Residents of Ilford’s new 141-home Paragon development face homelessness as move-in date delayed nine times
PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:34 06 June 2019
Excited would-be homeowners who bought shares in the Paragon development in central Ilford have spoken of the months of misery they have gone through as developers repeatedly pushed back completion dates – leaving some of them at risk of homelessness.
Paragon is a new shared ownership scheme in Ilford which is being delivered by NU Living, the selling agent for Swan Housing Association.
But developers have revealed that after their chosen cladding supplier went bust delays began to pile up.
Danyal Aziz, who currently lives in Seven Kings, reserved a property in April last year and said he was given an estimated completion date of November 1.
But he still doesn't know when he can move into the property and says NU Living has blamed utility company and building control delays.
"We were rushed into having a mortgage offer ready so we could exchange contracts within a strict deadline with the threat of losing the property if we didn't meet these deadlines," Mr Aziz said. "Completion has been delayed nine times now, with the latest estimation being August 2019, some 10 months after we should have completed.
"Up until the end of March, they have told buyers that delays are due to delays with utilities companies and connections. In the latest update they are blaming building control delays for causing the delay."
Mr Aziz's current mortgage offer expires at the end of July and he now needs a fourth mortgage offer in order to complete on the property.
"NU Living have said we can withdraw from the sale, however this isn't what we want, we just want a property to move into," he said.
"It has been the most horrible experience and from the others I have spoken to I am not the only one in this position.
"We have been lied to on several occasions and even when we have pointed out the lies with facts they are ignored.
"These shared ownership properties are funded with government money and NU Living are not the sort of developer which should be handed these contracts given their poor track record. At no time has compensation been offered to buyers."
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A south London resident who purchased a flat from the same company in February said she will also have nowhere to live at the end of June.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, bought a flat in the Barking 360 development in February and she was due to move in March.
"In mid-March, I was told by a newsletter that went into my junk mail that estimated completion date had changed to May," she said.
"I am staying with a friend and she very kindly allowed me to extend my stay though I obviously felt incredibly uncomfortable asking. The new completion date was end of May. Six days before May 31, I had heard no updates and my email to NU Living enquiring about it went unanswered.
"Last week, five days before estimated completion, I received another newsletter from NU Living into my junk mail stating the date of completion was now estimated to be July because they 'needed more information to complete construction'.
"This has left me with nowhere to live beyond the end of June as my friend has kindly said I can stay till then but beyond then has someone moving in and so after the end of June I am effectively without housing.
"I fully understand new builds can incur delays, but to give six days notice for a two month delay with very little explanation makes for an untenable situation for those who need to secure accommodation in the meantime. It's also the second time they have conducted themselves in this way without any consideration for their future residents.
"It baffles me that this behaviour can go on with zero accountability and nothing to protect the buyer.
"Beyond the end of June, I have nowhere to live. I could waste even more money moving all my stuff and getting a short term let, but I've no idea how long for as NU Living has zero credibility in terms of their estimates as there is a high chance I will receive another newsletter at the end of July into my junk mail extending for another two months and leaving me once again screwed."
A spokesman for NU Living said: "We fully understand how excited Mr Aziz and other residents were about moving into their new homes at Paragon and 360 Barking and recognise how disappointing and inconvenient it can be when completion dates are delayed.
"We also understand that offering our apologies and maximum flexibility to customers like Mr Aziz, as we have done, doesn't provide the certainty they are seeking about when their new home will be ready.
"However development at this scale is complex and it is not uncommon for delays to occur on new builds, often due to circumstances out of the control of the developer, as in the case of 360 Barking and Paragon - the latter for example, where the cladding contractor became insolvent.
"Our teams are focused on completing these new homes as soon as possible and our sales team are regularly updating customers about the likely completion date for these schemes, having stressed from the point of reservation that the completion dates are estimated. We ensured we issued revised completion dates before customers exchanged contracts, so all purchasers knew that the projects have been delayed before committing to buy.
"We will continue to work with our contractors, suppliers and other partner organisations, to ensure these new affordable, shared ownership and private sale homes are delivered as soon as possible to the highest standard for our customers and are committed to keeping buyers informed."
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