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Homebuyers Fightback campaigner launches CrowdJustice appeal to cover legal fees

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The founder of Homebuyers Fightback has launched a CrowdJustice appeal to fund legal fees in a battle to secure better protection for new-build home buyers.

And John Gaskell has spoken of the human cost of living in a defective house since September 2019 and the ongoing battle - including pursuing small claims court cases against the developer - to rectify the problems.

Since he and his wife bought the house in Whittlesford it has been beset with problems affecting plumbing, heating, insulation, pathways and garage, and they have been advised it does not meet disability access building regulations. They face a bill of £35,000-£45,000 to fix outstanding problems which the developer labelled “largely cosmetic”.

John Gaskell launched Homesbuyers Fightback after experiencing a range of problems at his new-build home in Whittlesford Picture: Keith Heppell (45161233)
John Gaskell launched Homesbuyers Fightback after experiencing a range of problems at his new-build home in Whittlesford Picture: Keith Heppell (45161233)

John said: “I would hardly call not installing underfloor heating pipework in part of the property, a wrongly wired programmer and not meeting warranty, manufacturers’ standards and building regulations legislation, cosmetic. Nor would I describe as cosmetic failing to instal wiring and electrical infrastructure, systemic plumbing and hot water problems and a garage built at the wrong height. Hardly the stuff that delivers peace of mind and a good night’s sleep.”

He says the developer claims its commitment to delivering “exacting standards” but now seems to hide behind the small print to avoid putting things right.

He cites a report by HouseScan, which offers professional snagging reports, to support his claim: “During our inspection, a number of issues fell short of building regulations and the warranty provider’s own technical standards. We all too often see developers and warranty providers underdelivering on their promises and duty of care.”

John said the problems have resulted in huge stress for the couple who moved to the new home for retirement. He feels the balance of power favours developers who “hide behind contracts written in the language of exclusion”.

He said: “These problems undermine your confidence in your home and affect your peace of mind. It is profoundly depressing. All I have asked is to receive compensation based on the market cost of putting matters right. I also think it is entirely reasonable to expect relatively modest compensation for all the distress and loss of amenity we have suffered. That is hardly the stuff of ambulance chasers.

“If they practised what they preached they could bring this ongoing nightmare to an end within days. We have had to deal with this for 18 months.”

MPs Anthony Browne and Daniel Zeichner have backed Homebuyers Fightback as John seeks to rebalance the buyer-seller relationship to empower and protect the new-build buyer, including a home buyers’ charter and a new homes ombudsman.

He said: “There is a systemic failure of quality control from building control right through the chain and the system of redress doesn’t work - you feel disenfranchised and there is no ombudsman.

“My case is about much more than my personal situation - there is a far bigger public interest issue and I have launched my CrowdJustice campaign to help meet legal expenses.

“It is about fighting to defend the principle that hard-working home buyers should not be mis- sold a defective new-build home, and that where there are problems the developer should accept liability and put things right without causing further distress. It is about accountability and demanding integrity from people in a market heavily stacked against protecting the interests of home buyers. I hope you will support my CrowdJustice campaign.”

To support the campaign, visit crowdjustice.com/case/homebuyers-fightback-homebuyer/.

Anyone who has had problems with a new-build home can contact homebuyersfightback@btinternet.com and follow @Homebuyersfigh1 on Twitter.

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