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Purchased House Leaking Carbon Monoxide?

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LittleSquidge | 18:13 Fri 12th Jan 2018 | Law
21 Answers
We’ve just purchased a little cottage (January 2018) knowing it needed love, and thankfully we still adore it.

We put money aside expecting to rewire it. However, once the water was turned on we realised we had a leak and the boiler looked broken.

An emergency plumber fixed the fountain coming from upstairs, and checked the boiler.

At this point he realised it was leaking carbon monoxide and he had to cut the plug there and then.

We are now having a new boiler fitted and the plumber is great. After fixing the bathroom leaks and fitting the boiler, we expect to pay just under £3,000.

The boiler advised that we shouldn’t be paying the repairs, as selling a house leaking CM is very, very wrong, and proved no safety checks had been completed by anyone before we moved in. In addition, I’m heavily pregnant.

The buying process began around November 2016 when I was 5/6 months pregnant and completed within a month of my due date.

I still love the cottage and we knew we were going to have to spend some, as the price we paid for a property in Oxford was very cheap. So I felt like we should have expected this and we bought sold as seen?

However, as time is going on I feel a bit scared that we could have had a newborn in there with something as scary as CM. I feel the plumber may be right, but I have no idea who to approach and how!

Is it our mortgage provider? The seller? Our lawyer? The estate agent?

How should I complain?

Any help would be fabulous!

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I'm puzzled. "Cut the plug" implies it's electric, and I don't know of any mechanism which could cause CO to leak from an electric boiler.
Question Author
The boiler was receiving gas externally and had an electric display powered by the mains.
The plumber was legally bound to disable the boiler when he discovered it was hazardous. He would have been liable for any subsequent injury or fatality. Think I would "speak" to your own lawyer first, without necessarily trusting what you are told. Sold as seen should not mean potentially Hazardous.
I've always believed it's "caveat emptor" let the buyer beware, when it comes to property purchase. Many years ago, for various reasons, I bought a cheap flat without a viewing. The wiring was so bad, I didn't dare touch a plug or switch, I just accepted this was a risk I took.
You might have a case against your surveyor, but if it was a cheap survey you're likely to find all sorts of exclusions in the report.

Also you can ask your solicitor what was included in the questions before contract. This is a list of queries which has to be answered by the seller. If there is anything in there which is relevant you might have a case against the seller.
Unless you have a brass bound and copper bottomed case against somebody who is likely or even capable of paying out you want to forget it. Your obvious delight with your new house could be marred by a stressful and drawn out legal wrangle probably lasting many months and with a potential for even more cost.
CM from gas boilers is dispelled via ‘compulsory’ flue pipe. Windy days can cause cm blow back. I use a window fan vent if I smell cm. I have a battery cm reader which rarely beeps.
Bettery cm detector

https://tinyurl.com/yclvwmmr
Tamborine, how on earth can you smell a gas with no odour.
I was just wondering that. Carbon Monoxide is odourless.
I can smell it.
// window fan vent if I smell cm//

damn someone has noticed it has no smell
so you breathe it silently and DIIIIIIIIEEEE!

Honestly it striked me that you have bought a house at a discount and found things to do expected and now this is a thing you have to do which is unexpected

I think any case in civil liability would have to be in negligence - rather than breach of contract - you are looking for £3000 and any case would cost far more than that

Have you thought of blaming yourselves ?

I mean I think you have got the house that you bought
( and not a dog)

Your pregnancy is .... not relevant to this issue - I reckon you have been pregnant for 14 months - any thought about having the baby ? Sorry you are coming up to 2 years....

I viewed a flat in Fleetwood - there were a few sheep tethered to lampost outside - and pointed out to the estate agent that there were tell tale black marks up the wall from the geyser
and he said: "oh nothing to do with us - we're just selling the flat!"
And then somewhat maladroitly - "you get involved in that sort of thing: we dont!"
I didnt buy - I did add: "this is a safety issue. You and I live in completely different worlds" and he started laughing
// I can smell it.//

you are one of those aliens spathi was talking about the other night
Tamborine, it has no smell, it is odourless, what part of that are you having difficulty with. Sorry to be so blunt.
it used to have a smell from the old coal-gas production
Blow air over hot coal and it heats up and gives off whatever ( CO ) I think and then quench the hot coal with steam ( CO, H2)
It was contaminated with tar and smelt.

so that - when natural gas came in and all the appliances were converted .... they had to put a smell in it

I agree CO has no smell - along with HCN it is what kills the kids in house fires....
oh and that tragedy where the teenagers whined that their hut was cold and the father dragged in the barby into the room to heat it.
( all died )
I presume that the buying process started in November 2017, unless your pregnancy is exceptionally long, or an elephant!

Any comeback can only be against your surveyor. If you didnn't have a survey done, then it is down to yourselves, and any problems should have been reflected in the cheap purchase price.

p.s. good luck with the expected Junior LittleSquidge.
Bought a house you like at a good price.

Problem with boiler and CO: replaced and fixed at a cost of £3,000!

Looks like good value to me.

OP says carbon monoxide OR do they mean gas leak? If its a gas leak the gas board will fix it.

Best worry who should pay after all is safe.
No legal expert, but I'd consider that it was my responsibility to get a surveyor to check a house I was thinking of purchasing, and accept the risks if I'd skimped on that. Check any survey you paid for, what it covered.

The boiler's now fixed, no reason to think there's something equally bad in there. Your survey did check the electricty wiring, didn't it. And the water pipes aren't leaking. No damp/mould visible ? No subsidence evident ? No rain coming in, no tiles flapping about ? Windows and doors not rotted ? Foot not going though floor ? No masses of small holes in the woodwork ? It's probably alright. Houses do need continuous maintenance though.
Take legal advice. A crucial point is what did the sellers property information form say? There could be misrep here.

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