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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25425
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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, I wonder if you can give me some advise. I have a new

Resolved Question:

Hi, I wonder if you can give me some advise. I have a new home built by Taylor Wimpey which is now out of the 2 year defect liability period. Throughout the two years I have had a continual problem with the drainage. My patio has been dug up three times already for them to alter the drainage and once an area of the garden to install soakaways (different issue). I still have the problem and they are now talking about digging up the garden to alter the drainage again. The drain has been unblocked around 14 times now.. I have asked the builder as a gesture of good will if they can add some more top soil and some sleepers whilst they are doing the work to level off the garden slightly and they have said no.. Where can I go with this now as I do not feel my request is unreasonable?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

I am sorry to read of the problems you have been experiencing. For the avoidance of any doubt do I understand correctly that in the event of any dispute you are able to conclusively prove that you notified the builder of the defect within two years of the date of completion of your purchase please? If so you would be able to produce written proof of that - e.g email exchanges or correspondence etc?

Customer:

Hi, yes, I have copies of any emails sent to the builder

Joshua :

Thank you. Finally I assume your property was supplied with a building warranty from NHBC or Zurich or another insurer? This is a given as it is required by lenders for lending purposes. Do you know which insurer issued the warranty?

Customer:

Yes it is NHBC registered

Joshua :

Thanks. The position is generally positive in that from what you say you reported the defect to the builder within the first two years from completion and accordingly the builder is responsible for rectifying. You maybe aware that after the first two years, the warranty cover drops significantly to principally the major structural components of the house however on the basis you can prove that you reported the issue in the first two years and it has not yet been resolved you have a potential claim.

Customer:

They have been trying to rectify but it is just taking a really long time, I just felt I should be awarded some form of compensation/gesture of good will?

Joshua :

The builder is obligated by NHBC to rectify the issue. You are required to give them reasnable opportunity to do so. Based on what you say they have been given more than reasonable opportunity and have failed successfively to do so. Accordingly you may either continue to work with the builder or submit a claim to NHBC on the basis that the builder has tried and repeatedly failed to resolve the defect. You will need to provide evidence that you raised the issue within the first two years, and evidence of what has been attempted by the builder and the present position.

Joshua :

Sorry I have just had to take a biref phone call - I will with your permission be back with you in a couple of minutes...

Joshua :

My apologies I am back

Joshua :

NHBC will look at your claim and determine whether you have given the builder sufficient time and opportunity (which clearly you must have done givent he number of attempts you mention) and then determine what action the builder must take or in the altenative pay for an alternative contractor to provide a permanent solution.

Joshua :

If you are not happy with the determination of NHBC to your claim you can refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman which can award damages for compensation and to pay for an alternative contractor to remedy the issue.

Joshua :

Regarding your request to the builder on top soil, you do not have a right to ask that the builder "improves" your property. However they must rectify the failure in drainage and they must make good any damage caused to your land. If the work they have undertaken or the drainage issue has caused your garden to be damaged (sink?) and this all forms part of the initial defect you reported within the first 2 years, then you can require them to replair the damage to your garden

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

Ahh ok, I just hoped that due to the length of time it has taken my request was fair. They have attended whenever I have reported the issue but its just taken over two years and still not complete

Joshua :

You could seek compensation for the number of times they have failed to repair as an alternative, to compensate for the disruption you have encountered. This is not strictly something that is covered by NHBC but the Financial Ombudsman has power to make decisions on fairness so it is something you could raise and refer to your proposal as an alternative to a claim for compensation. That might succeed.

Joshua :

Either way I would be tempted to not allow the matter to subsist much longer without escalating to NHBC as you have been more than patient with the builder.

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Customer:

Yes you've been very helpful thank you

Joshua :

A pleasure. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Customer:

Of course, thank you

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