JollyScot's Journey Starts

Where are you and where are you going?
JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

Over the last few weeks there has been more back and forth on the sale of the flat. We have decided to pull out of the sale. The buyer was adding more and more non standard conditions to justify them proceeding with the sale. Including a get out of purchase clause around the retroactive paperwork they've caused me to get. Effectively the trust in the transaction broke down and they decided they wanted to try and offset any extra risk of the sale onto us.

So as of tomorrow we will relist the property and try to sell it again. If we don't get an immediate burst of demand then then we will keep the property and rent out the flat. Fingers crossed we can sell quickly, if not then I guess I'll be a landlord and deal with more people.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

So an update on the flat, at the last day before relisting the buyer came back and agreed to the terms of the sale. Big win and all that was needed was the sign-off on the retroactive changes the local authority demanded.

Now this is where is gets good. The local authority have decided to refuse to sign off the changes. The reason being the kitchen doesn't extract to the outside.

Now the upgrades made was to move the kitchen from an internal room with no external extraction to a room with a window but with no way to get external extraction just a standard extraction system like the what was replaced. However because it was a new kitchen and not just a upgrade to a kitchen they want to apply the rules that new houses need to adhere to. Even though it is not actually possible to do what they ask.

So I am now in the position where I have an unsellable flat because I made the decision to do a full upgrade instead of just living with what was bought.

The Architect is explaining how the local authority is wrong
The builder is explaining they just did what they were told
The Authority is explaining how they don't care if it is impossible, here is the box I tick
My solicitor is explaining you could sue someone but it will be expensive and probably not worth it.

I have been complaining a lot over the last few years but fuck when did people become so shit. Not only do I not want to keep the current flat I also now want rid of the new flat. Did everything properly and been screwed over again, Don't want anything to do with UK housing.

We had planned doing a large upgrade to the flat we just bought, however that is not happening anymore. We will do the bare minimum to fix some outstanding issues and then just live with what we have. A few years from now we will then probably try to sell it and cut our losses.

Some times its hard to stay calm and not punch people.


Outwith the shit show above though my actual financial position has skyrocketed in such away over the last 4 months that I can absorb the issue.

Peak Covid net worth: - £490,000
Net worth today: - £710,000 (although with an unsellable house)

I had a large portion of my Net Worth in bullion type assets, thankfully I was able to delay paying the portion of my flat purchase. Had I divested my assets at peak covid, which was when we actually bought the flat then I would have crystalised a £60,000 loss and missed the bullion uptick I have been waiting years for. With that not being required I could ride the gain back up and we can make back up plans.

With the new work role I am going to use this to secure a low interest mortgage. I have seen a deal of 1.59% fixed for 7 years. Plan will be to use that to pay off my portion of the new flat and then at the end of the 7 year fixed period pay it off in full. This will allow time to ride out the virus as best as possible without being forced into making bad choices. By then I hope to have figured out what I am supposed to do with my old flat. My indirect government costs have not gone from 71,000 -> 241,000.

Even though the last 2 years have been a series of bad events, in terms of financial success I have steamrolled through it, a lot of that is the bullion in the last 4 months though. Without it I would have had a disaster, so thank you to my parents for the understanding on finances at peak-covid.

Keep calm and carry on, just play the hands I am dealt.

Oh, Japanese has been thrown out the window the last couple weeks.
Last edited by JollyScot on Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

chenda
Posts: 1514
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by chenda »

JollyScot wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:56 pm
Now this is where is gets good. The local authority have decided to refuse to sign off the changes. The reason being the kitchen doesn't extract to the outside.
We you say 'sign off' what are you seeking to be approved ? Are you talking planning permission or building regs ? I assume it's the latter as internal works don't require planning permission...

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

It was the building regulations, it is a listed building so we also had to ask planning regarding the internal changes and they were fine with it. (Listed building consent).

For the building regulations at the time the architect submitted plans and asked if a sign off (completion certificate) was needed. Told no.

As part of sale the buyer wanted me to confirm with them again. They changed their minds upon asking and wanted to check it all. This is one of the, well you could sue but not worth it items.

