Owners of brand new flats built by Croydon Council’s failed developer Brick by Brick, which is in the process of being shut down, say they’ve faced a catalogue of problems since moving in from gas leaks to water pipes not being fitted properly.

To make matters worse some of the owners fear they will struggle to sell their home when the time comes that they look to move due to all the issues.

Couples and families were attracted to buy newly built homes on the Auckland Rise and Sylvan Hill development, in Crystal Palace, by their unique designs and claims profits would be ploughed back into the community.

However, residents told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they have faced a catalogue of problems including gas leaks, issues with water pipes, poor sound insulation and have found it difficult to get repairs carried out.

Of the dozen residents we spoke to, many were also concerned about a huge increase in service charges, expected to be between £150 and £200 a month – “double” what they were paying before.

Management of the blocks has been handed from the developer to company FirstPort.

Robert Dick, 39, moved into his flat in October 2021 and faced a gas leak shortly after this. 

He said: “My husband and I had lived in the area for about six years and we wanted to buy.

"The flat is nice but there are some defects some of which are more serious, like a gas leak immediately after we moved.

"We are in touch with people across the buildings and I know ours is not the only case.

“It made us feel quite at risk, we have asked for a safety certificate to be issued but we have seen evidence of that yet.

"It is one example of the poor level of communication and poor level of service we have had.”

He said he was not aware of the situation with Brick by Brick before moving into the property.

Despite the problems he has faced he says he is happy with the decision to buy the flat.

The development includes 57 one and two-bedroom flats, which are built in the existing estate between Church Road, Sylvan Hill and Auckland Road.

The homes were built by Croydon Council-owned developer Brick by Brick which was set up in 2016 to build affordable homes but has since been partly blamed for the financial collapse of the council.

The authority’s independent auditors said £200million loaned to the company contributed to it having to declare bankruptcy for the first time in November 2020.

The company is now in the process of being closed down, which is expected to be completed in 2024.

A 30-year-old woman who asked not to be named said the social benefits of Brick by Brick appealed to her when buying her flat in January 2020.

She added: “We were sold on the premise that it would help the whole estate but it feels like this building has caused a hindrance. There is a courtyard at the back of the development but it wasn’t made clear who had access to it.

"It took them a really long time for [the existing residents] to get access and none of us felt comfortable using the space.”

Alfie Sneaton, 31, who lives in a flat that his girlfriend bought in 2022 said as soon as winter came water leaked through the ceiling.

While Sara Morelli who moved in a year ago said she had a “lovely flat” but one of the main problems was the difficulty in getting in touch with people to carry out repairs that are covered by the 10-year new built warranty.

Eva Astreinidou, 34, moved in November 2021 and was drawn to the flats by their “unique” design but has faced issues from the start.

She said: “It hasn’t been a peaceful time, it has been quite unsettling.

"One of the first issues was that Brick by Brick had a responsibility to handing over our details to Thames Water but they didn’t do that.

"A few of us weren’t able to get accounts or bills set up for two years which meant we were hit with a hefty bill and less time to pay it back.”

Adding to the stress of owning a new home Ms Astreinidou and some of her neighbours were given a bill for ground rent of between £2,500 and £7,000.

The bills were sent in error and later withdrawn but the home-owner said the experience was “very stressful”.

Melissa Chapman, 47, is worried about being able to sell her flat in the future if service charges keep going up.

She claims there were drainage issues in her flat and the pipes in her bathroom were not fitted correctly.

She said: “We thought because the properties were new it would be okay but we are still going through problems.

"Brick by Brick was very hard to get in touch with at the start, the phone line kept going down and they kept changing their numbers.

“I worry about being able to sell in the future. People aren’t going to want to come and move here because of all the bills.

“I am happy about Brick by Brick being closed down but I am not happy that they have crumbled Croydon and we are paying for it with our 15 per cent council tax rise.”

A spokesperson for FirstPort said a suspected gas leak in early February this year was addressed on the same day.

They said as it was in a flat not a communal area they were given advice on how to get it “investigated urgently”.

The spokesperson added: “Our property manager regularly visits the site and is available to customers to discuss any concerns.

"We also have a communal noticeboard at the development containing contact details for the property manager and our customer services team, should there be an urgent need to contact us.

"We do sometimes rely on contractors to carry out specialist work and we work closely with them to ensure things are actioned quickly.”

Brick by Brick was contacted for comment through Croydon Council.