“Furious families are forced to EVACUATE their 11-year-old homes while developer Persimmon pays its chief executive £47m”

“Families forced to evacuate their homes because they could collapse have accused one of the country’s biggest builders of abandoning them while it paid executives millions of pounds in bonuses.

Residents of Philmont Court, a four-storey block of flats built in Coventry just 11 years ago, said they felt betrayed by developer Persimmon after more than a decade of problems with their properties.

They have been forced into temporary accommodation while repair work takes place after experts warned extreme winds could cause the building to partially collapse.

The alarming problem was only discovered when builders were called in to fix defects with insulation throughout the 48 apartments, which residents say have caused widespread damp and mould. One resident claimed the conditions have caused her seven-year-old son to develop breathing problems.

There were also complaints about guttering, noise, the plumbing and electrics – but despite repeated pleas for help over ten years, Persimmon has refused to deal directly with the residents.

The situation is a further embarrassment for the company after it paid its top three executives £104 million last year. Jeff Fairburn, the chief executive, was paid £47 million alone.

He last week flounced out of a television interview when asked about the payout. The 52-year-old is under pressure to give up his massive bonuses and for the company to provide compensation to the residents in Tile Hill, Coventry.

Geoffrey Robinson, MP for Coventry North West, said: ‘For Jeff Fairburn and Persimmon to treat these residents in this way, many who are first-time buyers, is utterly scandalous. If he had any compassion, he would compensate my constituents.’

Hayley MacSkimming-Barnett said a bedroom used by her children Lydia, ten, and Cameron, eight, had been severely affected by mould. The 34-year-old interior designer said: ‘There was mould growing up the bedroom walls, in the wardrobes, under the children’s mattresses and on their teddy bears. But every time we raised it we were told there was nothing wrong with the building.

‘My son has developed chest problems and during every winter we have had to take him to hospital because his airway has closed up.

‘Persimmon built these homes and it should accept responsibility. The bosses wouldn’t live somewhere like that – and I’m sure their children don’t have to sleep on mouldy mattresses.’

Philmont Court was built in 2007 by Westbury, a company owned by Persimmon.

But soon after moving in, residents began to complain of condensation and mould. Landlord Whitefriars, which bought the building, told them they were not airing the flats properly. In 2016 inspections were finally carried out and problems with insulation around windows were discovered.

Under a warranty which applies to most new homes, industry body the National House Building Council (NHBC) was called in to fix the problems. But builders discovered even more serious structural problems and residents were moved into temporary accommodation in May this year and repair work began in August.

Resident Hannah Perch said the ordeal had ruined the experience of buying her first home.

The 27-year-old teacher said: ‘The idea of the Persimmon executives getting paid these bonuses makes me livid.’ …”


“Delivery driver forced to axe business after Persimmon Homes ban him from parking on his own drive at new £190k home”

“The dad-of-one was given just 14 days to move the van from his property, because small print in the terms of his freehold said he couldn’t park ‘commercial vehicles’ outside his own home.

As he was planning to use the van for his delivery business, the jobsworth inspector said the vehicle was illicitly parked.

The order came just days after the 25-year-old handed in his notice to focus on his new start-up.

Reece, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, told The Sun Online: “It’s pathetic – they’re saying you can’t have this house unless you’re an accountant or something.

“They have no respect for people who work 70 hours a week to provide for their families unless it’s the right kind of job.

“I paid £192k for the freehold, why can’t I park a van on my drive? It’s elitist.

“None of my neighbors have complained – they think it’s ridiculous that I’m being forced to sell it. A lot of them have vans themselves.

“I grew my side business enough to go full-time, and even handed in my notice at work – then Persimmon wrecked all my plans.

“Thankfully I got my old job back, but it was still a bit sour. I haven’t done any deliveries for ages, and I’ve had to go back to square one.

“I’m just trying to sell the house so I can move on with my life.”

