Housing giant Bovis Homes is bitterly regretting messing with the members of a Facebook group which just cost the company £7m in compensation. Bovis was forced to settle after a campaign over substandard living conditions in its new-build homes.
Bovis and substandard homes
The Bovis saga began with the company urging people to move into new-build homes before they were complete, in order to meet sales targets. As This is Money reports:
It comes as Bovis recently admitted offering some housebuyers thousands of pounds to persuade them to move into unfinished homes in a desperate bid to hit sales targets.
That outraged buyers, who complained about everything from claiming wrong kitchen units had been installed to unfinished driveways, and claims of leaking pipes and dodgy wiring.
The problem was that buyers had been told the homes were habitable. In reality, however, they weren’t. People ended up living in homes that were only partially built and which didn’t meet specifications agreed in the sale. In response, over 1,400 customers joined the Bovis Homes Victims Group on Facebook. Some of the group’s members spoke to The Guardian about their experience:
Chad Clifton said he and his wife were ‘forced’ to complete on their four-bedroom Bovis house in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, on 23 December and found the fridge had not been fitted and that the hallway was unfinished – just two points out of a list of 115 defects. They were offered £350 and a free move. ‘We were told we didn’t have much choice – if the house is ready we have to complete on 23 December.’
Rob Elmes said he was offered £3,000 if he and his wife completed on 23 December, but declined the offer because there were so many defects with the £320,000 three-bedroom property in Inkberrow, Worcestershire. ‘It became one of the most stressful weeks we have endured,’ Elmes said. ‘[It was] not the Christmas we were hoping for.’
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Victory amid crisis
Bovis has suffered its first loss against the group, being forced to pay out £7m in compensation over the defects. Shares in the company lost 8% of their value on news of the decision, having already seen a fall in profits last year. The CEO at the time of the scheme has also stepped aside.
But the members of the Bovis Homes Victims Group plan to continue their campaign until every customer has been made whole. Group administrator Marc Holden said:
We are not going to stop our active campaign. There are a lot of unhappy people. We were getting a lot of people joining the group just before Christmas who were posting about being ‘encouraged’ to complete by 23 December, some were being offered money and other incentives.
The crisis for Bovis and its customers comes amid a wider housing crisis in Britain. A now chronic shortage of housing has triggered spiralling rents and house prices. Since 2010, rents have risen at breakneck speed. And private rents are expected to rise by a further 25% in coming years. Meanwhile, home ownership in Britain has fallen to its lowest rate in more than 30 years, with 30% fewer 25-34-year-olds owning their home today than 25 years ago. The government has launched more than 200 housing initiatives since 2010. But these have delivered nothing but higher rates of rent and lower rates of home ownership. Unless a government is willing to reinvest in house-building, and reduce the burden of housing expenses on domestic budgets, the crisis will only deepen.
– Join the efforts of the Living Rent campaign
– If you’ve been affected by the Bovis Homes fiasco, join the Bovis Homes Victims Group.
Featured image via Pixabay
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?