A couple say their Help to Buy dream became a nightmare as they claim to have found 150 problems in their new-build home in two years.
Amy Fenn, 24, and fiancé George Watts-Sturrock, 32, bought the £265,000 starter home under the flagship Government scheme.
But their joy turned to misery with a seemingly never-ending list of “snags”.
The couple claim there was damp and mould, uneven walls and unfinished stairs. They say a sink was wonky, doors were wobbly, worktops damaged, tiling was iffy and drains were blocked with rubble.
Then – through sheer bad luck, not down to poor building – there were two floods.
In that second, a water tank exploded as horrified Amy and George lay in bed.
Amy said: “We heard a huge bang and gushing water and found the tank in our boiler system had literally exploded. It has just been one thing after another.”
George, who works in quality assurance, said: “We were so excited to get our first home but it’s been a nightmare.”
The detached three-bed property was billed in a glossy brochure as being part of “a superb collection of stunning homes” by Suffolk builder Hopkins & Moore.
The first flood came in October 2019 when a toilet pipe burst, soaking the house.
On that occasion, the couple were put in temporary accommodation for eight weeks.
A buildings expert has compiled a list of issues for the couple – who first logged concerns within days of getting the keys in 2018.
Care worker Amy added: “We took pictures of mould within the first week.”
The house – which has a 10-year warranty backed by the National House Building Council – forms part of the Queen’s Meadow development in Hockering, Norfolk.
Under Help to Buy rules, Amy and George cannot sell without repaying a 20 per cent equity loan. They would also face a £7,000 penalty for breaking the terms of their five-year fixed mortgage.
George said: “Help to Buy has meant we’re effectively unable to sell because of the costs we could incur. We just can’t afford it. We’re trapped here for the time being.”
Hopkins & Moore is a trading name of Suffolk housebuilder Hopkins Homes – co-owned by fine art trader James Hopkins, 60, and wife Selina, 46. They appear in the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated £300million fortune.
Lee Barnard, managing director of Hopkins & Moore, said: “We are always disappointed when a customer is not satisfied.
“As part of our rigorous processes, all snagging items, which can feature in any new home, were satisfactorily completed and approved by the customer in January 2019.
“Many items did not, however, require attention as they related to work completed by the customer, met required standards, or were not covered by our or NHBC’s warranty.
“All heating systems in our homes are of a high quality, but as with all systems they need to be regularly maintained and serviced.
“While the recent pressure vessel incident took place outside of the two-year warranty period, we remain keen to support the couple in any way we can.”