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Mortgage help with a period property

Can anybody help us?
We are trying to purchase a 200 year old cottage in Wales – stone walls with rubble infill and slate floor. The compulsory homebuyers survey highlighted numerous problems and requested that further damp and timber, electrical and drain surveys were carried out. They also estimated the property to be worth 95k instead of the 110k price we had negotiated. As a result of the condition they were holding back 20k for six months until work was complete. We are putting down 60k deposit and asking for mortgage of 55k
We brought in a surveyor specialising in period properties. His report highlighted no timber infestation, damp as a result of the property being vacant for 20 years, gypsum plaster on walls on concrete over the slate floors. His recommendation was to remove all plaster and concrete which would resolve damp. Drains were fine but needed a new rewire.
The lenders (Britannia) then sent a letter back – well short email from surveyors – stating that the cottage needed damp course and dpm on the floors and that the views from the specialist survey were controversial. They then advised us to get a further survey from two companies – who incidentally also provide damp courses!!!
After presenting lots of evidence against use of damp courses they have agreed his views are now correct but are still insisting on a dpm in the floor which we know will only serve to push damp out and upwards into the walls. They have not been able to provide evidence of how they have valued the cottage (we have scoured rightmove/zoopla etc) and cannot find any properties of this age and location for 95k. They are also still insisting on a 20k retainer until the work is complete. We know from research that damp in these properties can take up to 12 months to clear and therefore we’d be worried to take out any loans to do work that they are requesting be completed in 6!!
We would be grateful of anyone else’s experience in this similar situation and get advice on how to get this retainer dropped. We have a 20k budget to do repairs etc which we have told the company
All, we seem to be doing is communicating to Britannia who then communicate to Connells who then communicate to the surveyors – Principality
Help – please!!
john of wessex

Try The Ecology Building Society
welsh veg grower

Try The Ecology Building Society

second that just been dealing with them for a business mortgage on an old property and a sustainable re-fit with bio mass etc. They have been very flexible although slow.

Yup, I agree.
Ty Gwyn

Most damp problems in these old cottages/houses,is usually down to poor outside drainage.

For £110,000 you would be very,very lucky indeed to find anything, For £95,000 it would be a ruin,or as the agents say,Ripe for modernisation.

If you heart is set on the place, you can have an independent survey carried out by someone who knows about pre-1914 buildings (which most surveyors don't). Take a look at the Period Property directory of experts. A decent mortgage company will heed a report from someone with RICS after their name.
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