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Warning to any potential property developers and a tale of a less than charitable 'ch

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  • Warning to any potential property developers and a tale of a less than charitable 'ch

    My Dad died of bladder cancer in 2013,her left us 2 properties in Newcastle which were in need of some work.We decided that as we had a very good friend who a builder we would use him to bring the flats up to date (first big mistake!).Our builder took 4 times longer than expected to finish the job and over spent by £60,000 losing us any potential profit.We had to get in another builder at the cost of £22,000 to fix the work he had done that didn’t get through the buyers Surveys once they were ready for market.They finally sold after a 16 month slog.
    We had always had plans to extend in to the loft of our upper flat in Hove so after speaking to 11 (yes 11!) Estate Agents they all valued our would be maisonette at £500-£525,000 which would make us a £50-£75,000 profit after we paid for the building costs so we decided to use the remaining inheritance cash we had and start the works to try and make back some of the cash we lost in Newcastle.I moved my Husband and 3 kids out to rent a friends house which was available until June this year.These works went well and a couple of months after we started the job the house next door came up for sale which was in a run down state but we decided with our builders that we would could buy that and do the same job as our house making us another £50-£75,000 meaning I could buy a much larger house with garden for my children (age 2,9 and 25) at the end of this.
    We started the buying process for the flat next door and got planning permission to do the works and negotiated the demise of the loft changing hands to us from our new Freeholder (£10,000 more than we paid next door so there goes a chunk of profit right away!).We were using a bridging loan to fund this and getting this through snagged and caused made the buying process drag on,thus going from an anticipated 5 week exchange to a 5 month exchange.
    During this exchange was the worst part of this whole process as we were buying from a ‘charity’ called ‘Wildlife for All’,the Trustee in charge of the sale was vile to us throughout the whole process.This Trustee was ridiculously rude during the buying process (even though a lot of the delays were to do with issues regarding disputes over maintenance fees at the flat which we were inheriting).The Trustee knowing that we had financially invested in the property through planning permission/architects/solicitors etc and didn’t want to lose the sale started making financial demands from October to December last year to ensure she stayed in the deal with us.We paid a total of £6,203 to her over this time including bills she started throwing on us for things such as HER legal bills,leaving us in great financial difficulty which w explained to her and she never cared about.The spokesperson for this charity never explained why we had to pay these very large sums of £500-£1000 per week and we have no receipts for these ‘donations’ as she called them.(also bearing in mind that they were left the flat in a will and were selling for £250,000 to us).At one point this Trustee even forced us to pay cash to someone in her ‘buying chain’ who I looked up on Facebook this week and guess what?She works for “Wildlife for All’!!!
    At this same time our old flat was freshly redeveloped and on the market…for 4 months!(no sign of the quick sale every agent promised!).We had to reduce and reduce the price to get a sale through as no one would offer anywhere near the £500,000+ that every agent had valued it at with a knock on effect that the house we were buying next door would ALSO only sell for that amount and with the extra cash that we were paying every month to live in rented accommodation we were starting to get in to a serious money losing project (money we don’t have).
    So we were dealing with the Trustees threats and financial demands and waiting for my Dad’s house's to finally exchange as well as watching the price of our old flat creep down to £450,000 (talk about stressful!?).Then before Xmas the situation slightly improved,my Dad’s flat sales went through and we finally got an offer of £450,000 through on our old flat (only an £8,000 loss).The other flat exchanged and now we own it we are in battles with the maintenance company and Freeholder there to get the loft work done and sell.Oh and we found a HUGE damp problem that the Charity didn’t disclose to us so bye-bye to a few more thousand pounds dealing with that.
    We are losing money EVERY day as we have a bridging loan that we can’t pay off until the sale of our old flat finally completes (£80 loss every day) plus we are trapped in rented accommodation at a cost of £2,000 per month and our friend we are renting from will be back in June so we are facing having to move again with get children as we can’t buy a new home until we finish the renovation on the charities property and sell it and we can’t even start works yet as the Freeholder there has made it very hard for us to buy the new demise for the loft (just take our money!).Our other Freeholder at our old house let us pay for the new demise on selling our house but this man is very problematic,he has cost us 2 months so far in delayed work meaning £5,000 loss in bridging loan fees,£4,000 in rent (so far) and counting.
    Apart from this being a warning to any potential property investors we would love any advice on how to try and gain the cash back from the ‘charity’ that took a chunk of my Dad’s inheritance in a really underhand fashion plus help with her not disclosing that there was a serious damp issue in the flat before selling to us.We have already contacted the Charity Commission Board and had little response plus I did personally appeal to the Trustee in question to return our cash,she refused and sees no wrong in her actions,she believes we are making a killing financially from this purchase and redevelopment but in fact we are on track to lose around £40,000+ (this is MORE than me and my Husbands combined wages for 3 years!!) due to the delays and hold ups and this will stack up the longer this takes for us to get to the end point of finally selling.We have kept all the emails of her financial demands as well as the demands she began to make for her co-worker.