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Stocking filler? New book highlights 'crimes against property'

A chartered surveyor has highlighted 15 ‘crimes against property’ in a new book that aims to prevent owners from damaging the value of their home.

The title, Property Horrors, is based on RICS-qualified surveyor Ian Rock’s 30 years’ experience of the UK housing market and aims to highlight all the things clients shouldn't do to their homes. 

It is packed with graphic images of homes defaced by clumsy botches, illegal alterations and deadly DIY attempts.


Priced at £13.99, Property Horrors is based on a popular presentation originally devised by the author for architects and surveyors.

It shows handiwork that will reduce rather than increase the value of a vendor’s home when they come to sell.

One of Rock’s favourite anecdotes in the book is when the Metropolitan Police raided the Nigerian High Commissioner’s home in Hendon on suspicion that he was running a cannabis factory in his loft.

Thermal imaging was showing his roof glowing but it turned out that the heating was on high and there was minimal loft insulation.

Rock said: “Some of the photos showed well-intentioned home improvements that actually made things worse, causing problems with surveys and ‘down-valuations’ – like taking out walls and chimney breasts without supporting the masonry above, or spray foam roof treatments that can cause problems with mortgages.

“Surveyors of course don’t have the challenge of trying to radiate optimism about prospective vendors’ properties.

“I don’t think I’d be very good at trying to win business in a competitive market whilst discreetly factoring in the negatives of a property – the sort of issues we’ve featured in the new book.
“Hopefully, if enough homeowners buy the book and see ‘what not to do’ it should make all our lives as property professionals a bit easier.”



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