You won't believe the state these Bovis homes were sold in

When Danny Moffatt complained about a series of problems with his brand new Bovis home, he expected things to be sorted out quickly.

Instead, he's still waiting more than two years on - and new problems are still emerging. His latest complaint is about a banister that's coming apart from the stair post: "Dangerous for my kids. It's been on the snagging list for seven months," he says.

Danny is just one of thousands of unhappy customers who have been struggling to get their new homes properly finished. Some problems are comparatively minor; in other cases homeowners have reported more serious issues such as dodgy wiring or heavy floods.

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"I bought a new home from Bovis in Eastbourne - the house is nice but has so many faults and Bovis are so slow to fix. A simple lock on a shed door remains undone six months on," complains one.

"Other faults include doors not shutting properly, loose skirting board, blistering on ceiling, poor grouting. Have been trying to get a tile for the bathroom for the last two months - Bovis do not know the meaning of after sales service."

Today, though, these hard-done-by homeowners were given a glimmer of hope. Earl Sibley, Bovis's interim chief executive, has apologised to customers and announced a £7 million fund to put the problems right.

"Our customer service standards have been declining for some time and combined with the delays to production towards the year end, we have entered 2017 with a high level of customer service issues," he admitted.

"Our customer service proposition has failed to ensure that all of our customers receive the expected high standard of care."

He said the company now plans to take on more customer service staff to deal with complaints, create a dedicated homebuyers' panel and improve its quality assurance processes.

Some customers will be paid back money they've forked out themselves for urgent work, and some will also get compensation.

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Part of the problem appears to be caused by rushing to hit sales targets - the company's already admitted offering some housebuyers thousands of pounds to persuade them to move into unfinished homes.

It now says it will build fewer homes this year.

Record number of new-build semi-detached houses registered in 2016

If you have a problem with a new-build home, most have a 10-year warranty for building problems, along with a developer's warranty, usually for two years, that covers fixtures and fittings.

If you don't get anywhere with a complaint, you can take it to the Consumer Code for Home Builders' Adjudication Scheme - although making a complaint will cost £100 plus VAT.

But, says Which?, "If you find that you're fobbed off by a builder when trying to get problems fixed, be persistent. Small problems can add up and be costly, so don't settle for a finish that isn't up to scratch."

UK's most expensive houses
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UK's most expensive houses

The most expensive property on the open market in London right now isn't even a house. But this five-bedroom apartment has the prestigious One Hyde Park address, with magnificent views of both Knightsbridge and Hyde Park. Like a country house, it's split into two wings, connected by a 50-metre hallway. And the Candy & Candy decor is dramatic, to say the least. It's priced at an eye-watering £64,999,950, through Savills.

This seven-bedroom house has both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, along with a spectacular double-volume entrance hall, panelled study and grand double reception room. There are also two large dining rooms, a cinema room and a staff flat on the lower ground floor. It costs £46,500,000 through Knight Frank.

This 18th-century house has its own spa tucked away in the basement, with swimming pool, gymnasium, steam room, sauna and beauty treatment suite. The "magnificent ambassadorial mansion" has six receptions, eight bedrooms and a separate mews house. It costs £39,500,000 through Savills.

This house may look in pretty good condition to you and me, but the agents reckon it "does require updating to meet today's standards". Built in 2001, Oaklands Park has over 100 acres of land with four cottages, 33 stables and a polo pitch. There are five reception rooms and six main bedroom suites. It's for sale through Savills for £25,000,000.

Just three miles from the middle of Edinburgh, sixteenth-century Craigcrook Castle is up for sale for the first time in nearly three hundred years. It needs a fair bit of work - and a great deal more money - but has gallons of potential. It's up for sale through Ballantynes with a guide price of £6,000,000.

The most expensive property we could find in Northern Ireland right now, Dundarave is a grand mid-eighteenth-century house standing in 595 acres. The extraordinary Great Hall, which rises to the full height of the building, was based on the hall of London's Reform Club. It's on the market for £5,000,000 with Savills.

It may be a little outside the usual footballer's territory, but Swettenham Hall has room for a good kickabout in several of its half-dozen reception rooms. There's an indoor swimming pool and gym, a historic chapel - and a helicopter hangar. It's up for sale with Jackson-Stops for £12,750,000.

This bastion of bling near Exeter was built four years ago and comes with an extraordinary range of features - from equestrian facilities to a helipad and hangar. There's an indoor swimming pool, an enormous garage that's more immaculate than most kitchens, and even an indoor shooting range - as well as a cinema, bar and entertainment suite. It'll set you back £7,000,000 through agents Knight Frank.

"Steeped in history and glamour", say the agents, this Georgian country pile has nine reception rooms and 13 bedrooms. Designed by by Sir John Soane, it features a sweeping double staircase and stunning original features. There's a rumour that Johnny Depp's interested, though, so you may need to move fast to snap it up. It's priced at £5,750,000 through agent Sowerbys.

Near Droitwich, this "faux-Regency house" has nine bedroom suites and four receptions - plus a huge conservatory and an orangery. It has a well-kitted out leisure wing, with pool, gym, sauna, steam room and solarium. Set in parkland, it's approached by an impressive drive. You can snap it up for £9,500,000 through agents Andrew Grant.


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