 bed flat, family with one kid in a 2 bed flat, couple in a one bed flat, and finally muggins in the other one bed. If it had a basement with natural daylight another flat would have been crammed in. So you've got 10 people crammed into a house designed for probably 2 adults and 3 children (the average at the time).

And there are plenty of single or couple pensioners living in 4, 5, 6 bedroom houses with large gardens that were bought for peanuts decades ago. I think it's funny people complain that kids don't play out anymore. Where are kids supposed to play when they live in small flats with no gardens? No wonder so many are confined to playing on the computer etc.

Edited by fru-gal

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