While living in a Victorian conversion flat has it’s advantages such as high ceilings, fireplace (unfortunately, non-working), and pretty mouldings, I’ve come to realize that there’s more headaches than expected. Because these houses were built over 100 years ago, there can be structural, piping, heating, and insulation issues.

While we are happy with our Home Sweet Home, we have been dealing with one headache after another for almost 1 year. Yes, I have a lot of pent up frustrations to vent out! First, we noticed leaks underneath the tub, which spilled over into the carpet outside the bathroom. Over time, the wet carpet started molding. Every time the management company sent contractors to fix the issue, it has always been patchwork rather than getting to the root of the issue. So of course, the issue keeps recurring. Finally, in November 2010, the landlord decided to fix everything in the flat, based on a meticulous list of things that I have put together, which I have sent and resent to the management company and him over and over again, I may add!

The work included sanding down peeling paint, respackling them and repainting the rooms, fixing damp in the guest bedroom and bathroom, fixing the leak underneath the tub, getting rid of the mold and making sure the carpets are dried, etc. We expected this to take perhaps 1 week. Wrong! This took 3 weeks to complete because people here have no common sense and are so lazy! On top of that, our old boiler broke down so the landlord replaced it with a new one. But, the new one was not installed correctly, so we had no hot water and no heat over one of the coldest weekends of the winter.

After all these work, we thought that our headaches were over, but we were too optimistic. Come January, the leak underneath the tub resurfaced and the walls were still damp. The first contractors did a shoddy job. So, these had to be fixed AGAIN!! This time, the management company sent a new contractor, who fixed the root of the problem.

But a different company was sent to deal with the damp. This company started work this past Friday. The work entailed removing all the plaster and cement covering the brick walls in the bathroom and guest bedroom, drilling holes into the brick, filling them up with some sort of anti-damp thingie, and sealing the areas back up. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong again. When I asked what the work would entail, they did not tell me that they need to remove the sink and cistern. So, from Friday and throughout the weekend, we had no sink in the bathroom, and no functioning toilet because the plumber doesn’t work on weekends. Unbelieveable!! Who the heck lives in such a condition in the 21st century?! They could have told me this when I was making the appointment so that I’d schedule the work to start on Monday rather than Friday! And, with all the tearing down of plaster and mixing cement INSIDE the flat, EVERYTHING was covered in dust and cement particles!! We spent a whole day cleaning and wiping everything down yesterday.

Now we have to leave the cement and plastering to dry for 4 weeks before the walls can be repainted. Everything looks so ugly and I am still waiting for the plumber to come reinstall the sink and cistern. If anyone ever considers buying an old house because it’s quaint or has a lot of character, be fully prepared to expect some major headaches. This experience has totally put me off buying old flats/houses.

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