Consultation: New Homes Quality Code (closing date – 1 July 2021)

Your views invited.

The 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.

It introduces a broad range of additional requirements 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.

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 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 customers 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.

Crucially, and to address the biggest gap in the existing arrangements, the new Code 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.

A glossary of terms and a Developer Guidance document are available to be read in conjunction with the main Code.

These new requirements as set out in the Code are explained in this short animation which can be accessed here. Further information on consultation and the consultation questionnaire can also be accessed via this link.

You can submit your response directly to the New Homes Quality Board (NHQB), but we would be grateful if you could also forward your views and comments to Graham Chalkley, Assistant Practice Director, at g.chalkley@ciat.global by Thursday 1 July 2021.

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