A shocking BBC programme has revealed how some new homes in the UK are crumbling due to weak mortar, with those homeowners affected reportedly signing non-disclosure agreements in order to claim compensation or get the problem fixed.
Hundreds of new properties have been built using weak mortar that does not meet recommended industry standards says the documentary, with reports of faulty homes on at least 13 estates in the UK.
The BBC says that Taylor Wimpey has agreed to replace the mortar in more than 90 separate properties in one single estate in the Scottish borders. The homebuilder says an assessment by engineers found "no structural issues" with the properties.
It is hard to measure just how many properties have been affected, as some homeowners have been asked to sign non-disclosure orders so they can claim compensation.
This gagging clause may stop the property owner talking not only to the media but also to neighbours in the estate who may be facing similar problems. An NHBC spokesman said it had included a confidentiality clause in a "small number of rare circumstances" but declined to disclose the number.
Other homeowners facing an expensive repair bill have been told by their own solicitors not to go public until the issue is resolved.
In some cases, customers have ultimately had their houses bought back by either the homebuilder or the NHBC.