West Lothian couple's dream home turns to nightmare with £32,000 repairs bill and 'no end in sight'

The home has had mould, burst pipes, kitchen that needed ripped out and an ‘unsafe’ staircase.
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A couple from West Lothian said their move to their dream new build home has turned into a ‘nightmare’.

Sarah Cuerden and her husband Craig moved into the Almond development in Livingston in December last year, after waiting years to find the right house. They planned to move back to their home town to be near Sarah’s mum’s grave at nearby Adambrae cemetery.

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But the couple have faced a litany of problems in the four-bedroom property including mould, burst pipes, and bathrooms and kitchen that had to be ‘ripped out’ several times due to faults. After already forking out more than £32,000 in repairs to fix bathrooms, brickwork, the roof, windows and a ’shocking’ list of issues, they fear there’s no end in sight.

Sarah outside her home which still needs repairsSarah outside her home which still needs repairs
Sarah outside her home which still needs repairs

Breaking down in tears Sarah told the Evening News: “I’m fed up with Bellway taking partial responsibility for the many issues we have and the many jobs that trades come to do and either make worse or damage something in the process. I've spent months off work and they keep getting it wrong. I've had four bathrooms completely ripped out and replaced. There was mould growing up walls. They said they would just ‘clean it off’. We have squint walls that haven't been fixed no matter how hard they try.

"My kitchen had to be all pretty much replaced with cupboards changed and multiple doors changed several times. I’ve had a burst pipe twice, causing flooding into the house. Two sinks were replaced and another two needed to be done due to not being sealed correctly. Three tumble dryers, two washing machines, and a hob had to be replaced and a collapsed unit under the hob. It's shocking when you look at all of the problems and how long this has been going on. It feels like there's no end in sight.”

The couple have also been plagued with alleged problems with flooring, windows, the staircase and doors and they want the remaining issues ironed out as quickly as possible.

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“The french doors, front door, and back door have all had to be replaced four times and still not right. Handles and lock to front and back doors are wobbling. The living room window wouldn't close. I was left with an unsecured window for a week. A window was replaced in the bathroom and handles on all bathroom windows had to be replaced. Tiling was redone again,” said Sarah.

Windows had to be barred because they couldn't closeWindows had to be barred because they couldn't close
Windows had to be barred because they couldn't close

“I've had the monoblock replaced, render redone to all windows and doors and brickwork corrected. It’s not cosmetic stuff. I have gaps in flooring and the staircase is just not safe. The stairs are wearing as a result of there being no floor covering over them. They’ve told me many times issues would be fixed and then reneged on it. I have no confidence or trust in them any more. It’s just appalling. We are not going to let them get away with it.”

The 52-year-old is now seeking legal advice. She said that Bellway asked her to get a quote and agreed to pay for areas of the house to be painted as it was ‘flaking off’ and floors redone as the foundation was ‘like powder’ but it’s alleged the company have backtracked.

“They have offered £7,000 of money spent on repairs – it’s pennies. And they have yet to finish repairs covered under the warranty. I was told to pick other internal doors because the ones I had picked were damaged while in storage. They have since told me they will only replace three out of 14.

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“For the best part of a year, I have had to be in the house. If we didn't run our own business, this wouldn't have been possible. I have lost a considerable amount of money as a direct result of not being in the business and I have been diagnosed with vitiligo. I’m sure it’s down to all the stress this has caused. Some of our neighbours have had a terrible time too, one had their ceiling cave in. Some just accept it now. It shouldn't be such a battle.”

Brickwork was among long list of repairs needed with some still to be completedBrickwork was among long list of repairs needed with some still to be completed
Brickwork was among long list of repairs needed with some still to be completed

Craig, a motor mechanic, said: “This is not just a house. It was a dream come true for Sarah to be near her mum. It makes me so angry that they can get away with building a home that is clearly not fit for purpose and when you ask them to fix problems they say ‘it’s within tolerances’. If I damaged people's cars and handed them back like that I would never have repeat custom. It's hard to accept that any of the work we've had done could be signed off. The standard of work has been beyond shoddy. I will never buy another new home again.”

A spokesperson for Bellway said: “All Bellway homes come with a 10-year warranty of which the first two years are covered directly by us. Our Customer Care teams have been working with the customer to resolve the issues she has raised as part of this warranty. These works have been carried out as part of our ongoing warranty commitments and we have been working with Mrs Cuerden to undertake remedial works which are being acknowledged and actioned as they are reported.

“Bellway has also agreed to cover some of the customer’s costs where third-party contractors have been engaged because of the remedial works. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused and we are committed to completing the agreed-upon works.”

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