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  • FIRST POST
    • bundance
    • By bundance 12th May 18, 3:09 PM
    • 1,068Posts
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    bundance
    Avoiding leaving unsaleable and financially burdensome property to loved ones after I die
    • #1
    • 12th May 18, 3:09 PM
    Avoiding leaving unsaleable and financially burdensome property to loved ones after I die 12th May 18 at 3:09 PM
    Hi

    I have a leasehold flat which is unsaleable for various reasons.
    I don't really want to post these reasons on a public forum but if someone knowledeable wants to pm me I can go into more detail.
    Basically the lease is breached irremediably through structural alterations. the damage done has left the property vulenrable to further damage so bottom line, if i die and write a will, my poor relatives will be paying out for it for the rest of their lives and it will cause misery for generations.
    I don't want this.
    I can afford to make a simple will for a few hundred pounds but am worried that the complexities will mean that the price of making this will, will be out of my reach.
    If I die intestate, I have been advised by a solicitor that the relatives will get the property (if the mortgage is paid off, whether I like it or not or whether they like it or not)
    Bottom line, I want to avoid leaving a legacy of financial misery and liability to my loved ones.
    As above, willing to go into further detail in a pm to a knowledgeable person.
    I am expecting a phone call from a solicitor on Monday but I cannot stop worrying in the meantime that this situation of not being able to afford a roo-complex will, or dying intestate and leaving my relatives with no choice but to take on the property.
    There are issues like alterations causing vulnerabilitites like dry rot, past waterleaks possibly causing dry rot between storeys, as floors are concrete, voids between floors unventilated and lower flats having false timber ceilings. I can smell a rotten smell in between my skirting board and concrete floor when it rains.
    I spoke to an independent damp surveyor who said the only way I can tell if the downstairs flats have dry rot hiding above the plasterboard in thier ceilings, is to open them up, but the freeholder doesn't want that. so, you can see, how the flat would be unsaleable.
    PS I've had visits by an independent accredited damp surveyor.
    Any help appreciated.
    Last edited by bundance; 12-05-2018 at 3:11 PM.
Page 3
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 12th May 18, 10:54 PM
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    davidmcn
    the guy at the co op legal services said he wasnt sure, but he thought the relative would have to take the flat if it went to probate. As he was unsure he said he would get someone to ring me back on monday.
    Originally posted by bundance
    Well, several of us are sure that he's wrong, and I expect their further advice will confirm that we're correct.
    • bundance
    • By bundance 12th May 18, 11:01 PM
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    bundance
    Well, several of us are sure that he's wrong, and I expect their further advice will confirm that we're correct.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    That's good. Reassuring.
    • bundance
    • By bundance 12th May 18, 11:23 PM
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    bundance
    I've had four major waterleaks in my flat over the 18 yrs Ive lived here.
    I didnt realise I had to report them, cos the floor is concrete and there is timber false ceilings attached to the cconcrete in the flats below.
    I should have reported them cos the leaks were major, and apparently the ceilings should have been opened up and industrial driers put on the timbers to avoid ddry rot.
    The surveyor said that timber in direct contact with masonry is a cause of dry rot in unventilated areas like the void between my floor and the ceiling below. The flat below sadi they used to get loads of floods from my shower when old owner had it, floods leaking through nearly every day.
    My washer leaked for a week downstairs.
    My bath overflowed adn the velux window leaked for umpteen years all into the dark unventilated void with timbers in, so to me, dry rot is inevitable. This is one of the reasons my flat is worthless.
    • dlmcr
    • By dlmcr 12th May 18, 11:44 PM
    • 154 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    dlmcr
    I am sorry to hear your story. Anxiety and depression are hard things to live and deal with. I have also read about some of your other issues which are in your posting history but I am sure you will appreciate my not bringing up here.

    It is hard for people to give practical advice here because although there are some issues with your flat around leaking water for 17 years, in that time it would have caused damage that was so significant that the HA would have had to have gotten involved.

    Going over and over it in your head is unfortunately not going to help, it is just going to make you more anxious about the situation and it becomes self perpetuation.

    On a practical note the issues that you descibe do not make a flat worthless nor do they make it unsaleable - at worst it will sell for lower than the market value of a flat without these issues.

    I'm not a surveyor / lease expert but I know enough to know there are solutions to these problems, they will cost a bit of money which I appreciate you don't have, but the point I am making is that if someone owns the property and spends some money resolving these issues then the end result is a property without these issues, so it is not a worthless property.

