New Homes Quality Code launched for consultation

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new homes quality code
© David Calvert

The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) has published its draft New Homes Quality Code to help address gaps in existing protections for new build customers

The New Homes Quality Code aims to tackle the gaps in existing protections for new build customers.

The NHQB is the independent body created to oversee a new framework that will drive up quality and service standards in the housebuilding industry.

It will oversee the introduction of the new code and appoint a New Homes Ombudsman Service to provide independent redress for customers not satisfied with their builder or new home.

Filling the gaps in current protections

The New Homes Quality Code introduces a range of additional conditions for builders to fill the gaps in current protections and ensure that every aspect of a new home purchase, from when a customer walks into a sales office, through to two years after occupation of the home is covered.

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.

It also requires builders to enforce a robust complaints process that responds to customers concerns in a timely manner and to their satisfaction.

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 Homes Quality 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.

‘Driving up build quality standards and consumer protections’

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.

“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.”

Minister for rough sleeping and housing, Eddie Hughes, added: “I am delighted to see the publication of the draft New Homes Quality Code for consultation which is an important achievement for the housebuilding industry.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, it is essential we build back better, improving standards of new housing for current home buyers and future generations.

“All homeowners should have the confidence that they will be well protected and any issues they encounter will be independently dealt with, which is why the launch of the consultation represents a great step forward for the industry and the home-owning public.”

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