Southwark homeowners claim Greenwich House Properties sold them houses without warranties.
London housebuilder Greenwich House Properties is under attack from homeowners who claim that they were sold houses without proper new-build warranties.

A number of residents on the Balfour Mews/New Kent Road development in Southwark claim that the housebuilder sold nine homes before warranty provider Zurich Municipal had performed a final inspection and certified the properties as ready for occupation.

Under the terms of its 10-year warranty on new-build homes, Zurich Municipal inspects work in progress before issuing a final approval when the house is completed.

Without the final inspection, the properties are not insured against defects under Zurich’s 10-year warranty. Zurich Municipal provides insurance for about 10-15% of new-build homes. The National House Building Council covers the remainder.

Residents, who moved into the properties in December 1999, say they became aware that the homes were not covered when they discovered a series of defects that they claim Greenwich House Properties failed to rectify.

David Tearle, director of Greenwich House Properties, said that, as far as he was concerned, the properties had been inspected during construction and had been passed for occupation.

“Houses have been inspected and all comply with building regulations, but certificates have yet to be issued. We have paid our fees. It may be that Zurich Municipal has yet to send the certificates. I did an excellent job. There are one or two problems, which have been dealt with.”

The properties without final certificates have not had the full warranty issued

Spokesperson,Zurich Municipal

Zurich Municipal confirmed that nine homes were without warranties and insisted that it had not given final approval on the nine homes.

A spokesperson for Zurich said: “As far as we are concerned, the properties without final [inspection] certificates at the Balfour Mews development have not had the full warranty issued on them.”

The spokesperson said Zurich intended to carry out an inspection of the premises next week. However, she added that there was no guarantee that the homes would pass and obtain the cover.

The spokesperson added: “We cannot prejudge the situation, but if we find anything untoward, the housebuilder concerned will be suspended [from the warranty scheme] subject to investigation. If it is necessary, we will deregister.”

The owners of the properties, many of which cost more than £300 000, claim that, without Zurich’s warranty, they will not be able to sell their homes.