    There are thousands of other leasehold flats with all sorts of problems and very very few of them have their value severly affected as a result of these problems.
    • bundance
    • By bundance 13th May 18, 12:11 AM
    • 1,068 Posts
    • 349 Thanks
    bundance
    I am sorry to hear your story. Anxiety and depression are hard things to live and deal with. I have also read about some of your other issues which are in your posting history but I am sure you will appreciate my not bringing up here.

    It is hard for people to give practical advice here because although there are some issues with your flat around leaking water for 17 years, in that time it would have caused damage that was so significant that the HA would have had to have gotten involved.

    Going over and over it in your head is unfortunately not going to help, it is just going to make you more anxious about the situation and it becomes self perpetuation.

    On a practical note the issues that you descibe do not make a flat worthless nor do they make it unsaleable - at worst it will sell for lower than the market value of a flat without these issues.

    I'm not a surveyor / lease expert but I know enough to know there are solutions to these problems, they will cost a bit of money which I appreciate you don't have, but the point I am making is that if someone owns the property and spends some money resolving these issues then the end result is a property without these issues, so it is not a worthless property.

    There are thousands of other leasehold flats with all sorts of problems and very very few of them have their value severly affected as a result of these problems.
    Originally posted by dlmcr
    Thanks for your kind post.

    I really hear what you say in the 3rd paragraph and going over and over it in my head, but part of my mind argues about sudden water leaks. For instance a plumber put copper pipes in my loft and left loads of flux on them, plus he used lagging that is too loose leaving gaps. The worry about sudden leaks nags away at me.
    Plus what my private surveyor said about wet masonry in direct contact with timber in unventilated areas, I feel dry rot is inevitable. I just dont want to cause misery to people I leave behind or surrounding neighbours.
    My private surveyor also worryingly said dry rot can hide behind plaserboard for decades. Hes been working over 30 years, I made sure I chose an experienced one who works for the PCA an indedent one rather than a contractor.

    I'd love to hear from any upper floor flat owners with concrete floors who have had major leaks - did you have to get the flat below to open up their ceiling and industrial driers in, because when I read about water leaks in flats with concrete floors online, I keep getting results which say that you need to get insurance to open up the ceiling below to dry out the timbers immedidately.
    My water leaks leaked into the flat below for a week one time and the now deceased owners said the shower flooded thier bathroom every day.
    This is why I worry that the void in between storeys is riddled with dry rot.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 13th May 18, 6:45 AM
    • 16,611 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Couldnt say for sure - someone else would know - but doesnt dry rot have a distinctive smell?

    If so - then surely someone (you and/or someone else) would have smelt an odd smell by now if so.
    ****************
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 13th May 18, 7:28 AM
    • 7,417 Posts
    • 6,182 Thanks
    Norman Castle
    Yeah, the smell is the reason i suspect dry rot as the void is unventilated Void between concrete floor and false ceiling? No need for ventilation. No different to normal ceiling void.

    The smell could travel up as the floor is not solid concrete there is polysytrene under the floor i can see it at the edges. Polystyrene is likely to be insulation on top of or next to the floor.

    There have been stagnant horizontal water pipes which are hid behind plasterboard the old owner put in, which could have corroded. Stagnant because they are no longer connected? They will hold a limited amount of water. I've got old heating pipes with water in them.

    I mentioned worries about dry rot from other leaks to HA surveyor and he said he is not prepared to open up ceilings unless evidence of dry rot, dunno if smell counts as evidemce.
    The oddest thing is that the smell only happens when the window is open and after wet weather so is a mystery. Open windows can draw air from behind voids. If the previous owner messed with the soil stack that is a likely source of smell.

    Water has leaked to the flat below loads of times. I had a water leak about six years ago and water leaked through for about a week.

    also when i had the velux in the roof that leaked for umptten years. I didnt know the roof wasnt mine for 10 years, and noticed the leak in 2001 but forgot about it.
    After a new roof I had a leak into a void unnoticed for about 20 years. This caused wet rot. Leak fixed, wet rot stopped.
    Five years ago serious valley leak affecting at least four rooms on two floors. Plaster removed, brickwork saturated. Wet wall overboarded without drying, no subsequent rot.
    Neighbours have had regular washing machine and mains water leaks leading to ceilings collapsing, no rot.
    Another neigbour caused serious flooding leading to two ceiling collapsing. There is still a minor leak. No rot.

    The owner downstairs would have to agree to have the ceilings opened up which I doubt he would. Endoscope survey after signs of rot other than a smell


    My surveyor said dry rot can hide behind plasterboard as it feeds on teh paper on the plasterboard. Did he also say there are no signs of dry rot?

