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Family wait a year for over 100 snags to be put right in their new home

As homeowners continue to suffer from poor quality new builds across the UK, we look at recent TV coverage for one of our members

Hundreds of faults and defects

Families in Bedfordshire have spoken of their stress levels hitting the roof after buying new homes that were left with hundreds of snags, faults and defects. We spoke to one of our members Dan Simpson, about his situation.

Dan told us that he and his wife and daughter discovered more than a hundred snags and defects when they moved into their new build home a year ago. His wife was heavily pregnant at the time and Dan says the family’s stress levels sky-rocketed.

Dan says: “I can’t sit and relax here – there are so many things wrong. The stress and inconvenience it has caused is off the scale. It is a never ending cycle. My wife was really stressed also and had a really difficult birth and I had a week’s paternity leave with three different groups of trades people here.”

The waiting game

Dan says he and his wife have waited for more than a year for the render and faulty block work on the £345,000 property to be fixed. He explains that scaffolding has eventually gone up and remedial work has begun, but the developer does not ensure the tradesmen always turn up and, when they do, there is often a mess, including rubble on the doorway. “Work only started after the sales office left – I don’t think that is a coincidence. There was also a banner up saying residents on site would recommend them – which is misleading.”

Hit a brick wall

Dan is looking for compensation for some of the many snags and defects, including the lawn, which he says was laid in a rush and not levelled. On top of this, Dan says his family have had to contend with creaky floors, paint covered carpets, poor plasterwork inside and loose paving slabs and wonky guttering outdoors. Dan feels he has hit a brick wall contacting senior management at the developer he purchased his home from with emails being passed around the houses.

The list of snags goes on

Their neighbour Daisy Craydon also had a number of issues since moving in with her partner and one-week-old baby 11 months ago, including: a damaged sink; a staircase being fitted to plasterboard and coming away from the wall; data points being fitted with no wiring attached behind the sockets; a cracked element in a dishwasher plug that burnt out and – worryingly – did not trip any electrics; the flooring in the front room not being completely filled with cement meaning it is now falling through; and, the boiler leaking through the floorboards.

“The list goes on,” she says. “We had a one-week-old baby when we moved into the house and she is now 11 months old. As you can imagine, it’s a very stressful time as is. We decided to purchase a new build for the ease of life as we knew we would have a child to tend to, but how wrong were we. We’ve complained numerous times, had several trades come out to replace or repair the snags but no compensation for our constant stress, time and worries. We just can’t take anymore stress from the place we call home, that is supposed to be a safe haven for our family.”

Support for holding back cash from developers

The HomeOwners Alliance recently found that almost 9 in 10 (88%) new build homeowners and three-quarters (76%) of UK adults want ‘snagging retention’, a system to withhold funds to house builders until they rectify faults. Our proposal is for Government to encourage developers to offer all buyers of new homes the right to retain a very minimum 2.5% of their purchase price for six months to give time for snags and defects to be put right. If this is not done, they must be financially compensated. The aim is that this mechanism would incentivise builders to get it right first time.

The figures are from our national 2019 Annual Homeowners Survey polled by YouGov, looking at new build homeowner satisfaction throughout the purchase and ownership experience.

While new build home buyers were generally satisfied with some aspects of the sales process, just 54% felt the warranty was clearly explained and only 57% felt their warranty provider resolved disputes with the builder in the first two years of ownership or put right any structural problems, thereafter.

Here to help

As well as campaigning for change,  the HomeOwners Alliance provides free advice like how to get things fixed in your new home and offers a membership service to support new build homeowners like Dan.

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