A COUPLE'S new dream home turned into a nightmare after repeated delays to their move-in date resulted in them spending nearly a year living in a caravan.

Rob and Irene Callan, both 64, put down a deposit for a new-build, three-bedroom semi-detached property from Allanwater Homes in late 2017.

They planned to move to the Wee County from Larbert, and were initially told they would get the keys for their house at Alloa's Tern Crescent in August 2018.

Confident that date would be met, they sold their house in Larbert and in March of that year they moved into a caravan in Clacks.

Having only planned to stay there for five months, the couple were left distraught after they ended up stuck there until January 17 this year.

Delay after delay by Allanwater Homes resulted in them being given a total of eight different move-in dates, and spending Christmas and New year in their mobile home.

Speaking about the experience, Rob told the Advertiser: "We got mucked about so much with move-in dates. Obviously every time we got told November, for example, we thought: 'Right, just a few more weeks.'

"Then we got told again, and it was just that constant upheaval that was wearing us down."

Eventually, the constant hassle started to take a toll on their health.

Rob said: "Irene was off her work a couple times because of the whole stress of the situation.

"I have a kind of rare illness and stress is one of the things that doesn't help it, so that obviously affected me too."

Despite repeatedly complaining to Allanwater about the problems they were facing, Rob claimed they were never fully told what the cause of the delays had been.

He also felt the company would only let them know what was happening after he got in contact with them.

He said: "They would probably tell you they communicated well, and they did.

"But, most of that was because of me saying: 'I need an update, what's going on?'

"I just felt I was continually pushing them for a response."

Eventually, the couple started sending letters and emails to the company's senior staff – hoping to get their situation sorted.

They also questioned whether Allanwater were in breach of guidelines, such as the Consumer Code for Home Builders, and whether they would be compensated for their experience.

In an email from one employee, which they received in February this year, they were told: "Collectively, we agree that we have complied fully with the Consumer Code and...we cannot see any grounds for compensation."

Despite that dismissive response, the couple refused to let the issue go away.

Eventually, they received a letter at the end of March from a senior staff member, who told them: "Clearly, as you were given eight different potential move-in dates, we did not meet the code's guideline."

The employee also admitted that was an "unreasonable" number of date changes.

But the couple are still not giving up, and want to make others aware of the nightmare they went through.

When asked what motivated him to speak out, Rob said: "It is just absolute annoyance and anger at the way we were treated.

"I don't want this to wear me down, but I do want to take it further, because it was wrong."

When approached for comment by the Advertiser, a spokesperson for Allanwater Homes said: "We would like to once again sincerely apologise for the upset and inconvenience caused to Mr and Mrs Callan.

"The Consumer Code is a voluntary code and open to broad interpretation.

"One of its requirements is that we give "reliable and realistic" information, and on this occasion, through having to change entry dates, we fell well short of the code's standard.

"The couple have been compensated with extras in their new home to the value of approximately £3,000."