“Toxic developer Persimmon was branded ‘crooks, cowboys and con artists’ as yet another scandal unfolded over its shoddily built homes.
Persimmon was attacked in Parliament after a block of its flats was found to be riddled with damp, causing misery for families.
Robert Halfon, Tory MP for Harlow, said he was horrified by the conditions endured by some of his constituents.
During Prime Minister’s Questions he said: ‘Homes built by Persimmon… are shoddily built with severe damp and crumbling walls. In the eyes of my residents, Persimmon are crooks, cowboys and con artists.’
In response, Prime Minister Theresa May said: ‘We expect all developers to build their homes to a good quality standard.
These are homes that people will be living in for many years and they deserve those standards.’
It is the latest blow for Persimmon as it fights to keep its place on the lucrative Help To Buy loan scheme which uses taxpayer cash to support families trying to get on the property ladder.
Furious ministers threatened to strike the company off a list of developers able to sell properties through Help To Buy if it cannot clean up its act. [Owl: if you expect that to happen … dream on!]
The Daily Mail has previously highlighted a litany of defects found by buyers of Persimmon homes, including leaks, exposed nails, doors that do not close and toilets that flushed boiling water.
Roger Devlin, Persimmon’s chairman, has vowed to repair the FTSE 100 firm’s battered reputation after scandals which also saw it blasted for corporate excess due to an £85million bonus paid to former boss Jeff Fairburn.
A new homes ombudsman is being introduced to tackle problems in the industry.
Labour MP Clive Betts, chairman of the Commons housing select committee, said: ‘The regime needs to be very tough and regulators need to be able to fine developers and force them to pay compensation.
The Government needs to be prepared to ban these companies from Help To Buy. Why should taxpayers fund shoddy workmanship?’ It comes just days after a TV documentary revealed Persimmon homes had up to 295 defects.
The company was accused of censoring critics this month when it shut down complaints about its homes on a Facebook page.
Persimmon has faced persistent criticism. In an industry-wide ratings survey, it has failed to win more than three out of five stars since 2015.
Persimmon said: ‘We have apologised to customers in Harlow, where manufacturing defects with a batch of blocks have created problems with damp.
The block manufacturer has agreed that this is the likely root cause of the issue and have offered their sincere apologies.
‘Persimmon has agreed to pay the mortgage payments, bills, and the temporary accommodation costs for affected residents while the problem is addressed.’