    Also I got loft insulation in the loft without permission as I thought roof was mine back then and the installers put insulation in the eaves where the funny smell began, so i dunno if the smell has spreaad down the wall cavity, dry rot hyphae or mycelium looking for more timber, You're assuming the smell is dry rot
    Originally posted by bundance
    You've concluded a current smell and historical leaks must be dry rot although there are no actual signs of it. I've had odd smells from poorly fitted soil stacks and bathroom vent pipes and regular leaks. None have led to dry rot.
    You've convinced yourself dry rot is an inevitability which it isn't. You're selectively hearing conformation of your fears from surveyors despite them not finding any rot.
    Please don't give your flat away based on groundless fears.
    Last edited by Norman Castle; 13-05-2018 at 7:35 AM.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
    • anselld
    • By anselld 13th May 18, 7:54 AM
    • 5,877 Posts
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    anselld
    All surveyors make a career out of highlighting the worst case scenario of all the things which might be wrong with a building under particular circumstances. They do this partly because they think it is what the clients want to know and partly to protect themselves.

    In the vast majority of cases the actual outcome and the potential solution are nowhere near as bad as their report. The more experienced they are the more pessimistic they get.

    Unfortunately such reports do not sit well with people who are "worriers". Forget the written report for the moment. Ask the surveyor questions like "What is most likely?", "What would you do in practice if it was your property?", "What is the easiest way to fix this?".

    You will normally get very different answers when they are not in protection mode.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 13th May 18, 9:13 AM
    • 10,619 Posts
    • 12,157 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    the guy at the co op legal services said he wasnt sure, but he thought the relative would have to take the flat if it went to probate. As he was unsure he said he would get someone to ring me back on monday.
    Originally posted by bundance
    Such a person should not be in legal services because relatives can not be forced to accept anything left them.

    Let me give an example, suppose you left 1000 tons of rotting fish to a relative, woudl they be obliged to accept and have to pay disposal costs ?

    Of course not.

    I don't know what your flat is worth but I'd be confident, mortgage aside, it's worth more than zero after paying for repairs. So if you leave it to your relatives, they can either make the choice to
    1. Pay for repairs and sell.
    2. Sell without repairs (it will still be worth something) even if its at auction,
    3. If by some astonishing unfortunate position the repairs cost more than it would be worth, after deducting the mortgage outstanding, and there's no money in the estate to pay for renovations and clear mortgage , then then the estate is bankrupt and they can walk away without being stuck with it (back to my rotting fish analogy) and the mortgage company is left holding the baby.

    Imagine how galling it would be if you were left nothing because your (say) uncle let his unfounded worries take over and he didn't give you the option to look at the situation and manage it.

    Ps why do you think your will situation is so complex it cannot be done except at great costs?

    You can just write a simple will leaving everything you own to one person or shared between several. If there are things you may not own and aren't sure don't worry because those things then just don't take effect. If for example you were unsure if you owned Buckingham Palace you can still have a clause in yiur will where you leave it, and if it turns out you didn't, that clause fails, rest if willmstands, there is no harm done. Just make sure to make some of them the executors do not appoint solicitors as executors in yiur will. This removes choice from whoever you leave it to. It's worse than being left rotting fish.
    Last edited by AnotherJoe; 13-05-2018 at 9:20 AM.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 13th May 18, 12:17 PM
    • 2,640 Posts
    • 4,180 Thanks
    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    Such a person should not be in legal services because relatives can not be forced to accept anything left them.

    Let me give an example, suppose you left 1000 tons of rotting fish to a relative, woudl they be obliged to accept and have to pay disposal costs ?

    Of course not.
    Originally posted by AnotherJoe
    Surely then the disposal costs would be paid out of the estate though - meaning that the people you had left your estate to would be paying the disposal costs; just collectively rather than a single individual.
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 13th May 18, 1:00 PM
    • 8,528 Posts
    • 9,663 Thanks
    Owain Moneysaver
    Surely then the disposal costs would be paid out of the estate though - meaning that the people you had left your estate to would be paying the disposal costs; just collectively rather than a single individual.
    Originally posted by ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    The beneficiaries would inherit less.

    They might inherit nothing.

    But they would not inherit the costs or debts.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • Silvertabby
    • By Silvertabby 13th May 18, 1:07 PM
    • 3,259 Posts
    • 4,717 Thanks
    Silvertabby
    Are you getting confused about the difference between 'unsellable' and 'unmortgageable'?

    Either way, your relatives could sell the property at auction with a low reserve price. Someone who has watched too many episodes of 'Homes under the Hammer' may be daft enough to buy it.
    Last edited by Silvertabby; 13-05-2018 at 1:26 PM.
    • bundance
    • By bundance 13th May 18, 2:14 PM
    • 1,068 Posts
    • 349 Thanks
    bundance
    Couldnt say for sure - someone else would know - but doesnt dry rot have a distinctive smell?

