A charity president who spent £200 on a giant banner calling out a major housing developer for failing to fix the problems with his brand new £500,000 home told today how he decided ‘enough is enough’.
Balbinder Singh, 66, from Mickleover, Derby, says developer Avant Homes ignored his repeated requests for repairs and even caused further damage to the property during one home inspection visit.
The retired businessman, who lives with his wife Kulbinder Kaur, 62, moved into the four-bedroom, three-bathroom property in April 2021, but immediately noticed problems with the construction.
In an exclusive conversation with MailOnline on Friday, Mr Singh described at least seven separate issues with the property arising less than two years after moving in.
He said he hoped his banner would ‘shame’ Avant into taking action and accused the company of ‘making millions of pounds’ while not taking care of the families they sold to.
Charity boss Balbinder Singh, 66, spent £200 on the giant banner after claiming Avant was ‘ignoring’ his attempts to contact them
Even before moving in, Mr. Singh and Mrs. Kaur, who have four children and four grandchildren, noticed a significant amount of water pouring from the roof of the veranda down the wall next to the front door, soaking the brickwork.
Mr Singh said when he contacted Avant about the problem they said they would fix it ‘immediately’ – but no one has ever come to look at the problem.
He added: “We are still waiting. The wall is completely full of water, it shouldn’t be.
“Then we started noticing other issues after we got into it.
‘The extractor hood was not connected to anything, there is no duct to the outside.
“So the air and cooking smells it sucks in just circulated around the room.”
“Even when we’re cooking pasta, condensation drips off the steam from the hood.”
He claimed that Avant sent someone to fix the exhaust fan, but instead of fixing the fan, the workman caused another problem by breaking their under-counter strip lights.
The couple say they saw water pouring off the side of the porch before they even moved in, and it has now led to mold and damp on the outside of the house
A major problem is a porch overhang where water runs off and runs down the outside wall
Avant Homes reportedly promised to replace glass covered in brown paint before the Singhs moved in, but it’s still not done
Mr Singh claimed an Avant employee arrived to repair their hood but instead caused further damage by breaking part of the couple’s strip lighting
When the pair complained about the damage caused around Christmas 2021, they said they were promised someone would come and fix it – but no one ever did.
They showed MailOnline damage to the patio doors they believe were present the day they moved in, consisting of a large area of brown paint-like splatter.
Mr Singh said, ‘She [Avant] came to look at it but said they couldn’t remove it so they would replace the glass. Again, that’s not done.’
He listed other problems, including interior doors marked before they arrived, and a cracked toilet seat.
Mr Singh also said that the wardrobes in the master bedroom were not fitted properly, meaning a door is already completely loose.
He said: ‘These are all the things we said would be fixed, but didn’t.
These may seem like small things, but they all add up. And when you spend half a million pounds on a house, you expect it to be perfect.
“All we want is for Avant to come out and finish the job. It would only take a day or two.
‘But they make millions of pounds, and they just don’t care.
“I gave them a week’s notice before putting up the banner. But they still didn’t respond. Now they ignore me.
“I had it done because I was angry and I decided enough was enough.
‘It cost me £200 from a local printer, but someone had to say something. I hope it shames them.
“They just don’t care.”
Mr Singh claims Avant Homes ‘just don’t care’ as his wife Ms Kaur said ‘someone had to do something’
The extractor hood was reportedly not connected to an outside vent, meaning cooking odors only circulated around the room rather than venting out through the fan
Ms Kaur said she supported her husband in putting up the banner.
She added, “I think someone had to do something.
“If it were just one or two minor issues, that would be one thing. But it’s a lot.
“The main problem is the front wall. It is now really green with moss because so much water has run past it. That is not true.
“This is the third new house we’ve had in a row, with three different builders – but we’ve never experienced anything like it before.”
Avant Homes said problems were caused by the construction of an extension that affected its warranty.
But Mr Singh claims that many of the problems predate the extension: ‘As for the fact that they are trying to claim the extension caused the problems, that is not true at all.
“First, I had written permission from Avant for it, and second, some of the problems were there even before it was built.
“But I think they should say something.”
Avant Homes has been contacted for comment.
In a desperate attempt to pressure Avant Homes, Mr Singh, who lives on the Cotchett Village estate, put up a sign reading: ‘Avant Homes, our review. We moved in on April 1, 2021 and work is still not complete.
“Avant has stopped responding to us. There is a lot of unfinished work. We like to share photos. Don’t make the mistake we made.’
Mr. Singh, in frustration, installed the sign he had designed himself on March 6.
A spokesperson for Avant Homes told MailOnline: ‘We are in constant dialogue with the resident about their property.
“Having fully investigated the resident’s concerns about their home, we believe a significant number of those were caused by building an addition to the property after the home was purchased.
In addition, the extension also voided certain aspects of the home’s NHBC Buildmark warranty and this was explained to the resident by our customer contact manager at the time.
“We have inspected the home and communicated to the resident what is acceptable for us to resolve with respect to their concerns beyond those created by the expansion.
‘Our customer liaison team is proactive in dealing with a very small number of development residents who have raised concerns to ensure all reasonable requests are addressed.
“We will be contacting Mr. Singh early next week to arrange an appointment with him to clarify our position regarding his property.”
Avant Homes said problems were caused by the construction of an extension that affected the home’s warranty
Other residents on the street also indicate that they have experienced similar problems with their new homes
Other residents on the street, including Kevin Crisp and his family, claim to have experienced similar problems.
Mr. Crisp said, “There’s been a lot of things. Last year we had a street barbecue for the Queen’s Jubilee and the theme was that everyone has the same problem.’
At their home, which they moved into in 2021, they claim a sink problem led to the warping of the kitchen worktop and a replacement was too short.
Mr. Crisp’s partner said, “The customer service is diabolical. They even ignored us during the purchasing process.’
Avant Homes told Derbyshire Live they are working with ‘a very small number’ of residents of Cotchett Village, on the A516 Etwall Road, to resolve their concerns.
Steven Bosworth, who also lives on the estate, claims his house was full of problems when he moved in in 2020.
He said his downstairs toilet had been ripped out and refitted due to water leaking through the walls, his floors had been redone due to scratches and his kitchen units had been refitted due to missing sockets.
He said, ‘We would never buy from them again. They are a waste of time and don’t want to solve anything. I’m constantly urging them to come over and fix things and we’re still waiting.’
Another couple who lives near Mr Singh said their experience with Avant Homes was positive.
They believe they were among the first to move in, having obtained the keys in March 2020.
They said any issues were resolved quickly after the initial Covid-19 lockdown eased that summer.
At that time not many other people lived on the property and tradesmen worked on houses every day.
However, they claim that customer service has “gone downhill” since then.