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Burst pipes after freeze in a house I'm buying.
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# 1
Entertainer
Old 25-03-2010, 10:14 PM
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Default Burst pipes after freeze in a house I'm buying.

I am in the process of buying a house and just before we exchanged the vendors left the heating off in January (it is empty) and it froze up and all the pipes leaked. They've had two dehumidifiers going for a couple of weeks at least but despite this, there is mould on the walls still and on the plasterboard under the floorboards. The damp meter goes off the scale. The floorboards upstairs are warped and need replacing, all the carpets are spoiled (they would probably be replaced anyway) and I'm not sure about the plasterboard.

I've had three builders down and none of them are giving me any definitive answers about what it would cost. I imagine it would take months(?) to dry out. I've negotiated 10k off the price but am beginning to wonder what the full extent of this could be. Someone told me that they heard of a friend who had frozen pipes and they had a bill of 45,000!!!

If anyone has any experience of this, I'd be grateful for their input.
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# 2
getmore4less
Old 25-03-2010, 10:39 PM
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Did you exchange?

If not don't,
get them to fix with your guys checking so no cover up

or walk

Hope you are insured if you did exchange.


We had a small leak and it traversed over 20 foot through the structure still found some evidence months later when we moved a bit of carpet.
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# 3
Entertainer
Old 25-03-2010, 10:46 PM
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Not exchanged yet (likely in the next couple of days.)
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# 4
g_attrill
Old 26-03-2010, 1:38 AM
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Where was the leak and how much got wet, was it one corner of the house or did it run out across the whole floor area?

Are the vendors able to pay the full repair costs? Have their insurance agreed to cover everything? If so then sit tight until it's all done to your satisfaction. If not and they can't afford to pay then I think you would want to knock quite a lot more off to be sure. If the plaster has been soaked then it will need to be replaced (maybe back to the bricks?!), the ceilings might need replacing, possibly light fittings or sockets?
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# 5
lesley74
Old 26-03-2010, 8:22 AM
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Default Leak

House we are hoping to buy had burst pipes over the xmas/ny period. The owners had been away and the boiler had either failed or was off. So the boiler needed replaced, and a shower room floor had to be lifted, and the hall and living rooms ceilings got replaced (decent crack in them). I did see dehumidifiers sitting there (unplugged as if they were due to be taken away) when we first viewed. There was no smell of dampness or any visual sign of the water, so I assume it is now all ok???

Don't frighten me now guys..... Maybe some leaks are worse than others?
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# 6
olly300
Old 26-03-2010, 8:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Entertainer View Post
Not exchanged yet (likely in the next couple of days.)

Phone your solicitor up now and tell them the problem.

Also state you won't exchange until they pay for the damage.
I'm not cynical I'm realistic

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# 7
poppysarah
Old 26-03-2010, 8:28 AM
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Find another one or leave it until they've sorted it.
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# 8
silvercar
Old 26-03-2010, 9:17 AM
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Your mortgage lender may also have a view.
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# 9
PamVegas
Old 26-03-2010, 10:40 AM
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The exact same thing happened to us and we have pulled out and moved into rented so as to not lose our buyers who were ftb's and still wanting our house. The leak was found the day before exchange and when we saw the property the week after the ceilings were still wet in some rooms and the walls were very damaged and going mouldy already. Vendor didnt want to go through insurance and wanted to get it fixed himself without our approval so we werent willing to risk it. We took alot of pictures and sent them to a builder friend who said the plaster walls needed pulling out back to joists to check they hadnt been damaged badly by the water. The vendor supposedly finished the work within two weeks which there is no way he has done it properly. So glad we hadnt exchanged.
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# 10
Estate Agent
Old 26-03-2010, 10:53 AM
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Don't exchange. The vendors are liable and it is down to them to make good. The two worst things in a house are fire and water. At least with fire you can see what is damaged, the same is not true with water. This is an insurance job for the vendors. If they are unwilling to play ball walk away from the property and find another. Drying out can take months.

Take at look at this article:

http://www.jugglefrogs.co.uk/news/flooded-house/
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# 11
googler
Old 26-03-2010, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silvercar View Post
Your mortgage lender may also have a view.
Exactly. Have you spoken with them to establish if they're still willing to lend, or whether they want a re-inspection after drying out, etc etc...?
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# 12
GDB2222
Old 26-03-2010, 11:37 AM
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When it dries out a lot of the woodwork warps. You need new floors, maybe new joists, a new staircase ... Plaster gets contaminated and has to be hacked off. A colleague had this problem, They were out of the house for 12 months whilst work was done, and I think the total bill was over 100k.

Your vendors have insurance, and you may be able to negotiate taking over their insurance claim rights as part of the purchase, but how is that going to compensate you for all the distress?

