MortgagesMar 21 2019

Persimmon launches retention policy after quality concerns

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Persimmon launches retention policy after quality concerns
Gareth Fuller/PA

Housebuilder Persimmon has launched a retention policy allowing buyers to hold back a portion of the sum owed until snags are resolved.

The policy, which is being written into Persimmon’s standard contract, means a buyer’s solicitor can withhold 1.5 per cent of the total home value until any faults identified at the point of key release are resolved.

Snags are small defects or problem within a newly built home that remain once all building work has been completed and are typically cosmetic, such as missing door hinges, window scratches or something that hasn’t been fitted correctly.

Based on the firm’s average current selling price, the 1.5 per cent equates to roughly £3,600.

Legal advisers to Persimmons are in the process of drafting the policy’s detail into the standard contract and the firm said it expected it to be fully in place by the end of June.

Dave Jenkinson, chief executive of Persimmon, said: "Persimmon is listening hard to all of its stakeholders and we hear the message that we need to continue to raise our game in customer care.

"The initiatives we have already announced, including the action taken in the new year to deliver greater accuracy of anticipated moving in dates by adopting a more targeted approach to the phasing of sales on specific sites and the improvements and investments that we have made in our customer care team, operations and technology over the last few months are beginning to take effect.

"We are now accelerating the pace of change through the introduction of a contracted retention, which will give homebuyers far greater satisfaction at the completion of the purchase.  

"Moving into a new home should be a positive experience enhanced by all the benefits of a new build that is designed for modern living.  We are determined that the experience is not overshadowed by teething problems and providing a homebuyer's retention is an important step towards achieving this."

Earlier this year there were reports that the government was considering excluding Persimmon from the Help to Buy scheme because of concerns about the quality of the homes it was building.

The most recent New Homes survey by the Home Builders Federation found Persimmon had a customer satisfaction rating of three stars, with most other builders having four stars or more and only Bovis having a lower rating.

Roger Devlin, Persimmon's chairman, said: "This [retention policy] is a first among the UK's large housebuilders and I hope will lead the way in change across the sector.

"This move, and the urgency with which we will introduce it, is a clear and unambiguous signal of cultural and operational change at Persimmon, putting customer care at the very centre of the business."