Reece was eventually forced to sell his van – and temporarily shelve his dreams of becoming his own boss.

He insists he wasn’t told about the bonkers contract clause – and says even his solicitor failed to pick up on it.

He blasted: “There’s no way I would have bought the place had I known about it. Setting up a business has been a dream of mine for years.

“When we first moved in there were about 50 things wrong with the house. The build quality was shocking, I’ve had to spend £2k on really basic renovations just so I can sell it.

“The carpet is coming up everywhere, and the paint comes off the walls if it gets slightly damp.

“The door frames are the wrong size and the skirting boards are all wrong. It’s been a nightmare, I’m never buying a house from them again.”

It comes after Persimmon boss Jeff Fairburn sparked fury by walking out of an interview when pressed on his staggering £75m bonus.

When asked if he had any regrets about the furore, he sneered: “I’d rather not talk about that, it’s been well covered actually.”

He then stormed off, adding: “I think that’s really unfortunate actually that you’ve done that.”

Last year we revealed a couple in Newquay, Cornwall, plastered their windows with posters warning potential buyers to stay away from their Persimmon-built estate.”


Developers (“Cranbrook Limited”) still seem to hold all the cards in the town

From Town Council website:

“For distribution – question: What is “Cranbrook Limited” referred to in the last line?

Town Council site:

“The Town Council has been advising previously that we have been chasing the Consortium to release householders from the rent charge deed and yesterday we received the following statement:

“The development partners, Persimmon Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Hallam are continuing to work with their agents to conclude the Estate Rent Charge audit process and Deed of Release on final payment of balances due from each household. Please bear with us as we complete these tasks. We will continue to liaise with the Town Council on this and update you further in due course.”

Whilst we are doing all we can to help progress this matter, the Town Council is not responsible for the development and distribution of the documentation which removes the rent charge deed from individual households – it is and remains the responsibility of Cranbrook Limited.

The Town Council will continue chasing this matter on a regular basis.”

“Help to buy” – or help to rip off?

“Britain’s biggest housebuilders have doubled the average profits they make from each home since the Help to Buy scheme was launched.

Analysis by The Times reveals that the top five builders in Britain are making an average profit of £57,000 on each house they sell, compared with a mean average of about £29,000 in 2007.

Barratt, the biggest builder, is making almost double the amount of profit compared with ten years ago but is building only 411 more homes. Another builder, Bellway, is making more than £58,000 profit a house compared with a little more than £30,000 in 2007 but is building 2,000 fewer homes.

At the time of its launch in 2013, it was hoped the scheme would stimulate house-building. When it was extended in 2014, Mark Clare, then chief executive of Barratt, said: “Britain urgently needs more homes and by setting out a longer-term framework for Help to Buy this announcement will enable the industry to deliver just that.” Yet figures show that the total number of new houses delivered has barely changed since the introduction of the scheme.

The profits last year have been compared with 2007 because this was the last full year that housebuilders were at their peak before the financial crash. Annual pre-tax profits were divided by the number of homes built in each year to reach a “profit per house” figure.

Britain is facing its worst housing crisis in generations, with ownership at a 30-year low and a record 1.8 million families with children renting privately.

Housebuilders were quick to point out that underlying growth will have boosted profits, with house prices having risen by 23 per cent across the UK since 2007. They also noted that they were paying huge amounts back in debt each year at high interest rates before the financial crash, compared with today, when they have millions in cash at the end of each year.

However, analysts believe that a large driver of profits is the government’s Help to Buy scheme, which supports about 40 per cent of housebuilders’ sales. Robin Hardy, an analyst at Shore Capital, believes that housebuilders would be making £22,000 less in profit on each house built for first-time buyers if Help to Buy was not in place. “We reckon that homes sold through Help to Buy are 53 per cent higher than in June 2013, whereas house price figures from Land Registry or Nationwide suggest that across all first homes it’s more like 19 per cent,” he said. “That suggests that someone is gaming the system.”

