Delay compensation - what to expect?

New Build Inspections

leelad00

New Member
TL;DR What kind of things can a house builder offer as part of a goodwill gesture/compensation package in your experience?

So, myself and my partner originally reserved our new build property off-plan at the end of June 2021 and then went on to exchange contracts in August 2021. At the time of reservation we were told that the house wouldn't be ready to complete until December 2021 and December 2021 was on our exchange of contracts as the expected completion date. Essentially, we had been awaiting another property to come available and they called to tell us about this one that we eventually went for - the previous buyer dropped out and we had originally enquired about this one so they gave us a bit of a "First Refusal" option which we were buzzing about so duly went ahead. It is a shared ownership property.

For context, our Long Stop date is June 2022 and we extended our mortgage offer from 14th November to 16th February.

However, visiting the site quite regularly, we got closer and closer to December only to realise that nothing was being built on our plot. We made many fruitless attempts to contact the housing company but were often rebutted with excuses like "sorry, we have a build sales meeting next week then we can update you" etc etc. Those updates never came.

Then, in October 2021 I went into the builders office to complain and then i ended up having a call with the regional sales manager for this development. He apologised, explained that there has obviously been a delay to the building of our plot and that after visiting the site he expected it to be completed in February. So, understandably annoyed we just left it at that and got on with xmas etc.

Still, visiting the site regularly as a bit of a drive on a weekend we could see that the house still wasn't being built. It got to the first week back after xmas and new year and I was emailing and calling again - 4th January 2022. It was only until I then managed to guess email addresses of the sales manager, head office, head of sales and copying them all in demanding a response and explanation before I was to submit a formal complaint. Someone rang me within half an hour (funny that, eh?).

On this call from the sales manager who originally told us that February would be the new date, he conceded that again there would be another delay because there has been issues with the plot and the street that the plot was on (there were other houses in a cul de sac, the street of which our house was at the beginning of; who must have been waiting well over a year to move in, that were fully built but delayed) - and they were very sorry but it was now looking like a solid date of JUNE 2022 (!) which, conveniently is when our long stop date is.

At this point, they offered us three options:

1 - cancel the contract entirely and refund us our deposit plus any financials we may have incurred e.g. mortgage advisors, solicitors etc
2 - An offer to swap to a new plot entirely that was closer to completion
3 - wait until June but offer us a compensation/goodwill gesture package

So, out of those options:

Option 1 for us is not the outcome we set out for. We are back living with my parents; 6 people in a 3 bed semi which is really cramped with no space or privacy whilst paying for a storage unit to hold furniture and belongings - we just want somewhere to live. That's all we want and getting a refund etc would mean us having to restart the whole process again and we would not get a deal as good as we got for the small deposit the shared ownership enabled us two 20-somethings to get.

Option 2 was the original option but the difficulty was, they had no other shared ownership properties either available now, or completing earlier than June 2022 which would otherwise defeat the point. They claimed that if we wanted another plot (that was the same property type or similar) that was on an outright sale tenure; they would need to apply and go through legalities to have it switched over to a shared ownership tenure; which they said would take longer than June 2022 anyway (so basically they weren't willing to do this).

Option 3 now seems like the only option available to us which, doesn't get us into our house any sooner; I feel like they just offered us 1&2 to make us feel like they were doing something to help us and probably knowing we would reject Option 1.

All of this alongside high pressure at work for myself and my partner; stressful living conditions; having to extend mortgage offers AGAIN (this second time is about to cost me £75 and a new payslip), being ignored and/or lied to about the status of the house; paying for storage units etc, not being able to take out new lines of credit through fear of having our mortgage offer rejected on completion (my girlfriend wants her first car but can't afford to buy one outright, I am coming to the end of my car's finance agreement too so will need a new one soon) - after all of that, I want to absolutely make sure that the housing company will PAY through their nose in "goodwill gestures" to make things up for us.

SO, after all of that (congrats if I didn't bore you enough for you to get to the end); outside of the obvious like claiming back from the house builder the £75 mortgage offer extension; what kind of things are they ABLE to offer us? Has anyone got experience of having recieved these kinds of goodwill gesture and/or compensation and if so, what did you get out of them/how much?

