“Persimmon probe steps up a gear as 100,000 people are asked for their views on the housebuilder and its homes”

Owl says: So, a developer gets another developer to lead an “independent review ” into its practices that chooses its particicipants … you COULD NOT make this up.

“More than 100,000 people are being asked for their views on housebuilder Persimmon as an independent review into the company enters its next stage.

Customers, employees, suppliers, trade bodies, local authorities and civil servants will all be contacted on Tuesday in a bid to gather information about customer care and the quality of the group’s work.

The process, which was launched in April, is set to rigorously assess every aspect of the firm’s construction and inspection regime as it sets out to rebuild its image in the wake of controversy over payouts to executives. …

… Clive Fenton, the former chief executive of fellow housebuilder McCarthy and Stone, is providing assistance to the review as an industry expert.

The consultation period closes on September 16, with findings of the review due by the end of the year. …”

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-7351969/Persimmon-probe-steps-gear-100-000-people-asked-views.html?ito=rss-flipboard

“Crooks Cowboys and Conmen: MP’s damning verdict on Persimmon over its appalling building work”

“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.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/news/article-7258379/Crooks-Cowboys-Conmen-MPs-damning-verdict-Persimmon-appalling-building-work.html?

Tory grandee asks Tory May about Persimmon – gets Tory reply!

“Robert Halfon, a Conservative, says he recently met constituents who moved into Help to Buy homes build by Persimmon. The houses are shoddy, he says. He says his constituents view Persimmon as “crooks, cowboys and con artists”.

May says developers should be building good quality housing under this scheme.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/jul/17/brexit-tory-leadership-pmqs-boris-johnson-theresa-may-mcdonnell-sets-out-labours-three-strategies-for-ending-in-work-poverty-live-news

Well, that’s sorted then – NOT!

Times: “Persimmon faults are exposed on TV”

“Pressure is about to return to Persimmon, with a television investigation set to reveal more concerns about the quality of its properties and customer service.

Britain’s New Build Scandal, to be aired tonight on Channel 4 as part of its Dispatches series, will feature an inspection of a new Persimmon home that found 295 faults, 70 per cent of which were so serious that they violated building regulations, including a fire door that did not close, leaking sinks, unsealed showers and faulty waste connections.

Britain’s most profitable housebuilder is responsible for one in seven homes sold via the government-backed Help to Buy mortgage scheme and in February became the first to report an annual profit of more than £1 billion. Based in York and a member of the FTSE 100 index of leading shares, it was embroiled in a pay scandal last year when Jeff Fairburn, 53, chief executive at that time, was awarded £81.6 million under a long-term incentive scheme put together in 2012 and linked to dividends and the share price.

Persimmon apologised to the customers featured in the programme, including two whose home was uninhabitable for three months after buying it. “We fully accept that on too many occasions in the past we have fallen short on customer care and we can and will do better,” it said.

Last month The Times revealed Persimmon had removed complaints about the standard of its homes from Facebook after taking over the administration of a group targeting customers on the social media site.”

Source: Times, pay wall

“Persimmon defends shutting Facebook group to ‘gag critics’ “”

“The chief executive of Persimmon has refused to deny that the housebuilder paid to take control of a Facebook group dedicated to complaints about the company before shutting it down,

The Times revealed last week that Persimmon had acquired the administration rights to the “Persimmon Homes Unhappy Customers” group, which had almost 14,000 members. It subsequently shut down the group, deleting years’ of customer posts sharing problems with their homes.

Outraged group members have speculated on other Facebook groups dedicated to complaints that the housebuilder “paid off” the administrator of the group, whose identity is not public.

Facebook does not allow the sale of administrative rights to groups created by users so a payment would have been a breach of the website’s rules.

Dave Jenkinson, chief executive of Persimmon, confirmed yesterday that it had acquired the administration rights to the group but would not say whether it had paid for them. “That’s a private agreement between us and the administrator and that’s not something I am prepared to discuss,” he said.

The FTSE 100-listed builder, which is based in York, has a market capitalisation of more than £6 billion. In February it became the first British housebuilder to report an annual profit of more than £1 billion. It sold 16,449 homes last year, about half of which went to first-time buyers using the Help to Buy scheme, which is designed to boost home ownership. Since Help to Buy was introduced Persimmon’s profit per house has almost tripled, from £22,114 in 2012 to £60,219 in 2018.

The move to shut down the Facebook group has produced claims from customers that it is trying to censor criticism of the company, which is working to improve its build quality and customer service after criticism by ministers.

James Allan, 23, a planning officer at East Lothian council who has complained about problems at his one-bedroom Persimmon flat in Edinburgh, said: “They are taking away the voices of people who have had issues. It’s good to see the experiences of others so you know that you are not alone.”

Mr Jenkinson, 51, said Persimmon had been monitoring the group for several months to address customer issues as they arose in posts. However, he said that in the past few weeks activity on the page had become “much more aggressive” and there were “signs of bullying behaviour” towards staff. He also said the company had found, when checking users against its customer database, that most complainants were not Persimmon customers; some were friends of customers, tradesmen or from other organisations. “We’ve done this for our customers, we’ve done this for the right reasons,” he said.

In a trading update, the builder said that revenue in the first half of the year had fallen as a result of selling fewer homes because it was focusing more on customer satisfaction. It sold 7,584 homes in the six months to the end of June, down from 8,072 in the same period last year. Revenue fell by 4.4 per cent to £1.75 billion. The average selling price rose to £216,950 from £215,813. The housebuilder said that it expected its operating margin for the full year to remain stable at a hefty 30.8 per cent.

Persimmon has announced measures to improve its customer satisfaction levels and build quality since The Times revealed in February that the government was reviewing its access to the Help to Buy scheme from 2021 as a result of allegations of poor standards. It is to allow buyers to retain 1.5 per cent of the value of their purchase until faults are fixed. Buyers of new-build homes who report snags within a week of receiving the keys to their property will be able to withhold a portion of the purchase price until any faults are resolved.

Its customer satisfaction rating has improved in recent months, it said. Mr Jenkinson said: “Persimmon is listening carefully to all stakeholders and making the changes needed to position the business for the future, while maintaining a robust trading performance.”

Last night the shares closed down 23½p, or 1.2 per cent, at £19.64.”

Source Te Times, pay wall

“Persimmon claims ‘around half’ its first-time buyers used Help to Buy as sales slip at the house builder amid quality and service revamp”

£77,000 profit per house, adding £30,000-plus to the cost of a new home, poor quality builds, CEO laughing all the way to the bank with his multi-million bonuses – what could possibly go wrong? Answer: nothing goes wrongfor Persimmon, because this government doesn’t just turn a blind eye, it actively encourages this behaviour by putting developers in the planning driving seat (in chauffeur-driven cars)!

“Over half of properties sold by housebuilder Persimmon in the first six months of this year went to first-time buyers, the group’s trading update reveals.

The group sold 3,082 homes to first-time buyers, representing 52 per cent of all private sales for the period.

Speaking to This is Money, a spokesman for Persimmon said ‘around 50 per cent’ of these first-time buyers used Help to Buy schemes to complete their purchase.

While the proportion of purchases being made via Help to Buy adds weight to criticisms that housebuilders are being propped up by the Government schemes, they appear to have done little to help to Persimmon’s overall performance in the first half of the year….

… Persimmon scored the worst figures of all the major house builders in a recent Home Builders Federation new homes survey.

The firm launched a review of its house quality and customer care functions in April. …”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/markets/article-7212547/Persimmon-claims-half-time-buyers-used-Help-Buy-snap-home.html?ito=1490