Woman’s life ‘ruined’ after £600k home not built on time then sold to new buyer

A woman whose “life has been ruined” after a developer failed to build her “dream home” on time claims it was then sold to someone else.

Katie Grouse, 39, says she has lost money and missed out on eligibility for a government scheme helping people into homes due to the delay.

She said her hopes of settling at the Harron Homes’ Oaklands Heath development in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, have been dashed.

After deciding to buy a new home, she put down a deposit last August, sold and moved out of her old home, and exchanged contracts on a £584,000 Harron home last December, Katie told.

But just weeks into the new year her plans were in tatters after Harron Homes admitted it wasn’t going to be able to build her house in time for the Help To Buy (HTB) deadline this February.

Despite the government scheme being extended by at first one month and then three further months due to the pandemic, Harron Homes still said it would be unable to finish the home and that the sale was off.

But Katie claims she has since found out her home has been sold to another customer at a much higher price.

The IT consultant claims the luxury homes firm has left her about £15,000 out of pocket in unexpected removal fees, storage fees, expenses and lost benefits of the HTB scheme.

And she says its failure to deliver has denied her a chance of benefiting from the HTB scheme in the future as the criteria has now changed.

She said: “I’ve been in a really dark place about it all and I’ve had to seek counselling because of all the stress.

“I’ve given them every opportunity to come back to me with some sort of compensation, or just to say sorry, and they’ve ignored me.

“I’m now left out of a home – the way they’ve treated me is absolutely ridiculous.

“They’ve had months and months to build that home.

“They never should have exchanged contracts with me as there were only nine weeks to go before the initial deadline at that point, and I’m told it takes 19 weeks to build.

“They’ve blamed everything from Covid to having no brickies, but they’ve been making good progress on their site at Fixby.”

Katie said she had been told by one executive she would be given a £5,000 ‘goodwill gesture’ but she said she’d not even had her £99 deposit returned, despite them selling the plot to someone else.

“It was my dream home,” she added. “It was something I was very excited about.

“I know Covid has presented some challenges but they’ve managed to build other houses but not mine.

“I’ve had cost on cost over this but I’m never going to get another opportunity of financial assistance on another house and now I’ve also missed out on the stamp duty freeze window.

“My life is now ruined by what this company have done and the fact that they have gone back on their word to provide some assistance or a small amount of compensation to cover my losses, it’s just disgusting.”

A spokesperson for Harron Homes Yorkshire said: “We have experienced increased build timescales in the same way most other developers have during the pandemic, competing for resources and the effects on the supply chain.

“Our Oaklands Heath development has a number of larger house types and in combination with a more challenging topography made it harder to predict completion time frames.

“The government recognised the difficulties developers were experiencing and did extend the Help to Buy deadline to reduce the number of customers affected.

“Unfortunately we were unable to meet the revised deadline for Ms Grouse to take advantage of the Help to Buy scheme.

“We have allowed Ms Grouse to rescind her contract without penalty and we have given a refund of deposit monies.”