At AHCI, we believe that home buyers should be treated fairly, are aware of what service levels to expect and how to access fast, low-cost dispute resolution arrangements (should they be dissatisfied), and that they should receive reliable information on which to make their decisions.
This belief has encouraged us to ensure that any developers that wish to apply for and/or take out a warranty on a development with AHCI comply with the Consumer Code. This code came into effect in April 2010, and details a set of requirements and principals that Home Builders must meet in their marketing and selling of homes, and in their after-sales customer service.
The Code reinforces best practice among home builders to make sure that the level of information and customer service provided by all builders is consistently high. It builds on successful efforts already made by the industry to improve consumer satisfaction in recent years.
The Code is often updated to ensure the highest quality customer service possible – the third and newest edition of The Consumer Code applies to any and all home buyers that who have signed a reservation agreement for a new or newly converted home on or after 1st April 2013, as long as the home has been built by a Home Builder that has registered with one of the Home Warranty Bodies.
The Code covers complaints within a ten year period from practical completion. However the two year period alluded to is the contractor liability period sated in AHCI’s policy whereby the Developer is liable for the rectification of any major structural defects that causes a claim against the policy. Therefore this does not affect the Consumers right to complain during the ten year period of cover.
The Consumer Code does not apply to properties built under an Architect’s Certificate, built by self-builders, let on short-term tenancy agreements or acquired for investment purposes or by Registered Providers. It will also not apply to any second hand properties. Furthermore, the Code does not cover all disputes – it excludes any claims already covered by the Advantage HCI Warranty and claims within which the amount of redress claimed exceeds the limits of the Dispute Resolution Scheme. It also does not cover disputes concerning personal injury, loss of property value or claims concerning land conveyed.
Copies of the Consumer Code are available for access via www.ahci.co.uk. Further to this, the Code should be displayed in public areas like show houses, and must be given to the buyer in the Buyer Reservation Agreement. The buyer of a property should be fully aware of the Code, and what it entails, so that they know the level of quality of service that is expected, and can raise concerns when they believe it to be lower than this.
If buyers are unsure about any aspect of the Code, then developers should help these Vulnerable Customers (any customer that finds it difficult to access or choose essential products or services which are suitable for their own needs) to understand the Code, their purchase and their responsibilities while taking their specific and unique needs into careful consideration. Therefore, if there are any aspects of the Code that are confusing, or you are finding it difficult to make choices about any services you may require, then your developer has a responsibility to take the time to ensure you are happy with your purchases and knowledgeable of expectations.
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