Inside Coast pensioner’s $500k house of horrors
LES Watts has sunk nearly $500,000 into a home that does not have a kitchen, laundry or driveway, and some of the windows have been put in upside down.
The Gold Coast pensioner, living on less than $500 a week, is resigned to continuing his five-year nightmare, but is hellbent on ensuring someone else does not lose their dream home before Christmas.
Mr Watts' unfinished house in Parkwood has so many defects he has no way of getting it insured. The 66-year-old says he does not owe any money, yet is legally banned from living at the property.
And he wants to know why innocent, hardworking Australians who pay their bills can be subject to ruin through no fault of their own.
The former architectural draftsman, who spent decades designing golf courses in China, wants answers from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
He says now-banned builder Adrian Hill was able to get away with poor-quality work for so long because of a failed system.
Mr Hill, who was this year banned from the industry until September 2022, was not contactable.
Now Mr Watts is left with a two-bedroom home with no kitchen, no driveway, a laundry and garage that floods when it rains.
Besides that a myriad of issues includes windows and doors that have been installed upside down, and sewer pipes that haven't been installed correctly.
Mr Watts contracted Mr Hill in November 2014 to build his dream home in Parkwood.
"I wanted to come in after six months and walk into a finished home," he said.
"That was the agreement."
The contract price was $500,000, but when Mr Watts came to sign it he claims it had been changed to $300,000.
Mr Watts said Mr Hill explained that the discrepancy was to save GST. He signed anyway.
"I thought if he gets into trouble it's his fault."
Mr Watts, who was still living in Macau at the time designing golf courses, came back to Australia in February 2015, to find that nothing had been done beyond digging a hole for the laundry and double garage.
He said Mr Hill blamed the delay on the weather.
In February that year Mr Hill began work on the concrete slab for the house, claiming he would complete the home in the six-month time frame, but by April Mr Watts claims it was a long way from being complete.
Mr Watts said at that point he realised there were serious problems with the build.
Delays were further compounded in 2015 by an issue relating to the proximity of the septic tank to the house.
In April, 2018 Mr Hill stopped working on the home and his last communication from the builder was in January this year.
Mr Watt said he needed the defects fixed before he could get the home insured.
Furthermore, the property was not fit for habitation and he could not live there until it was certified by the council.
He wants more stringent checks of builders and certifiers during the building process to ensure they are following the correct procedures.
Mr Watt said he does not want other people to be caught out by what he calls "dodgy builders".
The QBCC declined to comment.