Property

I bought my home for $184k now it's not worth a cent

STEWART Sherriff has been left with a rotting and sinking home that is not worth a cent, despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal costs against the Fraser Coast Regional Council.

After completing checks that included obtaining a property certificate, Mr Sherriff bought his Howard home in 2009 for $184,600.

On the certificate provided to Mr Sherriff in November 2009 the council said it was "not known" if the home flooded and it was not in a drainage problem area.

Mr Sherriff spoke with the seller after he signed the contract, and was informed the home did flood.

But it was too late to back out of the sale and now he owns the home that has been valued at "nil".

Just a few weeks after he moved in, the first of many floods hit his home with water flowing down Thomas St and pooling in his block after about 20mm of rain.

An independent report commissioned by Mr Sherriff identified the cost to fix the drainage issue at between $10,000 and $20,000.

Mr Sherriff claimed that due to prior incidents, the council knew the property flooded before he bought the home and would not pay to fix the drainage, despite him offering to do the work himself.

After four years of attempting to get the council to court, Mr Sherriff agreed to a confidential settlement.

The Chronicle understands the council paid more than $300,000 in legal costs, including some of Mr Sherriff's legal fees - but the flooding issue has not been fixed.

Stewart Sherriff has been left with a rotting and sinking home that is not worth a cent.
Stewart Sherriff has been left with a rotting and sinking home that is not worth a cent. Hayden Johnson

Despite the council contributing towards some of Mr Sherriff's legal fees and minor compensation for his home, he said it was not enough.

"The compensation just pays my full amount of legal costs so there really wasn't any compensation," he said.

In a statement, Mayor Gerard O'Connell declined to comment on the matter, saying it had been settled.

"The matter has been dealt with through council's insurers and council will not be responding publicly," he said.

But after injecting his life savings into what was supposed to be his retirement home, Mr Sherriff has been left with nothing.

He now lives outside the Fraser Coast due to the "trauma" the legal case has caused him.

"I will never come back and live here again," he said.

"The difficulty the council has put me through has been tremendous.

"After four years of legal battles I'm still left out of pocket and with a home that floods."

The constant water inundation is also affecting the pest-riddled timber foundations of the home.

"The ground is just so wet - everything is sinking," he said.

"I can't do anything with the property. I just want the council to buy the home back from me."

Topics:  editors picks, fraser coast regional council




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