The only reason I say this is that I have a feeling they'll try and get out of this offering the least amount possible; so if I know what other people have managed to get out of house builders and also what is within their power to give out if necessary; then it will give me a good basis of things to go after to make the most out of the situation. I have asked what's in their power to give us but they've kinda brushed around the topic and said it would be better to have a meeting with them and their head of sales face to face to sign it off... So i want to go into that meeting prepared!

We already have fully fitted and tiled/floored bathrooms and kitchen incl dishwasher, fridge and oven.

Things I have heard:

- Flooring (the sales manager mentioned this himself but he's in for a shock if he thinks that's the only thing they'll be giving us)
- Washing machines/dryers
- Grass (we get turfed anyway)

Anything else people can let me know about that we can do to benefit ourselves?

P.s. in other forums I have seen people asking similar and some claiming "they don't owe you anything because it's not a delay to a fixed completion or long stop date" which I understand but: 1. it's past the completion date written into the exchange of contracts, 2. Completion is likely to be on/around/past our long stop date and 3. they've already offered us a goodwill package so, it's on the table now.

Thank you so much in advance!

L
 

New Build Inspector

snagging inspections 01788 494400
a builder will normally have it their contract that they will not be held responsible for delays

advice on this kind of thing can be found in the consumer code for house buyers ....which explains your rights from the point of deposit

it will come down to a gesture of good will ...for whatever reason

but i wouldnt hold your breath , but agree its worth trying
 

leelad00

New Member
a builder will normally have it their contract that they will not be held responsible for delays

advice on this kind of thing can be found in the consumer code for house buyers ....which explains your rights from the point of deposit

it will come down to a gesture of good will ...for whatever reason

but i wouldnt hold your breath , but agree its worth trying
Yeah they've already said they will give us a gesture of goodwill, just wondering what kind of things to expect and what I can try and get them to throw in! Thanks for the reply
 

New Build Inspector

snagging inspections 01788 494400
There's no automatic right to anything ...get ask whatever you think is fair and expect to be negotiated down

Sometimes getting work done can be more effective than cashb ...i.e further paving or extra lighting etc
 

leelad00

New Member
There's no automatic right to anything ...get ask whatever you think is fair and expect to be negotiated down

Sometimes getting work done can be more effective than cashb ...i.e further paving or extra lighting etc
No I understand that, I guess I am just trying to find out like, if I walk in there and ask for a sofa for example; they won't look at me like an idiot haha (outrageous example obvs).

I was thinking like, Flooring, blinds/shutters, a washer/dryer, fitted wardrobes - are they all reasonable things to ask for (a combination of or individually depending on how generous they're feeling)?

Thanks :)
 

leelad00

New Member
I think that's a good strategy ...and in my experience works more than demanding cash
Great thank you; I don't think cash was ever going to cross my bargaining plan to be honest - material things like previously mentioned they'll be able to get cheaper than I would anyway so more worthwhile asking for stuff than £ like you said!

Cheers :)
 

Shnwgg1!

New Member
Depending on the stage of the build, you could ask for upgraded plug / media sockets, additional sockets in the kitchen, outside electrical sockets, upgraded chrome light switches, upgrade from pendant to ceiling spotlights, security alarm installation, it depends on what matters to you and what you already get as part of the package. I would be weary with them supplying you with dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer as you would be stuck with what they give you where as you might chose something different I.e. energy efficient, use less water, quieter etc.
if these material things aren’t of importance your could ask for a contribution to stamp duty.
hope these ideas help. Good luck!
 

leelad00

New Member
Depending on the stage of the build, you could ask for upgraded plug / media sockets, additional sockets in the kitchen, outside electrical sockets, upgraded chrome light switches, upgrade from pendant to ceiling spotlights, security alarm installation, it depends on what matters to you and what you already get as part of the package. I would be weary with them supplying you with dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer as you would be stuck with what they give you where as you might chose something different I.e. energy efficient, use less water, quieter etc.
if these material things aren’t of importance your could ask for a contribution to stamp duty.
hope these ideas help. Good luck!
Very good point thank you. We have had the call with them and they're offering to put flooring in the house; or try and possibly credit the same amount in value towards our deposit, to be paid on completion.
 

AminaOwet

New Member
There's no automatic right to anything ...get ask whatever you think is fair and expect to be negotiated down Sometimes getting work done can be more effective than cashb ...i.e further paving or extra lighting etc  
You it is serious?
 
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