24 February, 2021
New build properties often get bad press with stories of poor quality making the headlines, highlighted in the recently published story of the Developer who was forced to rebuild all four external walls of a property. The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) has launched this week, led by Natalie Elphicke MP, a new organisation charged with ensuring that developers deliver good-quality homes and that homeowners have greater consumer protections.
The NHQB will be an important advisory body helping to consult on and to introduce a new industry code of practice as well as appointing the New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS) existing, primarily to support homeowners in disputes, filling the gaps of existing protections for owners of new build homes.
One of the boards key tasks will be the creation of a New Homes Code of Conduct, a code of practice for the industry that will place greater requirements on all parties involved in the construction, inspection, sale and aftercare of new homes. The code will place considerably more demand on developers, requiring them to have effective complaints procedures in place, with specified timelines in which issues must be addressed to the consumers satisfaction. Board members include representatives from across the sector including consumer bodies, warranty providers, lenders and developers such that it will not be dominated by any one group.
Natalie Elphicke comments:
"The arrangements will lead to a step change in how new homes are built and sold and how customers are treated. The board is committed to driving new build quality and strengthening protection for buyers."
Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation, adds:-
"The industry is absolutely committed to putting measures in place to help deliver consistently high-quality new homes and effective redress for buyers. Recent years have seen significant improvements made in build quality and customer service and we are determined to go further."
The New Homes Ombudsman Service will have legal authority to exclude rogue developers from building and it will have the power to coerce remedies for inadequate building works. Builders and developers will need to be signed up to this service to take part in the new Help to Buy programme which is starting in April 2021.
The new body will help ensure that the steady improvement in the quality of new build homes we have seen in recent years continues with a fast, effective, independent dispute resolution service in operation should there be any issues.
Whilst our client base are already bound by a number of quality standards given their position in the affordable/social housing sector, these measures look to increase standards across the board by all.
For more information contact Cathy Lord in our Housing & Regeneration department via email or phone on 0333 207 1130. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.