Neighbours.....


Taffycat

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How does that song go...? Meh...!

Our own dear neighbour from Hell is causing us some headaches. For a while, we've had a leaky roof. One of those intermittent type leaks which are darned difficult to pinpoint, because with a tiled roof, there can be seepage, where rainwater enters from one point, but finds its way to another, then finally, onto a portion of our bedroom ceiling.

Anyway, we had a word with our builder, who has previously carried out various house-repairs for us and in whom we have confidence. Tiles would need to be stripped off, so that a proper inspection could be carried out. So, to be fair about it, we let our neighbour know (we're semi-detached) and even provided her with the builder's name and contact details, so that she could ask any questions beforehand. She rang him several times with questions, which he answered. Fair enough.

When the inspection was made, lo and behold, it turns out to be her loft extension which is causing the problem. It was built right on the party wall, about 30 years or so ago. Materials were a bit different then, and so, over the years, they have rotted and allowed water to penetrate through to our property. She was given a quote of £760 to have it put right (which involves renewing the side of the dormer which has failed, as I understand it.)

Ouch! She's not happy, so has elected to call in another builder - which of course, is her right. She can call in several, if she likes, no problem. But of course, they have to access OUR roof, in order to be able to inspect HER structure. Once again, okay, nothing we can do about that. However, instead of getting on with it, she just announced that he "would call one day next week..." (which was this week.)

Ideally, we would have liked our builder to be present, to see that whoever is going to actually DO the job, intends to use the correct (and long-lasting) materials, and not be using inferior stuff, likely to fail after a few months. (Trust me, we have jolly good reason to be wary of this family.)

Do you think she will extend the courtesy of letting us know the name or number of her builder....? No of course she won't. She claims that she doesn't have a clue who he is, because "my son is handling it all.." Okay, so in saying that, you are now probably imagining a sweet old lady, who has to rely on her offspring because she is too feeble to manage. Hah! No... she still works part-time and her level of nosiness probably means that she could tell you the life history of anyone who lives within a mile of her! She's in constant contact with her son, yet apparently, the little matter of asking the builder's name, in order to pass it on to us, has eluded her.

We were up with the lark this morning, because she informed us yesterday, that he would be calling today. Then just an hour or so ago, she came around again, to tell us that he now would not be coming until tomorrow morning. So, who exactly IS he...? "I don't know, my son is handling it all..." okay, yes, but surely you can ask him? "Well YOU can do that tomorrow, when he's here!" Doh!

Blood out of stones comes to mind. No disclosure, so we can't check for a website, or speak with him directly, which I guess, is her intention. As always with this woman, everything becomes weighted on her side. She seems to think we can all have a big discussion tomorrow... well yes, maybe if our builder could be present to speak/act in our interest. But it's Saturday and he has unbreakable commitments. :wall:

Oh to be living somewhere remote in the Outer Hebrides...!
 
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I don't envy you TC, I have issues with my landlord which have been going on for several+ years regarding repairs to my home.

I have even called the Town hall 3 - 4 times and had them inspect. The landlords appear humm and arrr make promises and then never appear to do repairs for months..

Not happy at all, so I know how you feel. Very frustrating
 

crazylegs

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Would love to be there when her builder tells her its gonna cost £1500 to put right..:D

Errrrrrrrr quick can I have the name of your builder again please..:lol:
 

muckshifter

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I have some "friends" in Wales, you want me to have a word. :)
 

floppybootstomp

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Good luck TC. I'd keep a very detailed record of events, all conversations, offers, dates etc and then if nothing's happened after a month it may be worth consulting a solicitor.

It seems to me she's using delaying tactics to try and evade the cost of the repairs. Might also be worth telling her if she appoints the builders the works will be subject to inspection following their completion (this could be a bluff, of course).
 
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I have some "friends" in Wales, you want me to have a word. :)
Just what we need the heavy mob going in!:thumb:
I would suggest that you tell her that "her builder" will need your permission to go on to your roof and that if anything is damaged on your roof you will seek address from her to make repairs.

Her house, she is at fault, she pays, simples!!
 
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floppybootstomp

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Just had another thought, if she keeps saying her son is dealing with it ask her for her son's telephone number and speak to him. If she won't divulge his number log the event and suspect what you probably already know - she's full of bovine waste matter.
 

Abarbarian

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If I read this right. It is her badly built extension that is causing damp in your house. If so get your insurance company to kick some butt. :D
 

Taffycat

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Thanks for all of your comments, advice and suggestions guys :thumb:

Yesterday the "builder" finally arrived about 11:30 ish, after a morning of waiting around. You'll see my reason for the quotation marks in a moment...

