We agreed to purchase a new £240,000 house from Harron Homes in December 2015. We paid a deposit in January 2016 and were told the house would be ready towards the end of May. Unfortunately, May came and went, as did June, July, August, September, October and November. Over that time we were constantly given the impression that we would be moving in soon. What actually happened was the house was left half-built and roofless for about three months while the development was built around it.
The neighbouring properties were completed – as were several other homes on the development – while ours was left untouched. We had to move in with my parents, a four-hour commute from my new job in Sheffield, while the months ticked by. I lived away from the family so I could get to work, and, after we were supposed to have moved in, my wife gave birth to our second child, who has had to spend her first six months in a Moses basket. Because we were continually promised the house would be ready imminently, we were unable to find somewhere to rent, put our goods in storage or book a holiday. The entire family has suffered stress due to sharing a cramped home in an unfamiliar area.
Harron Homes has made no effort to address our concerns. My requests to speak to someone in senior management have been rebuffed.
We were finally told we could complete on 16 December. Then, after I had booked carpet fitters, hired a van, ordered a sofa, and arranged for a floor fitter for the kitchen and bathrooms, and friends to help with the move, we were told this had been pushed back to 21 December. We had virtually no time to set up before Christmas. SB, Aberdeen
It’s been a bad couple of years for Harron Homes. In September it was criticised by Kirklees council for leaving purchasers on a different development homeless for eight months when work overran. In December 2015 a wall on another of its estates collapsed, crushing three cars whose owners were told they must claim on their own insurance. And, in April 2015, residents on a new estate in Huddersfield went to the press over their “homes from hell” after 11 months of flooding and damp.
Harron Homes declines to comment on your complaint, but it did ensure that you exchanged successfully on 21 December, seven months after you had hoped to move in.
Builders must give reliable information about when the home will be finished, but most are careful to provide estimated dates in contracts so they are not legally bound to observe them. If an unreasonable delay occurs, you have the right to back out and get a full refund of your reservation fee. Obviously that’s an unattractive proposition, as you would have to start house-hunting again from scratch.