Today we ended up with them refusing the changes to the kitchen, but what they would like done is not possible in the listed building, hence I'm now stuck. Something in the chain of work has gone spectacularly wrong u just need to find where. Although fundamentally the problem is mine to try and fix.

Eventually I will find a way to a solution, but it is another series of issues I could have done without, especially considering in my mind it was all done properly from outset with plans, permission requests and whatever.

chenda
Posts: 1514
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by chenda »

I see. One option would be to consider going to an independent company to do the building regs sign off, who may or may not be willing to take a different view.

Alternatively, speak to the conservation office who approved the listed building consent and see if s/he can find an acceptable method of extraction. They are usually pretty practical and helpful in my experience and might be able to work out an acceptable compromise.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

Hmm I hadn't realised there is a potential of a second opinion that is not just local authority. Although it could that it is the process in England whereas Scotland maybe doesn't allow that.

I'll look into listed building consent question. Maybe they have heard of similar situations.

There will be a way out somewhere as they can't just decide that a functionally identical flat is now unacceptable vs before with when the changing is an upgrade to 20 year old items.

It is just an infuriating process of being required to deal with people who can just dismantle what you are doing. With seemingly little regard to the actual practicalities of what they did.

At one point I had actually considered proper investing in UK housing. I'll stick to stock and shares, houses aren't worth the hassle.

Earlybath
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:43 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by Earlybath »

Window mounted extractor fan for building regs, then take insurance against listed buildings approval ?

My first house was a listed wreck, had a few niggles like this that came out of the woodwork on sale. Wouldn’t do again, despite tripling value.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

The type of building there is no way to get the ducting to the window. Beams across the roof in the way. The space between floors is too small to put anything more than wiring through.

Yeah agree, I won't be going near anything to do with old again or upgrading anything again. Even though financially its done ok. In terms of time, costs and more importantly dealing with people. Life is too short for the hassle again. I'll stick to shares or a REIT if I really want property.

Any consideration of buying in Edinburgh is over now. Everything there is a listed 200 year old building. Wonder how long it will take before people decide it is not worth it there. My guess is most are still actually ignoring the rules and if they were to do it properly Edinburgh market might be a bit different.

chenda
Posts: 1514
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by chenda »

JollyScot wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:30 am
Any consideration of buying in Edinburgh is over now. Everything there is a listed 200 year old building.
That might be why its such a nice place and people want to live there :)

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

True, it looks very pretty. I'll just rent the pretty house if we ever head back. Let someone else fix the issue. Or better still rent the new house looking onto the pretty house. Best of both worlds.

Earlybath
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:43 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by Earlybath »

I quickly skimmed the regs last night, as far as I could see they don’t mandate extraction from close to the hob, just that if the extraction is not adjacent to the hob it needs to extract 60l/m.
So One of these fugly things https://www.screwfix.com/p/manrose-wf15 ... 240v/91152 on the window if you can’t fit one on the external wall.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

So after conversation with my existing Architect and a second Architect (more money spent) and also having my Solicitor dig into how to deal with the issue (more money spent) there is a solution.

Basically the contradiction between a listed building and limitations of building regulations are known. To get round it you need to do another application for an exemption with paperwork for the reasons why.

It used to be that the building inspector would just decide when doing checks and look at it pragmatically based on what was done. However in the spirit of saving money the local authority now only has a few well trained individuals combined with a serious of box tickers for initial checks. So not really saving money, they have just moved it to the other side (me in this instance) and that is never considered in state calculations.

The second line of application can only be applied for after the initial application has been made and paid for then subsequently refused. So you pay to deal with the pleb to eventually get to pay to deal with the qualified individual. I am not sure if that is true, maybe I could have applied directly, but the assumption of both existing and second opinion of Architects where that it should have been fine but now I will need to the extra paperwork.

It looks like it will turn out to be fixable. I won't hold my breath just yet, as obviously I don't much trust anyone just now.

