My Dad died eight years ago leaving me with some inheritance money. He died at age 57 from a brain tumour and was sick for 17 months before he passed away. It was the most devastating experience of my life and I know I will never really get over it. I learnt back then how unfair life could be.
My Dad was my hero and the one person in the world that I looked up to the most. He began life with nothing and had worked hard for his money, starting his own business in manufacturing in the North of England that had become quite successful. I was brought up in Warrington and owe my parents for a wonderful childhood and a loving home.
I wanted to make sure that I did something sensible with the money that my Dad left me and make a good investment in my future. I didn’t want to waste the money. I wanted to make a decision that he would be proud of.
I decided to buy a 2-bedroom apartment in the centre of Manchester that I could rent out. I was living abroad at the time and working on my own small travel business. The rent money would help to support me while I focused on growing my little venture.
I did thorough research on areas that were wise to buy in the city and paid a solicitor to do all of the proper checks. I had obviously never bought anything as expensive as this in my life and I was nervous about doing something wrong, especially as I could never get my head around the idea that it was ‘my’ money. I still thought of it as my Dad’s money and felt huge responsibility for that.
I remember taking a week to carefully read over the contract from the solicitor to make sure that I understood everything. In the end I felt sure that I was making a good decision and not squandering my inheritance money on something stupid.
I look back now and wonder if there was any way I could have known the grave mistake that I was making. The money that my Dad worked so hard to pass onto me would be completely wasted.
Due to the new government laws on fire safety following the Grenfell disaster, I am now in a position where I face up to £50,000 charges to make my flat safe. I tell myself that I could not have foreseen this and not to blame myself for making a stupid decision with my Dad’s money. But the worry keeps me awake at night and I suffer greatly from anxiety.
I am 35 years old now and I want to start a family with my partner. I have no income as my travel business was decimated by COVID-19. I was relying on this apartment for my future.
I live with this stress every day. Sometimes it all just seems too much and I wonder how I will cope with the mounting burden that this flat creates for me. However, I know that I am not alone.
This is an ongoing nightmare for thousands of flat owners across the UK and we plead to the government of this country to help us. Hard-working, honest people are in a desperate state as they face financial ruin, bankruptcy and even homelessness.
For those who are actually living in the flats right now, not only do they have the financial stress, but they also have the fear that the building that they live in could be the next Grenfell.