The New Homes Quality Board has launched a consultation on a new code of practice for the housebuilding industry to be enforced by a new housing ombudsman.
Earlier this year, Advantage wrote about the creation of the New Homes Quality Board, which will oversee the introduction of a comprehensive new industry code of practice that will place considerably more responsibility on developers to deliver quality homes and to offer better consumer outcomes.
In particular, it requires builders to have an effective after care service in place to deal with any issues or ‘snagging’ problems customers have with their new home, and a robust complaints process that responds to customers concerns in a timely manner and to their satisfaction, keeping them informed at set times throughout. If a customer is not satisfied with how any complaint they have made has been dealt with, they can refer themselves to the independent New Homes Ombudsman Service.
The new code also:
- Protects vulnerable customers, prohibits high pressure selling, requires any deposits the customer pays to their builder to be protected
- Requires the builder to provide all relevant information about the home during the sales process – including its tenure and any future management or service charges – that allows them to make an informed decision about their purchase
- Sets out requirements for a fair reservation agreement, including a ‘cooling off’ period and sales contract requirements
- Allows customer to have a professional carry out a pre-completion inspection of their home on their behalf
- Specifies that a home must be ‘complete’, preventing builders paying customers to move into a new home early.
Natalie Elphicke, OBE, independent chairman of the NHQB said:
“The launch of the consultation on the New Homes Quality Code is a major milestone in our work to introduce a new and comprehensive framework of protections for home buyers.
“I believe that the New Homes Quality Code fills the gaps in existing protections and will drive up build quality standards and consumer protections.
“It requires builders to treat their customers fairly, respond quickly to any issues they have, or be subject to referral to the independent New Homes Ombudsman we will put in place. I would encourage as many people as possible to complete the consultation and let us have any suggestions they have for how we can improve the draft code.”
From the archives: Advantage sponsors a Liverpool homelessness charity.
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