Property News: Man accepts Birmingham City Council’s offer for the house
Carl Harris, 65, had been locked in the legal battle with Birmingham City Council as the authority attempted to raze his entire street to make way for new housing. Carl, a former bus driver, refused to leave his four-bedroom property of 30 years in the King’s Norton area of the city.
But he eventually accepted the latest offer of £275,000 from the Labor-led council and ended the saga.
Talk to birmingham liveCarl said: “It’s smoke and mirrors. They don’t want to increase the value of the house, but make money in other ways, which makes it look like a good deal But it’s not a bargain at all.
“It’s a relief to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“However, this option is the best of a bad lot. I spoke to a lawyer last week and he told me I could go to court and I could win, but if it didn’t go in my favor, I would lose the fees I’ve already paid, so about $20,000 will be lost.
“The costs are going up. It would be great if I won in court, but if I lost, I have no house or money.”
The council’s bid for the house had not budged from £175,000 for some time.
Carl, who is a dad, now has until just after Christmas to find a new home, a deadline he calls “ridiculous”.
He had gone to view a house on Thursday last week, but a bidding war had started and if the price goes over £220,000 he will have to dip into his own pocket – which he does not want to do.
Carl added today that even with the final sum he was struggling to find suitable property in the same area, nor was he allowed to buy a council house. Suggestions to the local authority were made but were rejected, he claims.
Labeled a “no-go” area last year due to rising crime rates, the road has fallen into disrepair and has attracted criminals and thieves. Carl also revealed that his house had been broken into three times since 2018, once by real council agents.
“I was at work and the phone was going on,” he said.
It was a private number so I didn’t answer.
“I came home and met some council men saying they had broken into my property because they thought it was one of theirs. They were in the area with a lot of closed properties and couldn’t figure out why this one hadn’t been cancelled.
“So they broke in, realized someone was still living here, and then had to contact me. That tells you the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. It’s been a prank for a bit. to the other.”
To make matters worse, the council replaced the broken door with an “inferior” wooden door, which was kicked in by real burglars in May this year. The thieves stole some power tools and a few small items, but installing another new door was the most expensive item – something Carl thinks the council should pay for.
His acceptance of the council’s offer marks the end of an epic saga that has caused the father-of-one significant heartache over the years.
“I’m against it all the time. I can’t compete with offers over £220,000,” said Carl.
“It’s been 16 years of stress.”
A council spokesperson said: “Counsel for Mr Harris confirmed on Thursday August 11 that he accepted the Council’s latest offer to voluntarily purchase his property. They also confirmed that Mr Harris would withdraw his objection to the mandatory purchase order.
“In relation to the issue of forced entry into his property and damage to the door and frame, Council was aware of the issue at the time and steps have been taken to remedy the situation with the agreement of Mr. Harris.”