This is a disaster for your vendors, but don't get suckered into letting it become a disaster for you. Unless the damage is far less than you have made it sound, you'd have to be completely bonkers to continue with the purchase.
No reliance should be placed on the above! Absolutely none, do you hear?
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# 13
Barneysmom
Old 26-03-2010, 11:39 AM
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Do not exchange. Walk away.
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# 14
googler
Old 26-03-2010, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barneysmom View Post
Do not exchange. Walk away.
Tempted to agree. It's the vendor's lack of attention that led to the problem in the first place, It's still their house. It's their problem.

Find yourself another that hasn't been flooded.
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# 15
Entertainer
Old 26-03-2010, 4:32 PM
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Thanks guys. I don't have a mortgage. Thing is, the place needs refurbishment anyway- new kitchen, central heating, electrics probably, bathrooms, carpets, some new partition walls. Obviously it wouldn't have needed to have new floorboards and plasterboard. So it's not a case of it being a "normal" house you'd be looking for them to put back to how it was before the water damage. I'm not even sure their insurance would cover them, it is a family selling the parental home and it's been empty for ages and they were obviously very cavalier about not putting any heating on or draining down the water. There are not many similar properties around as an alternative that I know of; there was a bit of a discount anyway to take account of the work that was required pre water burst.

The leak itself seems to be upstairs and most of the upstairs floorboards are warped. The plasterboard has mould growing on it at one end of the house which was the worst affected. All the carpets have been removed downstairs to reveal the solid floors underneath which seem to have that black bitumen like stuff on it(tanking??)The agent who is supposed to be reputable is saying it's just a "burst pipe" which they've had other instances of recently and that it is not too much of a problem and would dry out with some dehumidifiers going. The agent is also saying that they had viewings booked for Monday (the property was put back on the market when they turned down my revised offer which they later decided to accept) and basically I was now getting a good buy and needed to proceed now.

I don't know what to believe really.

Last edited by Entertainer; 26-03-2010 at 4:36 PM.
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# 16
GDB2222
Old 26-03-2010, 4:56 PM
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Well, of course the estate agent will down-play it. If the house was unoccupied the water may have been running for days. That's different from having the basin overflowing for 2 minutes.

At the very least, do yourself a favour and get a surveyor in to advise you.

Just think for a minute - warped floorboards may mean warped joists. Warped joists may mean renewing ceilings. The electrics may need replacement. As I said before, maybe a new staircase.

Anyway, you are in a better position to judge than anyone else here on MSE, as we haven't seen the property. If it were me, I'd probably be looking for some tens of thousands off the previously-agreed price, else I'd walk.

You seem to be looking for someone to tell you that it's fine to go ahead, so let me do that for you: 'Go ahead'. Feel better now? But do bear in mind my sig.
No reliance should be placed on the above! Absolutely none, do you hear?
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# 17
Entertainer
Old 26-03-2010, 5:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GDB2222 View Post
Well, of course the estate agent will down-play it. If the house was unoccupied the water may have been running for days. That's different from having the basin overflowing for 2 minutes.

At the very least, do yourself a favour and get a surveyor in to advise you.

Just think for a minute - warped floorboards may mean warped joists. Warped joists may mean renewing ceilings. The electrics may need replacement. As I said before, maybe a new staircase.

Anyway, you are in a better position to judge than anyone else here on MSE, as we haven't seen the property. If it were me, I'd probably be looking for some tens of thousands off the previously-agreed price, else I'd walk.

You seem to be looking for someone to tell you that it's fine to go ahead, so let me do that for you: 'Go ahead'. Feel better now? But do bear in mind my sig.
Thanks. I appreciate only I can really decide this as you guys haven't seen it but all this input is very useful.
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# 18
getmore4less
Old 26-03-2010, 6:31 PM
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Since it is a refurb job anyway get them to agree to stripping out all the obviously damaged stuff, this will make it easer to see if there is any more damage

Also make the drying process quicker since you can get the blowers to areas that are currenly covered.
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# 19
Estate Agent
Old 27-03-2010, 10:09 AM
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Walk away from it. The EA is an idiot and doesn't know what he is talking about. I bought a property in similar circumstances and had to spend 70k to get it habitable for my family. I even had the local council come out and declare it unfit for human habitation so that I didn't have to pay council tax.

The difference is that I was buying it knowing exactly what was wrong with it. I hadn't fallen in love with it and then watched it become hazardous to health. It took me a full year to get my property sorted out.

And I repeat, the EA is an idiot and doesn't know what he is talking about.
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# 20
joolley
Old 27-03-2010, 10:23 AM
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It may be a refurb job , yes. But it would be far less of a refurb job if their insurers made good all that water damage. You may just have to paint!
Keep it simple and you will find the middle way.
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