New Homes From Hell

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.”



Tuesday, 17 March 2009, 8:00PM on ITV1

Every year many Brits buy a place abroad to escape the UK’s climate and enjoy an idyllic life in the sunshine.

But what happens when something goes wrong? New Homes From Hell examines the pitfalls of investing overseas and meets the people who have seen their dream life abroad turn into a nightmare.

One couple reveal how their apartment on a new development in Eygpt is still a building site three years after they bought it and in Spain a couple show the programme the six-foot fence keeping them out of their own villa.

Plus New Homes From Hell sends a private investigator to track down the developer who took customer’s cash and promised luxury villas in Spain which he never finished building.

Retired couple Alison and Len tell the series they paid £37,000 for an apartment in Sharm El Sheikh in 2005 but three years later the apartment complex is like a building site, the swimming pool is a dry hole in the ground, the shop and restaurant haven’t been built and there are no handrails on the staircases.

In Spain British couple Janet and Ian explain how they ran into difficulties with their villa when they decided to add an extension to it. Their neighbour claimed their home was on his land and dug a trench and built a six-foot fence preventing them from getting to it. The couple are now locked in a legal battle with their neighbour trying to get their home back. New Homes From Hell tracks the neighbour down and confronts him but he says: “It’s their problem.”

New Homes From Hell also meets the couple who bought an apartment in Bulgaria but can’t get into it because the builder has vanished without giving them a key.

The apartment block isn’t finished and the couple explain how they ran into difficulties with the same developer before when they were told the contract they signed for it was a forgery. He promised to build them a new apartment but then went missing without giving them a key to the front door. New Homes From Hell tracks down the builder to see if he will agree to meet the couple and let them in.

Plus, New Homes From Hell gets a private investigator on the case of a developer who left a couple on the verge of bankruptcy when he took their money but never even started to build their villa. The New Homes From Hell investigator tracks the developer back to the UK then follows him to work to confront him.


Tuesday, 3 March 2009, 8:00PM on ITV1

New Homes From Hell 2009 is back with a brand new three-part series looking at starter homes, luxury pads and foreign retreats which started off as dreams and turned into nightmares.

The series meets the people who shelled out thousands, and in some cases millions, for their ideal homes only to see them turn to ruins before their eyes.

New Homes From Hell: Luxury Properties features the couple whose swanky house near Sandbanks burnt down when they left their lights on timers while they went on holiday.

One woman reveals how problems with builders working on her luxury home in Spain have left her on the verge of bankruptcy and heading for divorce.

The couple who bought an exclusive penthouse apartment overlooking the Thames explain how they got the biggest ever insurance payout on a new build disaster.

And New Homes From Hell captures the moment when a woman is evicted from her mansion which she’d been squatting in for months after her spiralling debts meant she couldn’t meet her mortgage repayments.

In New Homes From Hell: Buying Abroad the programme meets the family living in war zone conditions in their château in France, thanks to a gun club next door. The family tells the programme how they have been hit by clay pigeons in their own garden because the range isn’t big enough.

The series tells the story of the couple who can’t access their own home in Spain after their neighbour dug a trench and erected a fence in their driveway, and there’s a visit to the luxury development in Egypt which is nothing more than a building site.

And New Homes From Hell investigators catch up with the builder who ripped off British buyers with the promise of luxury villas in Spain – one of which he hasn’t actually built.

In New Homes From Hell: First Time Buyers the programme meets the couple who were forced to rent out their newly-bought home for financial reasons then discovered their tenant had turned it into a cannabis factory.

The couple whose brand new city centre flat flooded when pipes burst above their ceiling tell the programme that the strain of being re-homed has led to the breakdown of their relationship.

And structural expert John Topp takes a look around the worst new-build home he’s ever seen which is uninhabitable because of endless structural problems. New Homes From Hell investigators track down the builder responsible, but will he return and fix the problems?

New Homes From Hell is produced by Katy Ferguson and the executive producer is Sarah Caplin.

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