Old house gone

Tags: house

Our previous house was a rented one. Which means that the housing company that owns it has some rules for when you leave. Just the generic rules you’d find for most Dutch rental houses:

  • In principle, everything ought to be just as when the house was initially build, except for renovations done by the housing company or additions/changes you made with the company’s approval.

  • Everything should be empty and stripped: no furniture left, of course. But also no carpets or laminate flooring.

  • Clean.

  • You can leave things if the new tenant agrees to take them over. Note that they now become responsible for removing it when their turn comes.

Nothing wrong with that. Only that it took us a big amount of work. Getting rid of all the hooks and screws and plastering those holes takes some (expected) time. But we didn’t expect the new tenant to refuse everything we could leave behind.

He would only stay for one year in the house, which means it makes sense to leave some existing stuff around. It saves effort, but you of course have some risk if your new tenant doesn’t want the stuff. Trade-off. But the new tenant didn’t want any risk and wanted to have the house stripped, even if that would mean he had to lay laminate flooring for a year even if he could take over our flooring for free. Ah well.

Getting out the laminate floor wasn’t that hard. What was hard:

  • Stripping the stair. At least three layers of paint or glue greeted me when I removed the carpet. What a mess. I used chemical glue removal (nasty stuff!), a sander and two layers of white paint to get the stairs to look reasonable again.

  • Making the walls downstairs flat again. They all had a lot of structure on them. We got a tip from the inspector during the initial inspection to use Alabastine muurglad (Dutch), some sort of fancy stuff. I searched the internet and found lots of unfavourable reviews. In the end, I went for something similar from the hornbach DIY shop’s own brand. It worked reasonably well. Nothing resembling what a professional would manage, but good enough for putting a wallpaper on (which was the standard we’d be judged by). In the end it took me two days and most of a night.

renovated stair

Well what do you know. The stair was OK, but the walls weren’t. The very same inspector now told me during the final inspection that I should have used a professional despite advertising the DIY solution himself beforehand. And, even though an hour of sanding would make the wall fine enough for wallpapering, the inspector now demanded a really flat wall suitable for painting.

Wall that wasn't flat enough...

So now the wall will be made flat by a professional, which will cost us some 900 Euro or so. Lesson: don’t ever trust an inspector from a housing company.

The new tenants will get a nice new wall. But that’ll take time. And they want to move in within two weeks. No way that wall will be done within those two weeks as it is currently the vacation period for most building professionals. So they would have been much better off leaving the original wall be and just painting over it. Now it cost me a lot of time and money and it’ll cost them a lot of time.

Ah well. We’re now (since four days) rid of the old house and we can now concentrate on our current one. That’s worth something. That’s worth a lot. And the 900 Euro in the end only means we paid just 100 Euro a year (we lived 9 years in that house) for a nice wall with structure. So that’s not bad at all when looked at from that angle :-)

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About me

My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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