1. ITV Report

New-build nightmares: Homeowners in the North East say they feel let down by quality

In the last six years, almost sixteen thousand brand new homes in the North East and North Yorkshire have been bought with the help of Government cash.

The Help to Buy scheme, which started in 2013, is designed to make mortgages more affordable for people wanting to get on the property ladder.

However, ITV Tyne Tees has been contacted by a number of buyers unhappy with the quality of their new build homes.

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

According to independent research, nine out of ten of all new build homes come with defects and snags.

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Adrian bought his brand new home in Newcastle for just over £130,000 pounds earlier this year.

When he moved in, he found issues including poorly fitted patio doors, imperfect plasterwork and leaks in the main bathroom.

  • Adrian took us on a tour around his home:

Since we filmed with Adrian, Keepmoat Homes have agreed to move Adrian out so that the issues with his home can be corrected.

“We are aware there have been a number of issues with Mr Anim’s home and have been in regular contact with him since he moved into the property.

However due to a number of circumstances including personnel changes within our North East business we acknowledge that communication hasn’t always been consistent. We have attempted to agree access to the property to complete works on a number of occasions however due to Mr Anim’s personal circumstances this has not been possible.

Therefore, in order for all the works identified to be carried out quickly and cause as little disruption to Mr Anim as possible we have agreed to move him into alternative accommodation and to have his belongings placed in secure storage at our expense. Two Regional Directors have also visited Mr Anim to confirm they will be dealing with the issue personally.

We appreciate that the house Mr Anim purchased was not initially delivered to the high standard we are committed to delivering for our customers and would like to further apologise to him for this, any distress caused and the time it has taken to rectify this situation.”

– Keepmoat Homes statement

The Home Builders Federation told us that although there is room for improvement, the number of serious issues with new homes is minimal, they are built to more exacting standards than ever before and the majority of buyers are happy with their purchase.

10 year
All brand new homes come with a ten year warranty.

For the first two years, any defects with the property are covered by the builder.

During years three to ten only major problems with the structure of the house are covered.

That includes things like the roof and the foundations.

Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

Another unhappy buyer ITV Tyne Tees filmed with is Chris Welch.

He and his partner paid more than £250,000 for their property in North Tyneside.

But since moving in he's found unfished mortar, flooring installed wrongly and leaking pipework.

Chris bought his new home from Miller Homes.

We contacted them for a response and they sent ITV Tyne Tees the following statement.

Our team has been in regular contact with Mr Welch to resolve the minor snagging issues we were aware of, some of which may have been caused by alterations Mr Welch made to his property.

It was our understating these were rectified in agreement and to the satisfaction of Mr Welch. We are not aware of Mr Welch having a claim open with the NHBC.

Other issues raised by ITV had not previously been logged with us; however we immediately contacted Mr Welch and have arranged for these minor snagging issues to be rectified within the next few weeks. As a gesture of goodwill we have also agreed to carry out some decoration work at Mr Welch’s property.

Whilst settlement and snagging does occur in new build homes, we endeavour to resolve any issues we are aware of as quickly as possible for customers within their two year Buildmark warranty period, as is the case with Mr Welch.”

– Miller Homes statement

Organisations like the HomeOwners Alliance, who represent buyers across the UK, believe developers need to be more accountable and think the Government needs to speed up the introduction of an independent ombudsman for the new build home sector.

  • When will a New Homes Ombudsman service launch in the UK?

The Government has committed to setting up new homes ombudsman service.

Speaking to ITV Tyne Tees, Housing Minister Esther McVey admitted in a statement to us that more needs to be done to protect consumers and said the Government is in the process of setting the Ombudsmen service up.

Esther McVey MP was named Housing Minister in July 2019 Credit: PA

It’s completely unacceptable if developers are not building homes to the high standards we and the public would rightly expect.

If corners are being cut then developers should be responsible for resolving these issues.

We know more needs to be done to protect consumers, and we have just consulted on the design of a New Homes Ombudsman to protect the rights of homebuyers and hold developers to account.”

– Housing Minister Rt Hon Esther McVey