EXCLUSIVE Charity boss, 66, buys giant banner in home developer row

EXCLUSIVE ‘I spent £200 on a banner to shame developers who won’t fix problems in my £500,000 new home. Don’t make the same mistake I did’

  • Balbinder Singh, 66, said the house was riddled with issues before they moved in
  • He has now erected a giant banner with his ‘review’ of Avant Homes’ service
  • Other residents on the estate have reported similar issues with new-build homes 

A charity president who spent £200 on a giant banner calling out a major housing developer for failing to fix problems with his brand-new £500,000 home today told how he decided ‘enough is enough.’

Balbinder Singh, 66, from Mickleover, Derby, says developer Avant Homes has been ignoring his repeated requests for issues to be repaired, and even caused further damage to the property on one visit to inspect the house.

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 issues with the construction.  

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline on Friday, Mr Singh described at least seven separate issues with the property that have emerged less than two years after moving in.

He said he hopes his banner ‘shames’ Avant into taking action and accused the company of ‘making millions of pounds’ while not caring for the families they are selling to.

Charity boss Balbinder Singh, 66, spent £200 on the giant banner after claiming Avant is ‘ignoring’ his attempts to contact them

Even before Mr Singh and Mrs Kaur, who have four children and four grandchildren, moved in they noticed a significant amount of water was running off the porch roof and down the wall next to the front door, soaking the brickwork.

Mr Singh said when he contacted Avant about the issue, they said they would fix it ‘straight away’ – but no-one has ever come to look at the problem. 

He added: ‘We are still waiting. The wall is absolutely full of water, it shouldn’t be like that.

‘Then we started noticing other problems after we moved in. 

‘The extractor fan wasn’t connected to anything, there is no duct to the outside. 

‘So the air and cooking smells it sucks in were just circulating around the room. 

‘Even if we are cooking pasta, condensation from the steam drips off the cooker hood.’

He claimed Avant did send someone to fix the extractor fan, but instead of fixing the fan the workman caused a new problem by breaking their under-counter strip lighting.

The couple say they noticed water pouring off the side of the porch before they even moved in, and it has now led to mold and damp on the house’s exterior

One major problem is a porch overhang from which water runs off and pours down the outside wall

Avant Homes allegedly promised to replace glass which was covered by brown paint before the Singhs moved in, but it has still not been done

Mr Singh claimed a member of Avant staff arrived to fix their extractor fan, but instead caused further damage by breaking a section of the couple’s strip lighting

When the couple complained about the damage caused, around Christmas 2021, they say they were promised someone would come and fix it – but no-one ever did.

They showed MailOnline damage to the patio doors they say was present on the day they moved in, consisting of a large area of brown paint-like splatters.

Mr Singh said: ‘They [Avant] came to look at it but said they couldn’t remove it, so they would replace the glass. Again, that hasn’t been done.’

He listed further issues including interior doors that were marked before they arrived, and a cracked toilet seat.

Mr Singh also said the wardrobes in the master bedroom were not fitted properly, meaning one door has already completely come off.

He said: ‘This is all stuff we have told would be repaired, but hasn’t been.

‘These might seem like minor 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 are making millions of pounds, and simply aren’t bothered.

‘I gave them a week’s notice before I put up the banner. But they still didn’t respond. Now they are ignoring 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 Mrs Kaur said: ‘Someone had to do something’

The extractor fan was allegedly not connected to any external vent, meaning cooking smells only circulate throughout the room rather than exiting through the fan

Read more: ‘Don’t make the mistake we made’: Man unfurls giant banner above his garage in row with developers who built his house after they refused to fix it because he had an EXTENSION built

Mrs Kaur said she supported her husband in putting up the banner.

She added: ‘I think someone had to do something.

‘If it was just one or two tiny issues then that would be one thing. But it is a lot.

‘The main problem is the front wall. It’s actually green with moss now because so much water has run down it. That isn’t right.

‘This is the third new house we have had in a row, with three different builders – but we have never experienced something like this before.’

Avant Homes said issues have been caused by the construction of an extension that impacted his warranty.

But Mr Singh claims many of the issues pre-date the extension: ‘As for them trying to claim the extension has caused the problems, that isn’t right at all. 

‘Firstly, I had permission from Avant in writing for it, and secondly some of the problems were there before it was even built. 

‘But I guess they have to say something.’ 

Avant Homes has been contacted for comment. 

In a desperate bid to heap pressure on Avant Homes, Mr Singh, who lives on the Cotchett Village estate, has put up a sign that reads: ‘Avant Homes our review. We moved in on April 1, 2021 and work is still uncompleted.

‘Avant is no longer responding to us. There is lots of uncompleted work. We are happy to share pictures. Don’t make the mistake we made.’

Mr Singh frustratedly erected the sign, which he designed himself, on March 6.

A spokesperson for Avant Homes told MailOnline: ‘We have been in ongoing dialogue with the occupant regarding his property.

‘Having fully investigated the occupant’s concerns regarding his home, we believe a significant number of them were caused by the building of an extension on the property after the house was purchased.

‘In addition, the extension also voided certain aspects of the house’s NHBC Buildmark warranty and this was explained at the time to the occupant by our customer liaison manager.

‘We have inspected the house and communicated back to the occupant what is acceptable for us to resolve in relation to his concerns outside of those created by the extension.

‘Our customer liaison team is proactively dealing with a very small number of residents at the development who have raised concerns to ensure any reasonable requests are addressed.

‘We are going to contact Mr Singh at the beginning of next week to arrange a meeting with him in order to reclarify our position regarding his property.’

Avant Homes said issues have been caused by the construction of an extension that impacted the house’s warranty 

Other residents on the street have also said they have experienced similar issues with their new-builds 

Other residents on the street, including Kevin Crisp and his family, claim they have experienced similar issues.

Mr Crisp said: ‘There’s been loads of stuff. We had a street barbecue for the Queen’s Jubilee last year and the theme was that everyone is having the same problem.’ 

In their house, which they moved into in 2021, they claim a sink problem led to a kitchen worktop warping and a replacement was cut too short. 

Mr Crisp’s partner said: ‘The customer service is diabolical. Even through the process of buying it, they ignored us.’ 

Avant Homes told Derbyshire Live that they are working with ‘a very small number’ of residents at Cotchett Village, off the A516 Etwall Road, to resolve their concerns.

Steven Bosworth, who also lives on the estate, claims that his house was riddled with issues when he moved in in 2020.

He said he had his downstairs toilet ripped out and refitted due to water leaking through walls, his floors relaid due to scratches, and his kitchen units redone due to missing plug sockets.

He said: ‘We’d never buy from them again. They’re a waste of time and don’t want to fix anything. I’m constantly pushing them to come round and fix stuff and we’re still waiting.’

Another couple who live near Mr Singh said that their experience of Avant Homes has been positive.

They believe they were one of the first to move in, having acquired the keys in March 2020.

They said that any problems were resolved swiftly after the first Covid-19 lockdown eased that summer.

At the time, not many other people were living on the site and tradesmen were working on homes every day.

However, they claim that the customer service has ‘gone downhill’ since then.

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