With our third child due in September, January was the ideal time to think about buying a new home. Despite not being offered full market value, trading in our old home under Bryant’s part exchange scheme would be the most stress free method of moving, or so we were told.
We reserved the house in February based upon a site plan and brochure because the property was at first fix stage for services and unsuitable for visitors. Completion day was to be the start of June four months away. Communication was good regarding the sale of our old home and we were told we’d be invited to view a typical Bryant home being built to see service routes, followed by a pre-occupation walk through of our new home for snags to be addressed and appliances and systems to be demonstrated, then of the almost ceremony like procedures on completion day.
None of these ever happened, apart from a quick whizz round 6 days before we moved in, the rep having no clue about how anything worked and even struggling to operate the door lock. After exchanging contracts in April all communication stopped. June arrived but Bryant wouldn’t commit to a completion date. They allowed me into the house for the first time to measure up for carpets, as their quote was ridiculous, but I was in for a shock. It still hadn’t reached second fix stage. There were no sanitary or kitchen units fitted, no light switches, sockets, doors or radiators. The garden, which was meant to be ready for turf, was in a state too. It was uneven, littered with debris, and the fencing was wonky with a crotch-high gap under the rear boundary.
After applying subtle pressure, completion day finally came on the last day in June but the surprises weren’t over. We were locked out that evening because of Bryant’s preference for doors that lock without keys. Although instructed to leave ours, there were no light bulbs and all the ceiling rose covers were down, exposing the wires. There was no hot water and we later found the hot water/heating control was operating back to front, and the garden hadn’t altered apart from the rear gap; this had been backfilled with clay and rubble with a thin board nailed across the fence posts attempting to retain it.
We gave Bryant a list of thirty odd snags immediately. Some were minor, such as unfinished tiling and brick pointing; some were not, such as a missing radiator, broken gas box, and toilets and extractor fans not working. Others were simply ridiculous, such as a cable strewn across the loft hatch, a flood from a cross-threaded waste pipe nut, reps unsure what switches were for, and an uneven kitchen floor that also hadn’t been swept prior to the lino fitting if the bent nail we removed was any indication (in fact all the floors are uneven but aren’t as noticeable in the carpeted areas). We expressed concern also with some of the dry lining being very uneven, later learning of the low spec finish that doesn’t include a plaster skim (basically we can never wallpaper or tile â€“ to ever remove these would ruin the walls).
As new homes come with a 28-day maintenance contract, we didn’t worry, especially as Bryant are still on site.
Two months later, with the birth of our child imminent and nothing fixed other than a sticking door and the provision of light bulbs, we did worry. The snag list had grown to about fifty items, we’d submitted it to the site and Leeds head office, and even had a visit from the site and warranty managers. Despite emails, phone calls and my wife calling into the show home repeatedly, we never enjoyed the courtesy of a response. We felt stranded so we placed notices in our windows warning future buyers, and then threatened to contact the press.
The production manager called the next morning to go through the list yet again, and during the next fortnight 80% of our snags were fixed, but the list began to grow again. The hall flooded because a down pipe had been fitted in line with a roof vent. There were problems with the garage and front doors, bridging of the front damp proof course, and again badly fitted dry lining offering levels worse than our previous 102-year-old home. It took weeks of personal effort to prepare the garden for turf but as for the retaining problem, all Bryant did was heap soil behind the fence. What happens when this is removed for the intended footpath is obvious.
Then things took a turn for the ridiculous. Bryant tried to remedy the uneven kitchen floor, which was a 3 day upheaval, but botched it so laid the new lino without adhesive, promising to tile the floor to make it level. We chose the tiles the same day but it took 3 weeks for the tilers to arrive, and when they did, they said the floor was too uneven for tiles. Another day was spent with Bryant chipping out and patching in, the tilers rebooked for another day and us without a kitchen for the weekend. But come Monday morning the floor was as bad as ever and the tilers still refused to tile it!
Worse still, our newborn baby was affected by the dust so we obtained a doctor’s note. Bryant agreed no more work could safely be carried out until we move out, especially considering the dry lining to ceilings and walls that also require removing. They offered to move us out into a hotel or vacant part-exchanged home while they do the work. I objected because: this is a major upheaval 7 weeks before Xmas to fix things that should have been right 5 months ago; going on their past track record we have no confidence they will do the work correctly and in reasonable time; and this offer doesn’t include compensation. They then offered to send us on holiday for 2 weeks while they do the work. I refused because this is impossible due to work commitments and our eldest child being in school. So they offered to send us next summer instead and do the work then!
Instead we asked to be moved into a like-for-like property elsewhere on the development. As there are none this would mean a slight upgrade but Bryant refused, despite the fact it would mean a smaller unfinished garden. The answer was no. Currently they are moving us into a rental property for 4 weeks in January, and are going to break out and relay all ground floors and remove and reinstate the dry lining to 2 walls and 6 ceilings. For compensation I asked if they could redecorate while they were on. The answer was no!
Despite assurances otherwise, it is obvious the house was rushed at the last moment and badly inspected. As for customer service, there was none whatsoever until we took action that could have affected sales. In addition, Bryant refuses to offer any compensation whatsoever for 5 months of inconvenience, stress and unnecessary time off work to explain the same problems several times over.