Redress for buyers of new build homes

The UK Government has launched a consultation seeking views on redress for buyers of new build homes who encounter problems with the properties.

The eight-week consultation will conclude on 22 August 2019 and covers a range of issues including the powers and enforcement of a New Homes Ombudsman and the effectiveness of a proposed new Code of Practice for developers of new build homes.

New Homes Ombudsman

One of the proposals being considered is the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman.

The role of a New Homes Ombudsman will be to provide redress where appropriate to buyers where complaints are considered on a case by case basis. Whilst an ombudsman can help resolve disputes, uphold complaints and recommend redress (usually by way of compensation), it does not have the authority to take regulatory or legal action against a property developer. The Government is therefore seeking views as to how the requirement to belong to a New Homes Ombudsman will be enforced.

Code of Practice

For a New Homes Ombudsman to operate effectively it will need a set of clear standards and practice that it will adjudicate against. Covering areas such as the quality and standard of construction, aftersales and defect remedies, the requirement to provide a warranty and transparency around reservation deposits, as well as ethics and conduct, the Government will explore how a single Code of Practice could result in a more efficient redress system. As with the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman it is proposed that the new Code of Practice also be underpinned by statute, a move that would give the new system considerably more teeth.

Scope

As the proposed legislation includes devolved matters, the UK Government has committed itself to continuing to engage with the devolved administrations with the aim of seeking agreement on the introduction of UK wide legislation.

Further information including guidance as to how to respond to the consultation can be found here: http://bit.ly/Redress-new-build-homes