Neal Hudson, a housing expert at Resi Analysts, said that shareholders had become “the main priority” for housebuilders since the financial crash. “The over-arching factor has been big pressure from the City,” he said. “The priority for them is profit margin not the number of homes built.”

Persimmon, Britain’s second-largest housebuilder, made an average profit of just over £60,000 on each house it built in 2017. In 2007 the figure was £36,787. It built only 138 more homes.

The housebuilder made pre-tax profits of £966 million in 2017 and has a war chest in net cash of £1.3 billion. Jeff Fairburn, its chief executive, was paid £75 million in a bonus scheme last year, which was more than the highest paid banking executives on Wall Street.

Lord Best, vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on housing, said: “These bumper profits come at a time of growing recognition of the catalogue of failings of major housebuilders: poor design, miserable space standards, defective workmanship, delaying development to keep prices high . . . and exploiting a loophole in the planning process to renege on their obligations to include affordable homes in their developments.”

However, developers said the type of product they build has changed, with far fewer flats and a much tighter control over what type of land they buy.

A Home Builders Federation spokesman said: “House building is cyclical. After the financial downturn companies posted big losses and had to make huge writedowns on the value of their land. Many companies disappeared. Since 2013 output has increased by 74 per cent, an increase that as well as providing desperately needed homes has given the economy a huge boost.”

Source: The Times (pay wall)

“Persimmon profits rise 13% after help-to-buy boost”

Owl says; Summary – take care of your donors and they will take care of you.

“The housebuilder Persimmon has reported that its profits rose by 13% in the first half of the year, boosted by the government’s help-to-buy scheme and competitive mortgage deals.

Pretax profits jumped to £516m from £457m in the six months to 30 June, and Persimmon said it expected further growth in the second half of the year, bucking the wider trend of a slowing UK housing market.

“We have continued to experience good levels of customer interest in our housing development sites as we trade through the quieter summer season,” said the Persimmon chief executive, Jeff Fairburn.

“Customers are continuing to benefit from a competitive mortgage market and confidence remains resilient based on healthy employment trends and low interest rates.”

Britiain’s second biggest housebuilder angered shareholders earlier this year after handing Fairburn a £75m bonus. A report published last week by the High Pay Centre revealed Fairburn was the highest paid FTSE 100 boss in 2017, with a £47.1m package.

Persimmon sold 8,072 new homes in the first half of the year, up 4%. The average selling price increased by 1%, to £215,813.

The housebuilder has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s help-to-buy programme, which has lifted sales and supported house prices across the UK. …”


“Persimmon homeowners in Newquay warn would-be buyers with signs”

“A couple living on a new housing estate have put up signs in their windows urging potential buyers not to buy the properties.

Lucy and Guy Sousse moved into the estate in Newquay, Cornwall, a year ago and say Persimmon Homes promised to complete snagging work by last October.
But they say they are still waiting for 90 different faults to be finished.
Persimmon Homes said it was committed to fixing the problems but had not been able to arrange a time for the work. …”


As Owl has reported, obscene bonuses paid to directors and managers has added at least £40,000 to the cost of every Persimmon home:


Persimmon in another rip-off scandal

See what Guardian Money had to say in answer to this query – truly shocking:

“I am about to complete on the purchase of a house on a new Charles Church development in Northiam, East Sussex.

My solicitor has identified an issue which negatively affects the value of seven of the properties. Because a certain form was never submitted to the Land Registry by the developer, each one has an “overage” on its deeds in favour of Charles Church.

This grants the company a proportion of any profit if the property is sold on and will have a huge impact on the resale value. The owners of properties already sold are none the wiser as no other conveyancer had picked up on it.

Charles Church’s solicitor has agreed that, with this overage in place, there is no way I could purchase the property. Nevertheless, Charles Church has given me two days to exchange and complete, or else it will remarket the property.”