To exclude, to expel:
First-time buyers Sallyann Smith and fiance Gareth Hawkins collected keys to their three-bed home – a property built by Crest Nicholson – in Maldon, Essex, last July. Seven months later they allege they pocketed at least £5,000 from problems with the building
A couple who claim their new £385,000 building has an ‘unusable’ kitchen after collecting their keys say they have lost hope in the fight for justice.
Sallyann Smith, 23, and financier Gareth Hawkins, 26, originally planned to move into their three-bed home – a property built by Crest Nicholson – in Maldon, Essex, last June.
However, the day before that, and after paying developer Crest Nicholson around £30,500, they said they were told the property had no service – including no heating.
The withholding, which Ms. Smith said was followed by a few more weeks of delay, meant they missed out holiday stampedadded £3,000 to their fee.
Sallyann told The Mirror: “Problems on their end meant we would have to find thousands of pounds more to cover the fees and taxes. “To be first time buyer With a really tight budget, we really need the tax holiday support.
“We asked if they would pay it to us or deduct the house price – but they refused.” she speaks.
“We had already paid the deposit at the time so we felt back into a corner.”
The couple eventually got the keys on July 29, but three days later, they announced that they discovered the kitchen had a severe mold infection.
“We also don’t have a ventilation fan, so we can’t use the kitchen to cook. It cannot be used. ”
Sallyann, who was seven months pregnant at the time, said: ‘I saw mold under the kitchen cabinets so I emailed Crest Nicholson and they agreed to deal with it – but then the radio went silent.
“The underside of the skirting board is moldy and thick.
“A manager eventually agreed to investigate it. In September, someone came to inspect the property. But then the venue manager left the company and things went from bad to worse,” stated Ms. Smith.
“One person was sent out to clean it, but we requested a new unit because it was severely wet.
“They took the kitchen apart and a moisture specialist we hired checked the temperature on the walls and found the walls of the house were 99.9% wet.
“After that, the team put the kitchen back but left the oven and cupboards out and there were holes in the wall. This went on for a week.
“At one point, one of the customer service agents walked in and said it smelled really bad to which I replied I know and you expect me to live like this.
“We didn’t really have a kitchen – back to the block because of the mold.
“I was washing dishes in the dining room with a bucket when I was eight months pregnant,” she added.
“The house that was effectively sold to us was not finished. So much so that we had to move out to live with our family. “
Crest Nicholson offered to put buyers in a hotel, but Ms Smith said the thought of living in a hotel for months while pregnant made her extremely nervous.
Six months later, they finally have a working kitchen, but they claim to have pocketed thousands of pounds.
“We are now financially exhausted from having to buy food from outside, to meet family members who live 30 miles away for dinner and to do laundry at a small laundromat.
“Crest Nicholson has agreed to pay our £330 energy bill because we had to have a dehumidifier up and running for six weeks.
“But we had to move out, so we were paying for that, the mortgage, the water, the council tax and all the other costs in a property we couldn’t live in. ”
Sallyann, frustrated with the service, claims she has been blocked from commenting on Crest Nicholson Facebook page after addressing her concerns on social media.
She alleges that the company’s regional director asked her to “pause the NHBC survey until Crest Nicholson redeems himself for a bad review that would affect Crest Nicholson.”
NHBC is a 10-year guarantee applicable on all new builds in UK.
To date, Sallyann and her partner have written to Crest Nicholson four times about being covered for their additional charges.
“The house is habitable. I sent them the cost breakdown four times.
“It comes to around £5,000, including all the times I’ve had to quit my job because I’ve been told someone is coming to check on the property – when usually nobody shows up.”
They are still waiting for the regional director to contact them again to make a final decision.
Separate employees at the company are said to have told the couple that according to company policy, Crest Nicholson did not pay compensation.
The company, which reported pre-tax profits of £86.9m last year, refused to cooperate when approached by The Mirror.
It offers to cover £500 of incidental costs – just 10% of what the couple say they have lost due to the failure.
A spokesperson shared the following statement and added that someone will be in direct contact with the couple.
However, they did receive a letter saying they had “discontinued contact” with the buyer because they had approached a newspaper.
A statement said: “We are aware of Ms. Smith’s concerns and, after various assessments, have now successfully completed all of her kitchen related work.
“We continue to have conversations with Ms. Smith and hope to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all parties involved as soon as possible.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/couple-discover-kitchen-unusable-after-26268063 Couple discovers kitchen 'unusable' after collecting keys to new £385,000 construction