What a Stitch Up!

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Repossession : One Thread

I purchased a property back in 1988. Two years later the balconies on some of the properties collapsed. The property value plunged from 40k down to 9k. Some 10 years or more later and the properties just about scrape 20k. I have lived with this nightmare for over 10 years now and the Halifax refuse to do anything to repair the damage that this has done to my life and many others. We have lived with the worry of repossession day in and day out . Were many have walked away, many have carried on paying even though they will never ever redeem the value of the mortgage back. I now live with my new wife and have to try and lease the property out. Because the decline in the area due to the neglect and the many people who have left, it is hard to get a tenant to occupy the property. I have now been forced into a corner like many others in this area. Either carry on leasing with 'bad' tenants, repairing the damage, not getting the rent paid - or simply hand the property back. This is so unfair as the defect was no ones fault and should have been picked up by the valuations/surveys Halifax had done to ensure the properties were worth their value. There are over 240 properties within the area all in the same predicament. To add insult to injury ONLY Halifax will give mortgages on the properties, a bit of a coincidence considering Halifax own 90% of the properties! Can you PLEASE help as Halifax have sat on there back sides all this time while honest people like myself are trying to do the right thing. I am now at the point of throwing the keys back as there is no point continuing with this mess. Halifax are just not interested. I now have a property with my new wife which has considerable equity but the house was my wife's when I met her. I have recently been added to the mortgage. I do not wish to have this property sold as it really is not mine to sell. I have contacted the Halifax and informed them that over 14 years of owning the property I have paid back over 42k of a 36k mortgage and the property would still sell for about 20k and I am awaiting their response. I am really annoyed as I am being forced into this situation and there seems no way out and none of it is my fault! It would be ok if I could sell the property but they must be the only properties in the UK that have not increased in value in the last 10 years. Any advice would be welcomed. Can I be made bankrupt?

-- Deviate (deviate2@hotmail.com), September 07, 2002


I sympathise greatly with your predicament, but I can't agree with your accusation that the Halifax are liable for the defective construction of the balcony on your property. The survey that lenders carry out is simply done in order to assure themselves that the property is adequate security against the money they are lending, and if you read the small print you will see that the their survey does not claim to be a structural survey and that the responsibility for carrying out a structural survey is yours as the borrower / purchaser. Did you commission an independent surveyors report at the time of purchase? If you did then you may be able to claim for negligence against the surveyor. Another potential route to obtain compensation would be to sue the builder or designers of the property assuming that you can trace them. I find it hard to believe that a defect common to over 240 properties is no-ones' fault!

-- Gordon Bennet (arsenewhinger@hotmail.com), September 09, 2002.

So what do you suggest??

-- (deviate2@hotmail.com), September 09, 2002.

I would imagine that it depends on the age of the property as to who is at fault, a good place to start might be with your local health and safety officer [details available at your local council] if the building is ex council they should have a file on it also if others have had problems it has probably been reported to them before. Steve.

-- Steve. (powerhousesteve@aol.com), September 09, 2002.

Everyone blames everyone else. The properties had a life span of 25 yaers so the builder says and the property was 28 years old when I purchased. I was not told this information. The developer blames the builder Halifax blames the developer. The developer asys he only sold the land not the houses. Halifax gave loans on properties that were beyond there' sell by date' and have totally washed their hands of any blame. If anyone has any suggestions I would be very VERY happy!

What would most people do? Walk or carry on paying?

-- (deviate2@hotmail.com), September 09, 2002.

If the builder stated for the record and you have it in writing that the properties had a life span of twenty five years and if the vendor knew this then the case is clear cut.If this is the case then I would imagine the trading standards would give you some advice,being not fit for the purpose etc.I think you might however find that the builder will not make this statement in writing and you might find it easier to engage someone who deals with planning to check on the original spec for the building.I would be inclined to record any conversations with the builder etc[a phone recorder can be purchased from most electronics companies Maplins etc]You might find it a lot cheaper and easier to get a number of the flats owners together and get the opinion of a decent solicitor.

-- Steve. (powerhousesteve@aol.com), September 10, 2002.

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