I am trying to buy a British Iron and Steel Federation (BISF) house, which is a type of steel-framed house. After doing some research I found that not all lenders will lend on this type of house, so the first thing I asked was whether Nationwide would offer a mortgage on a BISF house.
After some telephone enquiries by the Nationwide mortgage advisor I was told that BISF would not be a problem for them. Several weeks later, after several appointments, a lot of effort and paying set-up fees and valuation fees, the valuation report declined the house based on the construction type.
Although the valuation fees are supposedly non-refundable, I am not happy with this as I believe I have been misled - I told them it was a BISF house and feel I should not have been advised that this was an acceptable construction as I would never have proceeded if I had been correctly advised.
Halifax have looked at the valuation report, sent it to their head valuer and said they would have no problems with it, but their interest rates and charges are slightly higher (fair enough).
Do I have grounds to get my money back from Nationwide?
The problem that I have encountered several times with Abbey (Santander) is that many of the surveyors that they employ are not familiar with this type of house and often refer to them as defective under the housing act which is wrong. Indeed in one of my surveys I found that it had been wrongly classed as a "No Fines House" and I myself had to educate the surveyor. There should be no reason for you to face higher interest rates or set up costs with Abbey (Santander). I have several mortgages with them on BISF properties and all are at standard rates.
It would be great to hear how you got on with this.
It turns out it was rejected due to the original asbestos roof, which Nationwide apparently will not lend on. They will lend for BISF and other steel-framed houses, but not if they have asbestos roofs.
My argument is that the asbestos roof was an inherent part of the BISF construction (ie all BISF houses were built with asbestos roofs) and that this house type is common, therefore they should really have told me that they could not lend if it had an asbestos roof. At that point I could and would have pulled out of the process and not wasted any more time or money.
Their argument is that they have not rejected it because of the house type (BISF) but because of the asbestos roof, and they cannot ask about everything that would lead them to reject.
They have agreed to refund the setup fees, but not the survey fees, which I'm still trying to get back.
As for the asbestos roof, I've had a structural engineer look at it and she says it is perfectly fine for now and is not a problem unless damaged, so I'm fairly relaxed about it. A lot of the privately owned BISF houses around here still have their original asbestos roofs, while the housing association ones have all been replaced.
Just to clarify, I'm talking of the standard rate from Halifax being more than the one from Nationwide, not that Halifax are charging more because it is a BISF house, they charge that rate for an 85% mortgage regardless of construction type.
I know of numerous mortgages that were issued to Asbestos Roofed BISF properties by the former Abbey Building Society prior to thier takeover by Santander. It may be that the lending criteria has been changed by Santander.
The saddest part of all of this is that Asbestos roofing that is in good general condition poses no considerable further risk factors than those of a tiled roof. It angers me that higher interest rates are often levied upon non traditional houses by certain lenders for the life of the mortgage resulting in many thousands of pounds being paid over and above that of a standard property.
The mortgages that I negotiated with Abbey prior to the Santander takeover have all been at standard competitive rates. One property had an asbestos roof and the other a replacement roofing tile system.
A replacement roof could cost between £6 - £10K depending on the system. They may consider lending if you agree to replace the roof as a condition of the mortgage.
I agree that in its standard form a BISF house has in most cases has an asbestos roof. It's like saying I want a car on finance and the finance company saying sorry the car has got rubber tyres! A BISF house has an asbestos roof and if this does not form part of their criteria they should have stipulated this to you before hand.
If you continue to get no Joy from Santander regarding this then let me know.
We had a quote of £8000 to change the roof to a new light weight roof. Noone will lend to us until the roof is done. Kinda vicious circle really, i need the money to do the roof yet nobody will give me the money because of the roof. Im having a serious tough time finding someone other than "halifax" to remortgage the house.
I have covered all avenues including paying the contractor directly to staged release of funds, its either all or nothing.