SUFFERING homeowners say they face financial ruin after spending up to £900,000 on apartments now worth £0.
Within months of the first tenant moving into Agar Grove, in Camden, North London, they discovered a “severely damaged” development with a leaky roof and cracked bricks.
Daniel Bruce, who sold his successful tech start-up and put down a 75% deposit on a £850,000 flat, was one of the “victims” saying his house is now “unusable” challenge”.
The software engineer, 38, said: “We have sold severely damaged homes.
“I felt physically repelled by my computer – because it was the tool I had to use to fight. I had to become an activist.
“Fighting this has become a full-time job.”
Daniel’s master bedroom was closed due to a horrible smell in the ensuite – supposedly rotting due to a leak somewhere in the bathroom.
Parts of his ceiling had collapsed and there were cracks throughout the apartment, while some windows were no longer fully open.
He added: “I don’t remember the last time I slept for more than two hours. Our lives were frozen.”
“I don’t consider myself an emotional person, but I was completely distraught.
“Buyers of a new build need to know that their certificate of registration means nothing and that their warranty may not be claimed against.”
Jewelry designer Alexandra Druzhinin, 49, who paid £900,000 for her flat, also had problems.
She said: “We are constantly living in fear. We are completely trapped. We cannot escape this.
“I’m completely exhausted. Not only have we lost the money we spent to buy and renovate the apartment, as well as the legal fees – but now we’re in danger of losing everything we own because cannot buy insurance.”
The problems became apparent less than a year after the first tenants moved in, and in 2020 a major leak was discovered in the common stairwell.
Despite years of reporting on the building’s condition, the insurance company offering a 10-year warranty remains unpaid.
Now, a government minister has asked Camden Council to consider whether it can prosecute the construction company for “recklessly” signing off on a block of flats that were judged “unfit for purpose”. .
An expert surveyor considered the building potentially unstable and said demolition should be considered.
The tenants on the property said they had paid more than £300,000 in legal fees for their damaged homes and lived in “permanent fear” of their ruined finances.
One of them was Adam Helal, 58, who paid £705,000 for an apartment with a significant crack in the terrace wall.
His leaky bathroom damaged the interior walls and part of his ceiling collapsed.
Mr. Helal said: “All the windows are faulty. I work in a soundproof room and there is no soundproofing at all.
“It’s supposed to be triple glazed but in reality there’s not much of a difference if you open or close them.”
Prime Metro Properties based in Islington, north London, said it was limited in what it could say about the property, as it did not want to “influence any future proceedings”.
A spokesman said the company has withheld three of the property’s seven apartments, as it “continues to suffer as a result of the problems it has exposed”.
He added: “Ever since the building started showing problems, we’ve spent a considerable amount of money and time investigating, trying to get to the root of these problems, and have resolved the issue. deal with many insurance companies and warranty service providers at no cost to other lessees, and continue to do so.
“We remain committed to resolving this issue and have evaluated all tenants for the issues and our efforts.”
Michael Gove, Secretary of State at the DLUHC, invited the lessors to a meeting.