All housebuilders pay compensation eventually if it is justified!
When they say, “We don’t pay compensation” they’re lying – they all do!
Is compensation justified? Well the answer is a resounding yes for many new homebuyers that have experienced the inevitable issues with their new home. This often requiring buyers to take time off work, or use paid leave to be at home to give builder’s sub contractors access to fix fully preventable defects with their new home. The general law also compensates new build homebuyers for distress and inconvenience related to defects in their homes.
When new homebuyers bring up the subject of compensation, I can guarantee the initial response from the housebuilder, be it the sales staff, site manager or the housebuilder’s customer care department will be: “it is not our company policy to pay compensation under any circumstances”.
Well I can say with 100% confidence that every large housebuilder in the UK has, at sometime or other, paid compensation for a badly-built defective home, disruption whilst works are carried out to rectify and this is in addition to reimbursement of costs incurred.
I can also say with a degree of certainty that on every single occasion, that housebuilders paid compensation to a buyer, it has been on the understanding this is in “full and final settlement” of the matter and with a stipulation – a confidentiality agreement that details of the settlement are never ever disclosed or made public to anyone. In short what is commonly referred to as “gagging order”. Click the link above to see one! Some housebuilders write saying they are withholding the payment until the confidentiality clause is signed and the buyer agrees to remove all references about the issue(s) from social media and buyer’s blogs/websites.
So why is that housebuilders staff always claim that there it is “company policy” not to pay compensation, when clearly they all do? The only reason is that they hope that it will be the end of the matter. But the truth is that no large plc housebuilder will want adverse publicity of the circumstances that led a new homebuyer to seek compensation so they will always pay up in the end, usually after a long battle and many letters.
So how much do they pay? This would usually depend on the individual circumstances of each case, although in most cases they are unlikely to offer you as much as a Court would award you based on the current law. Some new homebuyers may be unrealistic in seeking thousands of pounds compensation for a couple of days snagging works. Others however, seek a few hundred when they may be entitled to much more. No two cases are the same. The trick is to be fair and realistic rather than greedy. Usually it makes sense to claim compensation only after everything has been sorted and the full extent of the disruption is known. If you do leave the question of compensation to the end of the snagging process, make sure you keep a diary and notes of your experiences whilst the snagging works are ongoing as you will need to recall this accurately when the time comes.
Kirsty Rawlings from Portishead, Somerset, told me that after her two-year “battle with Persimmon” and her appearance on BBC Watchdog ten years ago, she eventually got “all the snags sorted and the house re-rendered costing them [Persimmon] thousands of pounds.” She also received a £3,000 compensation payment.
One important tip is not to believe what they tell you and not to accept the first offer either. If you are considering seeking legal advice on your claim, Wingrove Law is a law firm that we know of that specialises in helping new homebuyers get redress from housebuilders. They offer a free initial consultation and will be able to advise you on whether you have a claim worth pursuing and what the likely value of it might be.
For more details, go to their website – www.wingrovelaw.co.uk