A LOVELY house with a beautiful garden was once a fitting description for the former schoolhouse in Baldrine.
But the once impressive semi with a view over the bay is now a sight for sore eyes with its rotting window frames, peeling paint and rampant weed-infested gardens.
For neighbours Roger and Julie Quine, however, it’s not so much the air of decay and abandonment, or even the spectacular growth of ivy that threatens to engulf the property completely, but the overwhelming vermin infestation that causes them particular distress.
‘It’s just the sheer state of the building,’ Mr Quine said.
‘We now have both small and larger furry creatures running around and we’ve had to get in touch with environmental health. I know who the owner is but I don’t think they are in the Isle of Man.’
Until about 15 years ago the property was kept in pristine condition he said, properly maintained and with a well kept garden.
The house then changed hands and was occupied by new owners for a time before everyone moved out leaving it empty.
‘Then the trail goes cold. No-one has lived there for about seven years. I have even Googled them in desperation,’ he said.
Outside in the large garden the green house has already collapsed under the pressure of brambles.
‘It’s getting to the point where we are losing the will to live,’ Mr Quine said.
‘Vermin is becoming a real problem because we can’t get next door to lay traps.
‘Bizarrely someone did appear at the house a few years ago. I think it was a family member. I was going to give them a few moments then go and speak to them but then we heard a scream and they came out and drove off.’
Peter Hill of Lonan commissioners said the property had been on his radar for some time.
He said they had recently advertised in the Isle of Man Courier to try to trace the owner and had a couple of lines of enquiry to follow.
‘I am reasonably optimistic things will move forward but it all takes time.’
He said even when an owner could be traced and spoken to about work needed on the property it could still be a lengthy process.
‘You have to give them a reasonable amount of time to fix things. It is slow but I am reasonably optimistic.
‘This has now been going on for years and it is ghastly what the neighbours are going through. It’s been on my desk now for three to four years.’
There is not much flexibility in the legal process that needs to be followed, he said. The next stage is to place a notice on the property asking the owner, agent or anyone who knows them to contact him to discuss the state of the building, he said.
Ultimately he said if the owner failed to take action to repair the property, the commissioners could undertake the work. In those circumstances a lien would be imposed on the house to recoup the cost so any money outstanding could be recovered from sale proceeds should the property be sold.
Another avenue of enquiry lay in researching the deeds at the land registry, he added.
‘I really am hoping to move things on in the next month,’ he said.
‘We do get people contacting us at the commissioners’ offices from time to time wanting to know if it is for sale.’
A resigned Mr Quine added: ‘Really the novelty of living next door to it has worn off. We’d like it tidied up. If I had a pound for every speculative builder who’s come knocking on the door I would be a rich man by now.’
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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