People who were due to move into the first phase of the Westwood Acres development at Poorhole Lane from May this year are facing homelessness, refusals to extend mortgage offers or new deals on much higher rates because of delays in completion dates.
The Westwood Acres development is split into three phases of 153 modular homes. The first phase went on the market in February and buyers were expecting to move in from May but issues and delays with the electrical connectivity date has meant completion dates have not been confirmed.
Now many of the buyers says they are facing problems extending their mortgage offers or are being told that more expensive deals have to be taken due to a rise in interest rates.
Others have been refused an extension, some face homelessness or moving into hotels and Air BnBs because they have given current landlords notice while another, who had not yet exchanged contracts, has pulled out altogether.
One buyer, who has asked not to be named, said: “Due to their incompetence we have people whose mortgage offers are running out and they will not be able to afford new mortgage payments based on rising rates.
“There are people who have had to move into Air BnBs or family member’s homes because we were promised these properties in May/June/July/ August/September/ October and November.
“The goalposts have moved every single month. We are now waiting to be connected to the grid having been told that we had a date for this mid October. We’re now told there is no connection date.
“My lender is refusing to extend our offer. Applying for a new mortgage offer on today’s ever increasing rates is almost certainly going to price us out. We simply cannot afford any further increase on price.
“We have been promised these properties on a monthly basis since they were supposedly meant to be ready in May.
“Others are in the same situation, most are in phase one. All our mortgage offers are expiring at the same sort of time. One couple has been living in BnB at £500 a week since July. One family had to move into their mums and dads, another will be homeless in December as the landlord already gave them 6 month extension.
“Our same mortgage product is £300 more a month. We can’t afford it and we don’t know what we’re going to do.”
Another buyer said they bought off plan with a completion date of June but say they have been continually fobbed off, adding: “If they were honest throughout this build process then people would be in better positions and would have more tolerance.”
Another buyer described the situation as a ‘ticking timebomb’ saying: “There will be people who have exchanged contracts and will struggle legally to withdraw from the sale, but who would now also not pass the affordability criteria to buy one of these houses in the first place! They need to be doing something to fix this and quick…this is a ticking timebomb.”
Love Living Homes leads the development, backed Town & Country Housing, and is currently advertising homes in Phase 2.
The development, which has shared ownership deals, was approved in May 2021. An initial proposal for the site had been rejected by Thanet council in August 2015 but was approved on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate in February 2017.
Colin Lissenden, Development Director for Town & Country Housing, said the company is doing all it can to support buyers through the “unexpected delay.”
He said: “The initial electricity provider has recently advised that they are unable to proceed with the connectivity to our Westwood Acres development. However, an alternative provider has now been agreed and we are currently awaiting connectivity dates.
“Until the electrical connectivity date is provided, we are unfortunately unable to provide completion dates to our buyers. We can assure our buyers that we are constantly pressuring the provider for updates and will continually send any new information we receive to our customers.
“We understand that this is a significant matter of concern for our customers and appreciate how frustrating this situation is. We have written to everyone affected and we are doing all we can to support our buyers through this unexpected delay.
“We are committed to ensure all buyers are updated regularly with the latest progress and would urge any buyers with any concerns to contact our team.”