Waiting for Persimmon Homes - BBC Watchdog Report
Moving into a new home is usually a cause for celebration, but you might not feel so cheerful if, like Karen Reid from Glasgow, you had been waiting for ten months for the move to take place.
Karen Reid and Paul Cook moved into their new Persimmon Home in Glasgow on May 7th. It cost £157,000 and, when they chose their plot and paid their registration fee 14 months ago, it only existed on paper.
They were told the house could be ready for last July . In July, Persimmon revised their entry date to November. Karen says: "Come November, we were told Xmas, and I thought great. I just wanted to be in the new house for Xmas". Meanwhile Karen had found a buyer for her old house, who could wait no longer. She and Paul moved out on the 23rd October, just a few weeks before they thought they were moving into their Persimmon home.
In the meantime, Karen and Paul had to live somewhere, so they spent two nights at Paul's brother David. The trouble was that he lived in Liverpool and they both work in Glasgow. Next they chose bed and breakfast at Glasgow's Burnbrae Hotel, spending two nights there at £50 per night. That was followed by six weeks in a self catering chalet at £120 per week.
Persimmon werenít hopeful and Paul says that "they suggested then that it was possibly be a better idea to move out of the cottage and take up rented accommodation". Persimmon offered to help them out with the £700 rent per month, on the condition that "as discussed with you, this gesture of goodwill must be treated in the strictest confidence".
Paul and Karen thought this was a bit odd, as all of the 12 properties on the site were 10 months late and they wondered why they were to be treated differently from everybody else. Meanwhile all Karen's things were put into storage at a cost of £57 per week and every time they needed to get something out of storage, it cost £70 to open the box.
Karen and Paul thought this was only going to be for six weeks, but after that time, they had to start buying things. January came and went, and finally in March, they were given another entry date of the end of April. This time the house was finished but there was a new problem.
Karen says: "We didnít get a reason until the final week when we were supposed to move in at the end of April. They told us it was because they didnít have a Habitation Certificate". A Habitation Certificate is granted by the local authority building control department. This department is charged with the responsibility of making sure that builders donít sell you houses that arenít fit to live in.
As the final move in date approached, there was still no Habitation Certificate. Karen says: "The day before we were due to move, we finally realised we werenít going to be moving in the next day. We had to go around cancelling all the things we had booked, our time off work, the removals, well everything that you book to move into a new house".
Finally on May 7th, after 10 months, Karen and Paul got to move in to their new home. If you reserve a house from a property developer, though you're legally bound to buy it, there may be no time limit on when the developer has to have it ready for you to move in.
When we contacted Persimmon, we were told: "The provisional date of entry was September 1998...Persimmon Homes regrets any inconvenience incurred by Paul Cook and Karen Reid during the completion of their property... Completion dates are not guaranteed and whilst Persimmon strives to achieve these dates, there are occasions when the situation is out of the company's control ... an old gas main was discovered within the development ... the delays which resulted from this had a knock on effect on the construction programme....the company has treated all of their clients with the same level of confidentiality".