ThriftyRob
Posts: 109
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:20 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by ThriftyRob »

Your experiences are interesting and typical of frustrations with the separate regimes for listed buildings, general planning and building regs. The key interface would be between your architect and the conservation officer, to explore acceptable ways of achieving the required extraction volume. Most local authorities defend the appearance of the externals ferociously but are more pragmatic about internal works. The purpose of a requirement to improve extraction is to get water vapour outside the building envelope which is a very desirable aim when protecting the building from condensation, damp and mould, so the conservation officer should be very receptive to alternative ways of achieving that within your scheme.

I've found that many architects are very good at drawing impressive 3D plans but often lack knowledge of the detail (and intentions) of the legislation.

saving-10-years
Posts: 555
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:37 am
Location: Warwickshire, UK

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by saving-10-years »

@Jollyscot Glad to hear that there is a solution in sight. Ours is a listed buiding and we are hopeful that a more pragmatic view is emerging of how to balance the conserving of heat and history in such buildings (i.e. one layer of brick/no cavity walls and sash windows that are old enough to be part of the listing = a need for woollens to keep warm inside). Condensation (@thrifyrob) is not such a concern if you have enough historic draughts!

We used an architect for some extreme structural work on a barn )within the curtiledge of the house) and found him via the Society of Protection of Ancient Buildings. This organisation is more pragmatic than you might expect. I notice that they are running some free zoom seminars on presevation at end of this month for the Ediburgh Fringe (Scottish branch of SPAB with local examples. https://www.spab.org.uk/whats-on/lectur ... g-festival)

Sometimes I think that the main benefit of owning a listed building is that when someone calls trying to flog you wall cladding or double glazing they quickly give up.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

@Earlybath cheers for taking a look at the regulations. It may be that this is the compromise. However based on the building I am pretty sure they will slap it down. it is a pretty prominent landmark.

My real issue with the whole thing is they said it wasn't required and have now changed their mind. If all of this came up when it was being started or considered then either I would not have done the work or have organised the conflicts then. It would be a known cost of doing business. They have already washed their hand of responsibility and come with the "well technically...." line. This is the other "I could sue" route, but after dealing with the Home Office I know it will just drag on and cost significantly more.

It is now trying to deal with the bureaucratic system during a pandemic with a hard deadline on the sale date (buyer mortgage). Where work has already been done so they can decide what they like broadly speaking.

Hopefully a solution is in going to arrive soon and sensible thinking will come to the fore. Maybe some UK based individuals will see the process I have been through and have a more detailed look at what it is they are planning to buy. Along with potential long term hidden costs of that choice, I am getting closer to the renting vs buying being about evens. Renting mayeb ahead with the less hassle now, not sure.

@saving-10-years agree on the Architects, I suspect when there were less regulations and less frequent changes they would maybe be more on top of it. Like everything else when/if you find one thats good you stick with them.

We have re-worked our plans for the large flat and can broadly get what we want out of it without needing any kind of structure change or requirement to enter the system. Not quite as good as what we wanted but significantly cheaper. So really this might end up being financially beneficial in the long run. Ah silver linings all round.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

Put together a graph of the last 3 years of expenses, covering moving to France and the process of moving back to the UK and also includes a couple of work contracts.

Image

As you can see the net worth broadly went sideways for the first two years. Large expenses being offset by a combination of investment returns or income. The reality is that we were not really anywhere near the 4% target. It worked out but the time proved more costly than projected, There are some especially large monthly numbers in there.

The first year we were required to pay our rent in 3 monthly increments
We also had a couple of spikes for furniture, a trip to Spain to see about moving there

Then into beginning 2019 we had another burst of larger expenses.
This was all due to the visa costs and then refusal and all of the associated extra costs with that (lawyer, travel, applications)

Into end 2019 beginning 2020 a third relative spike, this was a result of doing the UK Visa appeal (lawyer, travel, more applications)
Cover travel costs and all of the costs of winding up contracts in France.

You can see in Jan/Feb of this year we had started to cut back on the big costs with moving back to the UK. Some general items for setting up here but in reality we were would being operating at a low level.

Then the last few months we have had additional costs as a result of the house move and then old house sale and the issues that came up here. I went through and tried to map out all of the "extra" costs as a result of the decision. Listed in 3 possible outcomes.

