As more and more of the new homes constructed in the north of England are apartments, buyers may look to warranty schemes to ensure any snags that arise are covered.
Any fears about the quality of construction should, in theory, be assuaged by measures such as the National Home Building Council (NHBC) Warranty scheme, which is designed to ensure any problems are fixed.
However, a sorry tale in Scarborough has suggested matters are not so simple, and could serve as a warning that getting in a new build snagging expert before signing on the dotted line is a wise move.
The Yorkshire Post has reported how the residents of the Old Brewery, which has ten apartments, have suffered significant problems caused by faults in the conversion of the building. Completed seven years ago, it took four years for problems to emerge, but over the past three years water leaks have caused residents problems of damp, mould and other damage.
While the ten-year NHBC warranty allows residents to put in claims to have the damage repaired, this does not cover the root cause of the water ingress. This means it can carry on seeping down between wall cavities, under coping stones and causing more problems.
However, the warranty will only pay to fix the root cause – shrunken old oak beams – if it costs over £16,000, which is £3,000 more than what the actual bill would be. Despite the fact the individual claims will add up to more in the longer run, the NHBC is refusing to have this work done.
Resident Liz Fidler told the Yorkshire Post: “There are three years to run on the warranty and if the leaks continue, there will be continual claims for water damage to the interiors.”
Her warning to apartment buyers is clear: The NHBC warranty may in many cases simply not be fit for purpose, leaving residents with major ongoing problems.
Many of the new apartments in the north of England are being developed in repurposed buildings, with other schemes in Yorkshire including proposals to redevelop the Cutlery Works in Sheffield, which have taken a step nearer fruition this week after developer Capital & Centric acquired £14 million of funding.