Family take drastic action after 'ten months of hell' in new-build home

ANYONE moving into a new home knows to expect a few snags and teething problems.

But the catalogue of faults Alex and Paula McPheators found when they moved into their 500,000 house in Dalkeith, Midlothian, last October has driven them to take extreme action.

The family has erected a 6ft by 4ft placard in their front garden, warning potential buyers to reconsider before purchasing a Charles Church home.

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The luxury home builder - whose motto is "The Name on the Finest Homes" - has now threatened the McPheators with legal action over the sign.

Undaunted, Mr McPheators is also planning to picket outside the company's show home at the Monarchs View development this weekend.

He said the problems with their house were not just minor "snagging", but serious health and safety issues.

"The casing of the consumer box which brings the main voltage into the house is broken and we have had to fix it with Sellotape to stop the wiring being exposed," he said.

"We also have what we think might be sewage running down the garden, which stinks to high heaven."

The family drew up a four-page snagging list for Charles Church to deal with, including cracks in door frames, electric sockets hanging off the walls and dented radiators.

But ten months later, Mr McPheators, 41, said less than 20 per cent of those issues had been resolved.

"This is our fourth new home in 14 years and we know there are always snagging issues, but nothing on this scale," he said.

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"We have had people come round to fix things, but out of a list of ten or 12 items usually only one or two get fixed and the rest just get forgotten about.

"We have people coming round with clipboards, but I want to see tool boxes."

Mr McPheators, who runs his own fire protection business, said the problems had affected his wife and their three children - Alex, five, Darien, two, and six-month-old Zoe: "My wife is so stressed out by all this, and to be honest this whole business is starting to affect our relationship. We're arguing more because our nerves are affected.

"Instead of enjoying our brand new home, we've had ten months of hell."

The couple have asked Charles Church for 12,000 to cover the cost of having the repairs done themselves, and in compensation for the stress caused, but this request was refused.

They have now received a letter from solicitors acting for Charles Church warning them of legal action over their placard.

Mr McPheators said he had little faith that the problems would be resolved by the end of the month.

A spokesman for Charles Church - the premium brand of leading developer Persimmon Homes - said: "Charles Church regret the course of action taken by Mr and Mrs McPheators.

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"Charles Church is committed to providing a professional service to all customers.

"We have already arranged, with Mr and Mrs McPheators, to go into their property on the 27th, 28th and 29th of this month to address all outstanding issues."