Outcome 1 - £4,866 (Monthly £973) - didn't buy and stayed put
Outcome 2 - £6,684 (Monthly £1,336) - bought but standard sale of old flat
Outcome 3 - £8,301 (Monthly £1,660) - what has actually happened

There is about another £2,000 in costs that have not fallen due yet to add on top. Potentially another £1,000-£2,000 of additional council costs.

So buying the house is going to have base level cost me about £4,000 over an above staying put. Which is a bit higher than I had though but considering the increase in prices fair enough. For those wondering I have added the cost of UK's stamp duty to the purchase price so I am ignoring here (Stamp duty is a purchase tax for non UK people). It comes out at £13,350 if I can sell my flat

Then the results of the council decision is looking like it wall cost me up to £7,400 relative to staying put. If it turns out that I am unable to sell my flat not a pretty large risk with the state plebs being involved then my stamp duty costs go up to £29,350.

Was it the right decision, eventually it probably will be. That said I have been bailed out somewhat with a market recovery. Of which I have taken some of the gains. The hindsight play would probably still have been to stay out of housing completely. It has resulted in far too much of my free time being wasted.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

My wife has been looking for some volunteering type roles or some basic job to get herself set up in the UK. After going through a few of the bits and pieces with her and it astounds me about how much they ask for now on even the most basic of job. There was a bunch of volunteering items where they were looking for personal statements and references...what get lost.

I understand that eventually there are gatekeepers inserting their way into everything. However I hadn't realised quite how much the busy work had expanded.

I get some of the annoyances with HR departments but they usually buckle for me on. I guess I am sufficiently senior/limited pool of people that they can't foist the automated forms on me and also find a suitably qualified alternative. If I was starting now though, I suspect I might have ended up in a bit of bother.

No longer sure if my wife will bother now or not. I suggested she is just better to keep doing her own thing and when lock downs start to end we will start going out to various groups and events we are interested in instead.

On the flat front we think we have found a fix for our issue that will "technically" tick the box. Which is all that matters, I probably shouldn't have been surprised at the job applying faff based on my last 3 years of issues. I guess it is everywhere now, see how the impending implosion helps or worsens the situation. My guess is the gatekeeper will work hard to save themselves as those who produce for the actual company leave or get the boot.

SavingWithBabies
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Location: Midwest, USA

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by SavingWithBabies »

Have you thought about just applying anyway? For references, if there are none, she could explain her situation. Perhaps it is as you suspect and it won't result in anything but no harm in trying, right? Sometimes the people on the other side of the form are just as annoyed by it but they didn't make the form and to get it changed... At least I imagine that. Mostly based on writing lots of web stuff which in the end often boils down to* a bunch of forms but online instead of paper.

[*] Well with some logic and other fun things sprinkled in but getting user input/data/information and presenting it is typically a huge part of the effort.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

The references are not an issue, she might be willing to just go through with the all the requests they have. I'll just help if she asks and try not to get annoyed at it all.

Just thinking back to when I when I was initially applying after university. If there was anything other than just a CV and then interview I never even considered applying (that was mostly the banks). I probably just started before it all became common place to have Graduate based multiday "interviews".

Then over career it has been much the same, here is the CV and references will be provided if you want to offer a job.

It was just a shock that the direction of travel for every kind of job or even volunteering is now...fill in this form...fill in that form...that isn't quite right for this form...you need this form from someone else now...we missed a form.

Maybe it is me being a dramatic baby and everyone else is fine with it. Would explain why the HR department at my current place were complaining about me refusing to do all the stuff they wanted.
Last edited by JollyScot on Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

SavingWithBabies
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Location: Midwest, USA

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by SavingWithBabies »

Ah! Yeah, the overall experience is more what you're pointing at. I understand. I'm really tired of the basics of interviewing in my line of work (software engineering). Some of the approaches take a lot of time (online coding challenge, take home project, etc). And the employers want to have a "wait until the end of the interview cycle" for the compensation discussion which is a real time sink once you become fairly good at what you do. Particularly now that many seem to think everyone is desperate. I've been on both sides of the interviewing and it just is a massive time sink with so many people injecting their personal biases and BS into it (I'm sure I have too of course but...).

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