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The Alleged House

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"Ahh, home crap home!"
Walter, The Money Pit

So, a character just bought a new house. Maybe it's a Big Fancy House, or maybe it's something a bit more humble. The Real Estate Agent says it's a great deal. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

But then they move in, and suddenly things take a turn for the worse. The stairs squeak, then collapse. You try to take a shower, but only end up Covered in Mud. The faucet in the master bathroom won't stop dripping. The back door is being eaten by bugs. Both the oven and the grill in the garden char everything placed on them, and that's on the times when they don't go off in someone's face like an Improvised Incendiary Device. And it appears a family of skunks is living in the attic.

Uh oh. They've bought The Alleged House. Unfortunately, this trope is all too common in real life. May or may not also be an Old, Dark House, and god help you if it's also haunted. Compare The Alleged Car and The Alleged Computer for the automotive and computer equivalents. Contrast Cool House. If it's a Cool House hiding in alleged house clothing, see What a Piece of Junk and/or Not-So-Abandoned Building.


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  • House Of The Rising Sunflower: The lord's tower is in such a poor state that Sundance honestly would rather live in a barn than the noble residence. His replacement cottage is barely better, with his first night in it making him more miserable than he's ever been, and realizing that this is how his peasants have lived for years pushes housing improvements up his priorities list.
  • The Real Denton Affair: Frank lived in a run down farm house, instead of a Gothic castle.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The plot of *batteries not included revolves around the villains trying to tear down the old apartment, but from the state of it, they may as well have just waited for it to fall down. Fortunately, the Fix-Its end up restoring it as good (or maybe better) than new.
  • Ghostbusters: Egon Spengler describes the firehouse that becomes their headquarters as such (they still buy it, apparently at Ray's insistence because he likes the fire pole):
    Egon: I think this building should be condemned. There's serious metal fatigue in all the load-bearing members, the wiring is substandard, it's completely inadequate for our power needs, and the neighborhood is like a demilitarized zone.
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York: Uncle Rob's townhouse is a dirty wreck, which is why it's being renovated. This works out in Kevin's favor, since he's able to use the building's problems in his traps.
  • Ma And Pa Kettle has two: The house they used to live in, which is the traditional broken down shack, and the house Pa wins in a sweepstakes, which while much more modern and clean, is quite prone to gadget malfunctions.
  • In The Money Pit, buying and attempting to repair one of these is central to the plot.
  • The Mansion the brothers inherit in MouseHunt is a rotting, seemingly worthless wreck that they only move into because they have no other option. It turns out to actually be incredibly valuable, but nonetheless is falling apart.
  • Sheriff Bill Daggett of Big Whiskey from Unforgiven built his own wood frame house on a lonely parcel away from town. While recounting the exploits of The Wild West to biographer W. Beauchamp, both men set out assorted vessels to catch all the rainwater that's leaking through the roof. One of the sheriff's own deputies put it succinctly; "You know, he don't have a straight angle in that whole god-damned porch, or the whole house for that matter. He is the worst damn carpenter."
  • Peter Parker's apartment in Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 is one of these. It's small, it's ugly, and the door sticks. Presumably this is because he went with the cheapest option, being stuck in Perpetual Poverty (not that it stops Mr. Ditkovich from taking what little money he can get).
  • In The Great Muppet Caper, Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo stay at the rundown Happiness Hotel. Its residents sure are happy, though, and they proudly describe their dilapidated home in song.
    Fozzie: If that's the Happiness Hotel, I'd hate to see what the sad one looks like.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Full House: Invoked in "A House Divided", where Michelle tries to prevent the house from being sold to a previous owner, which means she'll have to move out, by making everything go haywire for him.
  • Green Acres: The Old Haney Place, which former big city lawyer Oliver Douglas buys so he can become a farmer. A run-down old farmhouse with no inside phone (Oliver has to climb a telephone pole to make a call). Renovations take up much of the show's run and are never fully finished; the master bedroom closet, for example, doubles as a back door.
  • Some of the houses fixed in Holmes on Homes.
  • The Leftovers: The house Nora purchases for three million dollars in season two turns out to be this.


    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show: There was a sketch where a lazy redneck was reciting a poem called "Life Sure Gets Tee-jus, Don't It?" Apparently unwilling or unable to work, he was poor to the point where he was out of food, had no presentable clothes, and his house was in terrible disrepair. In his own words: "Tinnote  roof leaks, chimney leans..." His house literally fell apart at the end of the sketch.

    Video Games 
  • Many of the default houses in The Sims series are described this way. They generally come with the lowest tier items, which are prone to breakdowns and malfunctions. And it's entirely possible to create your own if you don't know what you're doing, or are feeling a bit malevolent towards your sims.

    Western Animation 
  • House of Mouse: The short "Mickey's Mechanical House" has Mickey Mouse putting up with things like clattering pipes and a creaky roof in his house, prompting him to move into a technologically-advanced abode. And then the mechanical house turns into one of these when Mickey accidentally destroys the master remote control, making all of its gadgetry run amok. Mickey decides to go back to his old house, deciding that there's no place like home... because creaky roofs and constant cold from seeping wind is better than being nearly crushed by moving floors.
  • The Loud House: Although the house has been in the family since before the start of the series, the Loud family's house still fits this trope. The episode "Homespun" in particular makes it clear in how severe a state of disrepair it is.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The Simpson household, either from lack of maintenance or poor construction, is often shown with such unpleasantries as paper thin walls or faulty plumbing and wiring. This seemingly explains how the family can afford such a large house with Homer's paycheck.
    • When Marge gets a job as a real estate agent in "Realty Bites", she doesn't do well because her employer expects her to lie through her teeth to trick people into buy terrible homes. And then she actually manages to sell a house to the Flanders family, which plays with this: it is a perfectly fine home in terms of structure, and it definitely is the family's dream home... the problem is that it's a murder house. The Flanders family is still perfectly okay with it once they find out, but everybody else in the cast (especially Marge) feels nervous at the very concept and she can't stop feeling like she swindled them for not bringing the fact up sooner.
      Lionel Hutz: There's "the truth" [shakes head] and "the truth." [smiles wide] Let me show you. [shows pictures of homes for sale]
      Marge: It's awfully small.
      Lionel Hutz: I'd say it's awfully "cozy."
      Marge: That's dilapidated.
      Lionel Hutz: "Rustic."
      Marge: That house is on fire!
      Lionel Hutz: "Motivated seller."
  • Thanks to Dr. Seuss's art style, the house in Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You? is an "alleged house" in multiple senses of the word, with more floor space devoted to the winding staircases than rooms and a balcony with a basketball hoop and no railings. But it's also in severe disrepair; the shutters creak, termites are eating the stairs, and when Pontoffel tries using that basketball hoop, the ball falls right through the floor. It's no wonder he wants to get away.