An airline pilot spent nearly half a million pounds on her ‘dream home’ - only to be left unable to go upstairs in the house because it is plagued with issues.
Lucy Mitchell paid £475,000 for the four-bedroomed house in 2016 but since then has spent thousands more fixing a catalogue of drainage and electric faults.
The 55-year-old found problems all over the house, from no upstairs lights to broken thermostats, leaks and even cement blocking one of the toilets. Extractor fans leaked, taps were fitted the wrong way round, and some parts of the house were left unfinished.
Lucy bought the house from developers Redrow, which last year reported record annual profits, with pre-tax profits up 7% at £406 million for the year to June 30, 2019.
A leaking tap means the property is constantly damp, Lucy claims, while poor roof insulation means she can’t bear to go upstairs because it’s so cold it feels like “having the windows open all the time”.
“I had cracks on the walls, the front porch was not finished, the water was running down the drive into the garage at the front,” said Lucy.
“There was concrete poured down the toilets downstairs, clogging the drains. I knew there were problems with leaking, but I thought everything had been fixed.
“It wasn't until I moved in and tried to get the heating to work then I realised it didn’t work.”
Lucy bought the house in Badbury Park, Swindon, Wiltshire, from developers Redrow for around £475,000 - but almost immediately had to spend around £2,000 to upgrade the electrics.
She said that although Redrow sent workmen to fix the problems, things have only got worse.
“One of the plumbers, who was contracted, kept on coming for the same things - the heating and the water didn’t work," she said.
“Every time he came out he found something else. He said ‘your house has been sabotaged’. Wire has been cut from the heating system, so it didn’t work.”
Shortly after she moved in, Lucy noticed that her house was abnormally cold and expert report - which cost her a further £580 - revealed that there was missing insulation in the property and bad caulking around the windows.
She said: “I don’t go upstairs unless I have to. It is so cold. The winds blow straight into the house.
“I spend a lot of time downstairs and I tried to put plastic wrap over the air vents to sort of wrap them off, because it’s pretty much like having the windows open all the time and not having insulation either.”
Lucy, who lives alone, was quoted a further £780 by an insulations firm to fix the insulation problem in her roof and claims she spent £720 on solicitors' letters to urge Redrow to cover the cost of the insulation bill - which they have now agreed to do.
“I bought from Redrow because they are meant to be one of the better builders,” she added. My personal opinion now is that they are useless."
Reka Horvath, Redrow Thames Valley's head of customer services, said: "We’re aware of the concerns experienced by the customer and have been in direct contact to resolve any issues.
"All of our homes undergo rigorous inspection processes before completion and are signed off by the NHBC’s building control team.
"We are committed to addressing any defects which may affect customer satisfaction, and ensure all homes are completed in line with the NHBC’s requirements.
"We have confirmed with the homeowner and NHBC that we will instruct the remedial works suggested by the customer’s preferred contractor, subject to their confirmation that the proposed works are in line with expectations."