Episode 3

Tuesday, 24 March 2009, 8:00PM on ITV1

One in ten homes in Britain is bought by a first time buyer and the last part of this series meets the people who scrimped and saved for their first homes, only to wish they hadn’t bothered.

New Homes From Hell: First Time Buyers meets the friends whose new home is so badly built it’s uninhabitable, the woman who was lucky to escape with her life after part of her house fell down and the family whose dream home was turned into a cannabis farm when they rented it out.

New Homes From Hell structural engineer John Topp meets friends Matt and Gavin who bought a new house that has so many faults, John believes the developer must have no previous building experience.

There are problems with the guttering, the roof, the frame, the floor boards and the gas and water supply and Matt and Gavin can’t track down the developer.

John says: “The guy that actually did this wrong was the developer and he’s the key to this. I haven’t seen so many defects in one new build property before of such seriousness. I mean it really is as if it’s been thrown together by somebody who’s never done any building work before. The selection of materials is completely inappropriate… everything that I’ve looked at here has been wrong. It’s just unbelievable. I can’t exaggerate how bad this is, I really can’t, even if I wanted to. It’s terrible.”

New Homes From Hell sends an investigator to track the developer down and he promises to visit the house and make the necessary repairs – Matt and Gavin wait two months for their visit, but will the developer turn up?

Trainee accountant Tracey tells the programme how she is lucky to be alive after the gable wall of her house fell down while she, her partner and their one-year-old son were sleeping inside. In emotional scenes Tracey describes how proud she was of the terraced house she saved to buy when she was just 24.

She decided to re-mortgage the property and a survey revealed the gable end wall needed re-building. But the builder who took on the job made a catastrophic error which sent the wall crashing down as the family slept.

The couple and their son were rescued by the fire brigade and found temporary accommodation but their home was looted. Neither Tracey nor the builder had insurance to cover the damage to the house and Tracey tells how she was forced to go bankrupt and have her home repossessed – leaving her homeless and putting her job at risk.

New Homes From Hell also meets a couple who were forced to rent out their dream family home when it became too expensive for them. Chris and Tracy planned to rent the brand-new house out as a temporary measure but when their tenants moved out in a hurry they went to check the property and discovered it had been turned into a cannabis farm.

Chris tells the programme that as he entered the house he discovered foil on the walls, 600w lights hanging from the ceiling, massive holes drilled throughout the property for ventilation and plants everywhere. The couple have now been left with £15,000 worth of damage which their insurance company will not payout.

And the series features the young couple whose leaking apartment caused them so much stress they have broken up. Sarah tells the programme: “For the past 18 months it’s been an absolute living nightmare. It feels like both me and Jamie have lost 18 months of our lives and all it was focused on getting the apartment fixed, more phone calls, more arguments and a lot of wasted money. If it wasn’t for this stress now and the stress that both of us have been put under we’d both probably be very happy together.”



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