Couple sue builders over dream home

A family living in their £350,000 dream home are suing the builders after an independent inspector found 176 defects.

Justin and Sarah Gardner say their Bryant Homes house in Headington has turned into a living nightmare because it is riddled with faults.

Nearly 18 months after the couple and their three young children moved into the Elton Close house it still has scores of defects.

The Gardners’ one-year-old daughter Emilia has already fallen on a loose kickboard — the skirting board attached to the bottom of kitchen units — and split her top lip with her teeth.

Last weekend an independent inspector found 176 faults during a visual inspection of the four-bedroom home.

The Gardners purchased the property off plan, but although the National House Builders’ Council says the house is fully covered by its Buildmark Warranty the couple will not receive its building control certificate until the major defects are rectified. Without the certificate the couple say they will find it impossible to sell and believe their insurance may be invalid.

Now the couple are suing Bryant Homes for breach of contract.

Mr Gardner, 33, a market research consultant, said: “There are literally hundreds of things wrong with this house and we want them put right. We are finding it very stressful because every weekend we prepare for our court case and it’s starting to have a big impact on our family life.”

The inspection revealed chipped radiators, holes in the front door, missing screws in door hinges and a fire escape window screwed shut.

The couple claim roof tiles have fallen off, and no cavity wall insulation was fitted, which they reckon has cost them an extra £100 in heating bills a month during the winter.

A spokesman for Bryant Homes’ parent company Taylor Woodrow, said: “We are communicating with Mr and Mrs Gardner through our solicitors and will ensure all areas of concern are addressed.”

The snagging inspector said: “Many purchasers of new homes do not realise how little consumer protection they have in the UK. New homes are exempt from the Sale of Goods Act 1994, which means you have more consumer rights purchasing a can of baked beans than you do a new home.

“Most new homes in the UK are sold with a 10-year warranty, however this is an insurance policy not consumer protection. The warranty providers — most commonly the NHBC — write the standards for the finish of a new home, but they don’t carry out inspections to all of these standards.

“This is left to the discretion of the developer, which is why so many new homes have defects in 99.9 per cent of our experience.”

Melissa Blamey, of the NHBC, said: “We understand that Mr and Mrs Gardner have issued court proceedings against the builder and as a result the building control certificate cannot be issued until this is resolved.”

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