Anyway, we sensed a strong whiff of horses and heard the clink of spurs, when the guy rolled-up as a passenger in Blunder Boy's car... (BB being the neighbour's son.) No van, no ladders... A few minutes later, voices could be heard animatedly chattering to the accompaniment of clumping sounds on the roof. Somehow, the guy had managed to get up there, sans ladders (we suspect he popped out through the dormer window, or something, but can't be certain. (This is a bungalow, so even at the highest point, the roof is probably only 20 feet-or-so high.)

Why didn't we just go outside to challenge him...? Simples, it would have been impossible to get a word in edgeways. When our neighbour gets into her stride, her voice is pretty strident and loud. She is not noted for her sense of logic and basically, would argue that black is white. Plus, with her son (about 6'6" of....... heck no, what's the point... sufficient to say that arguing with either of them would have been useless.)

BB's voice could clearly be heard talking very knowledgeably about "soakers, channels" and whatnot. (This was puzzling, but later on, we discovered that he'd actually contacted OUR builder to go over his findings again, and he was then quoting him verbatim to the bloke on the roof.)

A while later, the "builder" actually came to our door "for a word." He was mid-fifties, short, with very well coiffed hair and a strong reek of cologne. He didn't introduce himself by name, he just called himself "the builder." When he opened his mouth, the well groomed appearance was a tad shattered, by a huge gap where several of his lower teeth should have been. He had a kind of upside-down dracula thing going on. Sorry if that sounds unkind, but it was difficult not to be drawn to that, try though I might to ignore it.

He claimed to be able to "see that your tiles had been moved" (I very much doubt that. He was already aware that our own builder had examined the roof and removed tiles, and they had been replaced carefully, not in the way this new chap was trying to imply.) He acknowledged that "the lead flashings could be a bit wider." We let him talk for a bit. It became apparent that he didn't even realise our builder had looked beneath the neighbour's tiles also (it was no secret, because that is how he established that that the side of her dorma had rotted. But, he is a neat worker and had replaced everything carefully.... apparently too carefully for this other bloke to even notice! And no, our builder did not do anything "covert" because he even took some photos on his phone, to be able to illustrate the problem.)

Anyhoo, "Builder-the-Kid" said that he would now need to "bring in his roofer to have a proper look" (....so what on earth was his mission for being on the roof yesterday...? Rhetorical question, he was impressing the suckers, er I meant neighbours.) Then he can see what needs to be done.

We listened patiently to all this, he was clearly thinking that he was being very "nice" and we were sucking-up all that he had to say. Then he was suddenly thrown by the simple question: "So who exactly are you? What is your name? What's the name of your company?"

A few seconds of silence. A bit of "buisiness" patting pockets, then looking apologetic he said, "Oh... I'm afraid I haven't got my card on me right now..." Seriously...? That was going to be his answer..? No card, therefore no name..? "That's not a problem," I said, "...we're actually pretty good at writing, so you can just tell us your details." (We already had pen and paper at the ready ;)) He gave a name, business name and his business landline number (incorrect when we checked it) plus mobile number. Don't think he was too happy about it because his composure changed, making him appear a bit uncomfortable.

"So, are you fully qualified? Do you have insurance, etc?" "Oh, yes love, in fact, I don't do much private work, most of the time I work for the Local Authority..."

The reason for all the secrecy became clear shortly afterwards, when I carried out some web-checks. Haha, I am not known as the Sherlock of Google (well... just at home actually) for nothing!!

The "builder" is actually...... wait for it....... a painter! That is according to Companies House. He told us his company was "Limited" but again, according to CH it is a public limited company. His website professes the company to be "experts" in building, painting and maintenance. Oh and during my checks, I was able to establish the correct land line number... he had transposed two of the numbers, (which to be fair, could have been accidental.) Strange they're not listed as such in Companies House(?)

I found out which Local Authority he'd worked for too, it was a town about 70 miles away in 2011.

I wonder what the "roofer" will turn out to be..? A landscape gardener maybe...?

Sir Flopps: Yes, we're certainly keeping a record of events... previous experience has taught us the necessity of doing that. Nothing is ever straightforward where that family is concerned.

BTW, we've checked out the local Building Inspectors, but bottom line, they couldn't help. Other recourses could be to call in a building surveyor (obviously pricey) or solicitor (again, pricey.) A bit annoying to think we might end up spending cash which could be spent on more important things (we're badly need to replace our windows, for example... for practical rather than vanity reasons.)

Abarbarian: Yes, we've not overlooked the insurance side of things... we don't really want our premiums raised because of "that lot" if we can possibly help it. But, I might well get some advice from them. I think we have their legal cover (need to check that though, because we changed companies last year.)

Also BTW... if anyone is thinking that I've been particularly dim recently (particularly trying to understand things in my internet connection prob thread....) this has been partly why. I've not been able to concentrate properly with this other stuff going on. :blush:

Ho hum...
 
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