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Cannot sell house due to Hoarder next door

edited 29 March 2014 at 6:22PM in House buying, renting & selling
144 replies 24.6K views
shot_down_in_flamesshot_down_in_flames Forumite
49 Posts
edited 29 March 2014 at 6:22PM in House buying, renting & selling
Hi, I am a newbie to MSE forums which seems vast so I hope that I have landed at the right spot! (please let me know if not).
The situation i have is currently making me ill as unsure how to resolve it.
In July 2013 I bought as a cash sale but through an estate agent a semi detatched house in need of major renovation - it semed like a good price at the time especially as my husbands capabilities and experience made the renovation work less costly. It was and still is an empty property.
At the time I was 50 / 50 as to what todo with the property once renovations were complete, ie sell on or rent out.
Whilst I was aware at time of purchase that the adjoining neighbours house seemed a little odd as in gnomes and plastic windmills in the garden and the net curtains somewhat unclean I had no idea that they were serial hoarders!
In December 2013 I decided to place the house on the market rather than rent as financially due to sudden unemployment I needed to recoup my money quickly. In early march I had an acceptable offer from a buyer and legal work proceeded only to find 2 weeks later that the buyer pulled out - due to NEXT DOOR!
Reason being was that once the neighbour knew I had a buyer he started to spill the house contents into the back garden and side driveway so with that happening who would want to continue with the purchase?
Its all in black plastic bags so contents not visible as such but it clearly shows a problem neighbour as there is so many bags!
All viewings before this empty sale and after have shown thro agents feedback that - 'house lovely' but next door a problem!.
My husband & I have spoken repeatedly to the neighbours who are elderly so have to be very carefull not to distress and explained our plight - the gentleman of the pair agreed to have a skip to rid the gardens of rubbish as 'he was sick of it too' only to find 2 days after arranging this that his wife has insisted it was taken back out again and he did as he was told!
Current situ is that we have contacted our local council EH service and were told we would receive a call from an officer next day - that was thursday last week - no call!
The gentleman has now rang our estate agent to say he wants the skip removed - it has about 10 bags in it so barely scraping the bottom!.
I do not know how to proceed further to end this nightmare as i cannot afford to pay this coming years council tax on the property and insurance with no job! Council say that its an empty property currently being marketed so no reduction on council tax is applicable.
Will i get anywhere by contacting Social Services as the adjoining property is a fire risk to the elderly occupants and our property as due to the rummage which is ceiling high they have had no hot water or heating for 2 years as British gas will not entertain carrying out work unless the place / pathways are clear and we know that they are using paraffin heaters for warmth.
Please do not think that I am a regular property developer - this purchase was simply a bricks / mortar investment from a monetory inheritance from my late Mother given savings interest rates are so low..
can somebody profesional or amateur please advise??
ooh the virtues of hindsight


  • pmlindyloopmlindyloo Forumite
    13K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Similar thread here:

    On the one hand you have to have sympathy with your neighbours as people who are hoarders are often mentally ill and on the other hand I have a great deal of sympathy for you.

    Does seem strange that the problem wasn't apparent when you bought the property which may be a good thing as they may not be hoarders just people who don't want new neighbours!

    One other route to take. Do you know if the couple have family living near by - does anyone visit for example? You might have more luck getting something done if you can get one of the family members 'on side'. At the very least, you might get more knowledge of what the problem is.
  • - it semed like a good price at the time

    There's your answer. You need to market it for what "seems like a good price at the time" and hope another you comes along.
  • edited 29 March 2014 at 7:03PM
    I_have_spokenI_have_spoken PPR
    5.1K Posts
    edited 29 March 2014 at 7:03PM
    From the TV programmes about 'hoarder next door' you are in a pickle and no mistake.

    If you sold at auction, you could set a reserve price so at least you broke even on the deal. Auction buyers may not take such care in assessing the situation.

    EH are really only much use if the rubbish is causing rats etc. then they can enforce clearance IIRC.

    Sadly an Englishman's home is his castle, even if he's a loony tunes.
  • Thank you for your swift reply - I already realise that one if not two of the couple are mentally ill as obviously due to this situation I have looked online and obviously saw the documentaries on TV. Unfortunately while I realise this may be the situation - it doesnt help me resolve my problem - I have a house i need to sell and cannot unless at severe loss due to this!
    I have never seen any family there - though at some points possibly paranoidly thought that poss a family member of theirs has an interest in buying my property at a very low price so poss its a case of lets make that happen!
    I just do not know - its more to do with what action if any i can get the authorities to take - maybe none!
    ooh the virtues of hindsight
  • poppysarahpoppysarah Forumite
    11.5K Posts
    Fire risk? Ring fire brigade and ask their thoughts on it.
    Maybe do it by ringing the office and arranging a free fire safety check at your own home.
  • shegarshegar Forumite
    2K Posts
    Why dont you put a 6 foot panel fencing up out the back , and a 4 foot one out front, you wont have to look at the junk then , so nor will future buyers......
  • Thanks sarah - there is an option!
    if you had this situ next door to you as an adjoining property would you do this also ? - if you knew the state of it? - my husband is a plumber who this neighbour months ago asked him to look at poss of getting back the heating / hot water - he couldnt reach anything to survey due to the piled high to ceiling clothing and other contents.
    ooh the virtues of hindsight
  • edited 29 March 2014 at 7:36PM
    shot_down_in_flamesshot_down_in_flames Forumite
    49 Posts
    edited 29 March 2014 at 7:36PM
    shegar wrote: »
    Why dont you put a 6 foot panel fencing up out the back , and a 4 foot one out front, you wont have to look at the junk then , so nor will future buyers......

    6ft panels plus trellis are already there but the property is elevated so the panels etc do not conceal from bedroom windows - or from people looking down the drive - many thanks for the thought.
    ooh the virtues of hindsight
  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
    10.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Given that this issue seems to have started when you put the property on the market, it sounds as though they don't want people living next door - would it be possible for you to move in temporarily so they get used to having someone there?

    If you take it off the market now, you could put it back on the market in a few months time, perhaps without having a board up outside so it's less obvious to them that you are selling.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • I_have_spokenI_have_spoken PPR
    5.1K Posts
    If the old boy hasn't completely lost the place, you could try sending a 'letter before action' saying you will sue them for losses due to them failing in a common duty of care.

    May be a wake-up call.
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