    If so - then surely someone (you and/or someone else) would have smelt an odd smell by now if so.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    Hi Thanks
    According to experts dry rot doesn't have a distinctive smell. I do smell an odd smell between my skirting board in the party stud wall between my lounge and bedroom, it happens when window open and after rainy weather.
    • bundance
    • By bundance 13th May 18, 2:16 PM
    • 1,068 Posts
    • 349 Thanks
    bundance
    Are you getting confused about the difference between 'unsellable' and 'unmortgageable'?

    Either way, your relatives could sell the property at auction with a low reserve price. Someone who has watched too many episodes of 'Homes under the Hammer' may be daft enough to buy it.
    Originally posted by Silvertabby
    Hi thanks
    No I think its unsaleable as it could be affecting other flats if dry rot lies between my concrete floor and the timber suspended ceilings above the plasterboard on lower storey. Dry rot hides in dark places and surveyor said it can hide for decades, it also travels through masonry.
    • bundance
    • By bundance 13th May 18, 2:17 PM
    • 1,068 Posts
    • 349 Thanks
    bundance
    Surely then the disposal costs would be paid out of the estate though - meaning that the people you had left your estate to would be paying the disposal costs; just collectively rather than a single individual.
    Originally posted by ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    thanks
    would these disposal costs be expensive?
    would they pay out of their own pockt??
    Sorry for questions
    • bundance
    • By bundance 13th May 18, 2:30 PM
    • 1,068 Posts
    • 349 Thanks
    bundance
    Such a person should not be in legal services because relatives can not be forced to accept anything left them.

    Let me give an example, suppose you left 1000 tons of rotting fish to a relative, woudl they be obliged to accept and have to pay disposal costs ?

    Of course not.

    I don't know what your flat is worth but I'd be confident, mortgage aside, it's worth more than zero after paying for repairs. So if you leave it to your relatives, they can either make the choice to
    1. Pay for repairs and sell.
    2. Sell without repairs (it will still be worth something) even if its at auction,
    3. If by some astonishing unfortunate position the repairs cost more than it would be worth, after deducting the mortgage outstanding, and there's no money in the estate to pay for renovations and clear mortgage , then then the estate is bankrupt and they can walk away without being stuck with it (back to my rotting fish analogy) and the mortgage company is left holding the baby.

    Imagine how galling it would be if you were left nothing because your (say) uncle let his unfounded worries take over and he didn't give you the option to look at the situation and manage it.

    Ps why do you think your will situation is so complex it cannot be done except at great costs?

    You can just write a simple will leaving everything you own to one person or shared between several. If there are things you may not own and aren't sure don't worry because those things then just don't take effect. If for example you were unsure if you owned Buckingham Palace you can still have a clause in yiur will where you leave it, and if it turns out you didn't, that clause fails, rest if willmstands, there is no harm done. Just make sure to make some of them the executors do not appoint solicitors as executors in yiur will. This removes choice from whoever you leave it to. It's worse than being left rotting fish.
    Originally posted by AnotherJoe
    Hi
    Thanks. To be fair to the man in co-op who I spoke to on Friday, he wasn't sure which is why he said he would get someone to ring me back tomorow.

    It's the fact that the dry rot from the waterleaks which were never dried out after the concrete got soaked that worries me, as in the surveyor said timber in direct contact with wet masonry in dark unentilated voids causes dry rot, and it was wet many times for ages, affecting other flats, this is why i think its unsellable and more worrying, could devalue other flats.

    Thanks for the example of rotting fish.Its useful.

    As for your point 3, this is true but please may I ask a question, what if the mortgage is paid off by the time I die, who is left holding the baby?
    Apparently the freeholder doesn't have to take back the flat if its in such a bad state of disrepair?

    I wouldn't just ask a solicitor to tell no one to inherit the flat, I would need somehow to establish if it is saleable first by tellingn someone (dunno who) all the problems I fear, and finding if it is saleable.

    I think my situation is so complex, that it cannot be done at great costs cos all the old owners alterations caused major long term leaks into flat below, fast and slow ones. I had a washing machine leak which leaked for a week, shower used to flood downstairs bathroom and ceiling never opened up and allowed to dry with industrial driers, so with this funny smell, dry rot could have set in, plus i got firm (later found out to be cowboys) to repair my velux window the old owner put in which leaked for umpteen years downstairs, risking more dry rot. Bottoom line, theres been so many leaks, and the concrete has been soaked so many times, wettting timber ceilings below that dry rot has probably eaten away at the timbers, and independent surveyors says dry rot goes undetectable for decades.
    Dry rot is a deal breaker, and I think this flat and void below could be riddled with it cos of all the leaks.

