Where to turn for help? 1912 home vandalized wiring stolen

gardurnitJuly 5, 2009

Where to turn when 1912 house was vandalized and much wiring stolen along with panel and A/C units?

I'm poor and was depending on moving into a large house which I could rent rooms. If I can't move in I may become homeless.

Today I made an inspection. The wiring to the panel is gone as it the entire panel. Code enforcement violations are piling up

due to people calling police for vandals and graffiti on the property. The bill is 3x the amount of money I have.

If I sell the house I'll lose 15% off the top to capital gains.

The wiring in the basement is cut out. I still see circuits where they didn't get wiring but tracing it all will be a kind of nightmare

that I think might be easier to just run new circuits instead of adding junction boxes. What I can't understand is my legal

requirement, using ICC or State of California laws.

While the City stated they're willing to work with me I feel inadequate to even understand how bad , or good, it is.

I don't know where to turn for advice. There's Habitat for Humanity and others but I don't know if they'll help.

When I called I did not get a welcome reception. I'm single they help families.

Advice from an electrician would be useful as he /she knows the law. From there I do think I can do the wiring. The total

cost for materials might be $1000 an that's ok. But then my money gets low and I need to watch it closely.

What would you do? Please .. I need expert answers which are helpful.


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Talk to your insurance agent. Or was it not insured?

Since you don't know where to turn, maybe your best bet is sell it and pay the capital gains tax. However, I am puzzled. How do you expect to sell the place? And why do you think there will be a capital gains on a house whose electrical service has been gutted? I seriously doubt you will turn a profit, and if you don't, there is no capital gains. You may a have a loss to report instead.

But if you decide to keep the place, the electrical must be repaired to get an occupancy permit. In this case, you will likely need to have a professional electrician re-wire the place.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 4:17AM
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You should understand that this is an electrical forum, not a social services forum. I'm not saying that to be mean... but you are presenting an almost impossible problem, the root of which is financial, not electrical.

The electrical answer is: If the wiring was from 1912, good riddance. It would have been knob and tube and various patches since then. Hire an electrician to update the (now missing) panel and rewire as much as possible and reconnect the rest.

The financial question is: 1.) was it insured 2.) When did it happen (who was the owner when it happened - you or the seller) If it happened before title transferred, the seller is liable. 3.) I'm not a tax person, but what capital gains tax? As the person above noted, it doesn't sound like all of the financial stuff is thought through.

Again, this is an electrical forum, but perhaps you aren't thinking through this very clearly. Does it really make sense for someone who doesn't have the financial means to buy a big old house? What will you do when it needs a new roof, furnace or other major investment?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 10:59AM
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If you want to turn this into an apartment and rent it, you likely aren't going to be allowed to do the work yourself. In most areas, you need a professional electrician to do any work on rental units. If you don't know anything about electrical work, I sure wouldn't want to live anywhere you wired!

It doesn't sound like you have thought through this very well. You need to talk to the city and find out what would need to be done to make everything legal for rental. If you are completely unfamiliar with rental properties, you will likely need a lawyer as well. It is probably going to cost quite a bit of money to turn a vandalized house into legal rental units.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 3:54PM
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Everyone was a little bit right. I suppose my frustration is that rich people live in a vacuum. Rich = anyone who can pay all their bills.

Yes I own the house. It was a rental til vandals damaged it. No I did not have insurance. I'm poor.

It's my only hope to move in I'm disabled with no where to turn.

I did not intend this to be a forum for social help. I was looking for experienced people who might have donated time to organizations thus knowing who might be available for advice. Not personal advice I'm not so ignorant. Just groups like Habitat or others.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 10:13PM
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I beg your pardon. I am far from rich and I pay all my bills, always! I also have insurance and pay my taxes. I am not well off enough to own rental property.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:16AM
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I'm with you texasredhead.

Look gardurnit, I'm not rich, sure don't live in a vacuum, and I can pay my bills.

Point is that you can't afford insurance or the cost of electrical repairs. You have vague notions of turning the home into income property and you expect people to help you.

As you have pointed out, most charitable organizations want to help families. In addition virtually none are going to want to donate time or materials to income property. Strike three is that you don't seem financially capable of pulling this off - you couldn't afford insurance in the first place -- and now you have a bigger problem. Good thing it didn't burn down.

You really need to work with someone who you can trust to develop a more realistic plan. That plan would probably involve selling the house and finding housing that is appropriate to your financial situation and physical ability.

You might actually get more cooperation on finding an electrician who would work at reduced rates in order to get the house sold than to continue with the rental idea.

Check and see if there is a non-profit community development corporation in the area that could help you. You have a lot of interwoven problems/concerns - the wiring isn't the real issue.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 11:48AM
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If you own this house AND you don't have insurance, then there obviously is no mortgage. Make a list of all needed work, and get three estimates for everything. Explain your situation to the contractors; given the slow economy, you might find some compassion in the form of a better price. See if you qualify for a home equity loan or line of credit to finance the work. Then you should talk to a real estate agent or management company. You'll need to ensure enough rental income to cover your expenses, plus have a way to screen out deadbeat tenants. Call your local housing court and see if there is a bar advocate or pro bono attorney you can speak to. Maybe they can negotiate with the city to reduce or eliminate the citations. You'd have a better chance with a solid corrective action plan in place.
Are you a veteran? If so, check with the VA for other possible options.
You mentioned that you are disabled. Do you qualify for subsidized housing where the rent is based on your income? Perhaps it would be best to sell this house as a fixer-upper, go live someplace with no worries, and enjoy life.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 7:55AM
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