Customers have told of how when they picked up the keys to their dream homes they discovered a string of issues and work unfinished – leading a housebuilder to apologise.
A young couple finding their home was missing its oven and a mum having to make an 18-mile trip to do her washing are among a litany of complaints laid at Bovis Homes’s door.
The FTSE-250 developer has apologised for the standard of some of its properties at two Norfolk sites and promised to make changes.
George Peel and his partner Leanne Black, both 25, agreed to buy their starter home at Round House Park, Norwich, in spring last year and were given a date in early August to move in.
However, after numerous set backs, when the pair eventually were able to move in on December 23 they said their new home was unfinished with appliances missing from the kitchen. He said: “When we got to the office to complete and get the keys there was one of our neighbours in there with the sales team crying which was a bit of a warning sign.
“When we got to the house there was just a hob and an extractor in kitchen, which is apparently all a house needs to be considered inhabitable. The site manager couldn’t seem to understand why we were angry that this was how it was.”
Mr Peel, who works as an air charter specialist for SaxonAir, said it felt “like they were in a rush to complete by the end of the year”.
Social media groups have been set up by angry owners of Bovis homes with many reporting similar issues.
Alexis Zelley moved into her home at Queens Hills, Costessey, with her young daughter more than 12 months ago and said a long list of snags still has not been dealt with. “The day before we moved in they hadn’t finished the kitchen,” she said. “I don’t know how they got it done but when we did move in they had made mistakes.
“We had ordered a washing machine rather than a washer-dryer and when I told them they said not to use it so it could be exchanged. That still hasn’t happened. I have been having to take my washing to my mum’s which is not ideal.”
Bovis Homes’ apology
Housebuilder Bovis has apologised for problems at its Costessey and Cringleford sites.
A spokesman said: “We are working with our customers at Costessey and Cringleford to resolve their issues and we take their complaints very seriously.
“We recognise that in some cases at these locations we have not provided the standard of home that we pride ourselves on, for which we apologise.
“We also recognise that our customer service has to improve and we are absolutely committed to getting this right and are taking actions to put in place robust procedures and practices to rectify issues such as these and prevent them from occurring again.”
The Kent-based business was forced to issue a profit warning before Christmas blaming “slower-than-expected build production” in December for a year-end knock to its sales rate, with completions on around 180 homes delayed into early 2017.
Chief executive David Ritchie announced he was to step down from his role on Monday off the back of the company’s performance, which is expected to see pre-tax profits come in between £160m and £170m down from city predictions of £183m.
Advice for home-buyers
Birketts LLP associate Sara Hull, who works in the residential property team, said: “Contracts for new build properties usually make provision for there to be some matters outstanding at the property at completion and provided that these are minor the buyer is not able to delay completion.
“The vast majority of new build properties benefit from a warranty so the property is required to be built to the warranty providers standards before they are able to require completion to take place.
“We do recommend that buyers visit the property regularly so that they can see the progress being made and bring any issues to the developers attention early on rather than discovering them on the day they move.
“When buyers are invited by the developer to view their property before completion it is important that they take the opportunity to inspect the property and raise any concerns at that time.
“If there are issues with the property at completion then generally developers have a customer care team to help resolve matters.
“Alternatively if the builder is a member of the Consumer Code for House Builders and the developer does not resolve the situation they can refer it to the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme who are able to assist with issues arising in the first two years of the warranty up to a maximum value of £15,000.”