    Sorry to sound dim but please could you clarify this
    Just make sure to make some of them the executors do not appoint solicitors as executors in yiur will. This removes choice from whoever you leave it to. It's worse than being left rotting fish.
    as i don't understand it.
    In worse case scenario would i put in my will that i dont want executors to appoint solicitors as executors to avoid leaving liability costly legacy to surviving relatives?

    PS I don't know if I can make a simple will as the case is so complex with all the alterations.

    Another question, sorry, co-op said they could send someone round regarding making a will, will this person who visits try to give me high pressure sales tactics?
    • bundance
    • By bundance 13th May 18, 2:34 PM
    • 1,068 Posts
    • 349 Thanks
    bundance
    All surveyors make a career out of highlighting the worst case scenario of all the things which might be wrong with a building under particular circumstances. They do this partly because they think it is what the clients want to know and partly to protect themselves.

    In the vast majority of cases the actual outcome and the potential solution are nowhere near as bad as their report. The more experienced they are the more pessimistic they get.

    Unfortunately such reports do not sit well with people who are "worriers". Forget the written report for the moment. Ask the surveyor questions like "What is most likely?", "What would you do in practice if it was your property?", "What is the easiest way to fix this?".

    You will normally get very different answers when they are not in protection mode.
    Originally posted by anselld
    Hi thanks
    I've spoken to the surveyor lots of times so I no longer want to pester him but as for your questions, I did ask him and he said without opening the ceiling up of the downstairs neighbour, he said that he had no idea, as there were so many waterleaks, plus there could stilll be some slow waterleaks, as there are horizontal pipes boxed in plasterboard which plumbers cannot get at.
    I've asked other surveying firms and they said the downstairs ceiling or ceilings to adjacant flats downstairs would need to be opened up to establish presence of dry rot.
    • bundance
    • By bundance 13th May 18, 2:40 PM
    • 1,068 Posts
    • 349 Thanks
    bundance
    You've concluded a current smell and historical leaks must be dry rot although there are no actual signs of it. I've had odd smells from poorly fitted soil stacks and bathroom vent pipes and regular leaks. None have led to dry rot.
    You've convinced yourself dry rot is an inevitability which it isn't. You're selectively hearing conformation of your fears from surveyors despite them not finding any rot.
    Please don't give your flat away based on groundless fears.
    Originally posted by Norman Castle
    You're right, I have concluded that current smell and historical leaks must be dry rot although there are no actual signs of it.
    I did this for a few reasons.

    1. The leaks were so big that I have since found out that I should have got the ceilings opened up and industrial driers drying the timbers in the ceilings below the concrete floor in my flat, asap, to avoid dry rot.

    2. I wont give flat away based on groundless fears, I will try to find a way of establishing saleability, my main fear is that no one will know, with dry rot hiding behind plasterboard for decades.

    3. Dry rot can go undetected for decades. It only manifests when it runs out of food (timber/celulose/paper), oxygen, and damp.

    I will try to establish saleability somehow, I just don't know how I am going to do that without knowing if dry rot exists.
    My fear is that in years to come, if there is dry rot and it eventually manifests, my relatives will be left with the liability.

    Apparently I was supposed to report the major floods at the time, so they could be dried with industrial drirers but i didnt know this.
    • GrumpyDil
    • By GrumpyDil 13th May 18, 3:37 PM
    • 188 Posts
    • 145 Thanks
    GrumpyDil
    i think you need to step back and take a breath as you are definitely overthinking things.

    When you die your estate including the flat, are valued for probate purposes. If your executors have concerns over the state of the flat they could arrange a survey at that time. The survey will provide a market value of the property based on what can be identified without opening up the fabric of the property.

    In the very unlikely event that the flat needs so much work doing that it would cost more to do the work than the final value of the flat and assuming the rest of your estate when combined with the value of the flat is still negative then your estate is bankrupt. The executors have no obligation to use any of their own money so would not be liable for any debts etc.

    Just write a standard will with no complicated elements appointing someone you know and trust as the executor and get on with living your life.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 13th May 18, 3:49 PM
    • 2,640 Posts
    • 4,180 Thanks
    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    thanks
    would these disposal costs be expensive?
    would they pay out of their own pockt??
    Sorry for questions
    Originally posted by bundance
    Of 100 tons of rotting fish? I don't have any idea.
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