SEVERAL first-time home owners’ incomplete houses are up to 50 weeks out of contract with a Langwarrin-based building company.
Some Pro-struct Property Group houses remain half-built, while others do not have so much as a concrete slab after almost two years of “excuses” and “unexplained delays”, clients say.
Residents have told the Gazette that the home and land packages were sold to them through Turnkey Homes’ display homes based in Cranbourne East, with no mention of Pro-struct until the signing of the contract.
Kieron Donoghue purchased a site in Spearwood Rise, Cranbourne West, and signed his contract in February last year.
“Throughout that whole time I’ve been paying a mortgage on that piece of land,” Mr Donoghue said.
“There were always excuses, like the council or the surveyor was holding them up. It was the same story over and over again for over a year.
“I count myself one of the lucky ones because I was able to get out before they started building. I cancelled my contract in June and am now in the process of fighting for my $9800 deposit back.
“I hung around at their office last Friday and they told me the money will be paid into my account this week. I don’t believe that for a minute.
“It’s quite scary really that they can get away with this. There’s not enough protection for owners.”
Jenny and Tony Colvin’s Henrietta Avenue site in Officer remains a shell and is yet to enter the ‘fixed’ or ‘completion’ stages of the development.
“Our house should have been completed by last August. It is still not complete and we are 48 weeks out of contract,” Ms Colvin said.
“Over the last two years we have made numerous calls to Pro-struct and sent many emails. We have repeatedly asked to speak with the directors but they have not responded.
“On the way back from my husband’s father’s funeral, we passed the site and talked to the bricklayers. About 10 minutes later, I had received an invoice for the lock-up stage, so we refused to pay because we knew it hadn’t been completed.”
Ms Colvin said Pro-struct had attributed the delays to the late land title having put them behind schedule.
“The land was due to be released and settled in May, but wasn’t until September. But all the other houses in our street started popping up. They can’t use that as an excuse. If anything, it gave them four months to get their permits up to date.”
The couple lodged a complaint against Pro-struct to Consumer Affairs in July last year, which Ms Colvin said achieved little but bi-weekly email contact with updates that she described as “inconsistent”.
Berwick resident Bridgett Scott also purchased an Officer-based home and land package through Pro-struct. She is now 49 weeks out of contract.
“I’ve been working two jobs to meet both my rent and mortgage payments, working long hours and picking up weekend shifts,” Ms Scott said.
“I have two weeks to foreclose on my loan but my 12-month construction loan expired last year. They’ve given me one month’s extension, so I don’t even know what happens after that.
“In May this year I was told that my move-in date would be 10 June but that didn’t happen. Nobody bothered to contact me. What if I’d paid for a moving truck or taken time off work to move in? There’s just no care.
“Because I’m renting at the moment, I’m supposed to give a month’s notice. But I can’t trust when Pro-struct tell me the house will be finished. I’m on my own. It’s a single income. If I did give a month’s notice, I’d be homeless.“
Ms Scott said she was aware of about 15 other people who had purchased home and land packages through Turnkey Homes and Pro-struct.
She said most had cancelled their contracts and she knew of two people who had, after much perseverance, managed to get their deposits back.
The firm’s lawyer Lance Guymer responded on behalf of Pro-struct Property Group’s directors.
“We are instructed this (Jenny Colvin’s) project is at fixing stage, our client is waiting for that payment and anticipates completion within approximately six weeks,” Mr Guymer said.
“Bridget Scott’s home is completed and the occupancy permit is about to be issued, our client expects handover to take place shortly.
“Our client Prostruct Property Group Pty Ltd has been involved in the construction of homes in Victoria for over 20 years, its directors have vast experience in the area and take pride in their work and delivering quality homes to customers.
“Unfortunately it is the nature of the industry that delays can often occur through issues which are very difficult for a builder to control, such as delays in the release of land during subdivision stage, shortages and difficulties with sub-contractors.
“The staff of our client, including site supervisor, are regularly in contact with Ms Colvin and Ms Scott.”
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