Warning. / Justine Hadj  / 
19 things I didn’t think about before starting a renovation on my tiny Victorian Terrace in the middle of Carlton

story / Blog / October 8, 2018

1. The Party Wall Neighbour. Email received 8 January.

Dear Justine,

After my tenants complained to me about rising damp in the corridor and some water damage in kitchen, I investigated to find that your builders neglected to seal the front section of roof prior to the second story, hence allowing a deluge of water to enter down the joining wall, and saturate the footings. This has lead to severe rising damp in my corridor leading to wall damage and a almost unlivable smell in the house. My tenants are very upset and threatening to leave if issue isn’t resolved soon. 

2. Council infringement notices.

3. Broken boundary trap.

4. Storm water entry point full of hard concrete.

5. Receiving that anonymous handwritten letter stuffed under the front door. Dated 2 April. I cannot stress enough. This is not a joke.

Next time you harass an elderly women get your facts straight! The house near my parents’ on lease dumped all this rubbish and I thought it was you – because rubbish dumped near my parents! Once renovation starts on your house. Basically, my parents don’t dump their rubbish on anyone – if anyone dumps on their house. I WILL ACT.

What the actual F**k. It doesn’t even make sense?

6. More council infringement notices.

7. That time your sister calls you on her school holidays (she’s a teacher) to ask whether she can practice her tap dancing inside the house on the yellow tongue floor.

8. Windows installed without flashings.

9. Bamboo. Everywhere.

10. The Nosy Neighbour. The text message received 22 May.

Hi Justine, hope all is going smoothly.

Just had an elderly neighbour drop in anxious about your overlooking. Can I please kindly remind you about the amended permit conditions. All obscured glazing is to be manufactured and not stuck on ‘film’ and timber screen is 25% transparency. You’ll need to ensure builder orders the correct window frames and glazing!! I guess this is an immediate issue as they should be ordering windows very soon? Thank you!

11. The time you ask your dad to pay the structural engineer. 17 June.

Justine: Hi Dad, can you please pay the engineer? I need it for a certificate.

Dad: What engineer? Who is he? I spoke to the roofer he’s not able to quote till after Easter.

12. Rising damp.

13. Decisions.

14. The time you receive several urgent calls from your brother.

I don’t mean to alarm you, but an old man has driven into our front fence at Rathdowne. Police are here. He’s fine. The brick front fence probably isn’t.

15. The Party Wall Neighbour.

In addition,​ I believe trades people have been walking over my section of roof to install and nail all the side planks on the second story. I have now developed a roof leak in my kitchen. My tenants have to collect the leaking water using buckets otherwise they have water in the pantry spoiling all the contents.

16. That time you receive a text message from your sister.

A plumber just walked in on me tap dancing. You and Laurence both said no one was going to be there! I AM DYING! I ran out of there! I’m like to him sorry I tap dance and needed space. He was so awkward. I WAS IN A CROP TOP! Ugh!

17. The time the local black cat Liza runs through your house. Carpenter asks Superstitious much? I can only respond with Nah nothing scares me anymore.

18. My most frequent conversation. But don’t you work for a construction company?

19. The Party Wall Neighbour.

As your second storey addition has no provision for guttering on the north facing wall all the run off is now collecting in my drain canal and flooding it. I need action here immediately and am requesting a site visit ASAP to address these concerns. Your Dilapidation report will clearly show no rising damp prior to construction. ​Will call you in the morning to arrange a site inspection​.


It just keeps giving.

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