New Draft Code for House Builders Published

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THE NEW HOMES QUALITY BOARD (NHQB) has published its draft new Code of practice for house builders for a four-week public consultation.

The New Homes Quality Code, aims to address the gaps in existing protections for new build customers for which the house building industry has been so heavily criticised in recent years.

The NHQB is the independent body created to oversee a new framework that will drive up quality and service standards in the house building industry.Apart from introducing the new code it has appointed a New Homes Ombudsman Service for homeowners not satisfied with their builder or new home.

The New Homes Quality Code introduces a range of additional requirements for builders covering up to two years after occupation.

It requires builders to have an after care service for ‘snagging’ problems and a complaints process. If a customer is not satisfied they can refer themselves to the independent New Homes Ombudsman Service.

The New Code:

  • 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, 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.

“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.”

The Consultation will run for four weeks from today and the NHQB is encouraging as many stakeholders, customers and interested parties as possible to respond. After the consultation closes, the NHQB aims to have the final Code agreed by Summer.

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