Issues with new homes
Consumer Code for Home Builders
The Consumer Code for Home Builders ("the Code") came into force on 01 April 2010. The Code makes home buying more transparent by ensuring Home Buyers:
- are treated fairly,
- know what service levels to expect,
- get reliable information on which to make decisions, and
- know how to access speedy, low-cost dispute-resolution arrangements if they are dissatisfied.
The Code applies if your new home is covered by a Home Warranty from one of the UK's main new Home Warranty Bodies:
All builders registered with these bodies follow the Code.
Under the Code, your Home Builder must provide an accessible after-sale service, and explain:
- what the service includes
- who to contact
- what guarantees and warranties apply to your home.
Your new house or flat may need to have problems fixed soon after you have purchased and move in. This is often called 'snagging'. Snagging issues can range from minor, such as paint finishes, to more serious construction issues that come to light once the home is being lived in.
If you have snagging issues during the 2 year Home Builder warranty period:
- Contact your Home Builder and explain the issues in writing. Contact details are in the Home Information Pack your received when you bought your new home.
- Your Home Builder will then try to fix the issues for you.
- If your Home Builder does not fix the issues, contact your Home Warranty Body and explain the issues in writing.
If you believe your Home Builder has not met the Code's requirements, you can raise a dispute:
- You must first complain in writing to your Home Builder and give them the opportunity to investigate and put things right.
- If you are not satisfied with the response, write to your Home Warranty Body.
- Your Home Warranty Body will deal with your complaint, or offer to refer it to the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme.
- Under the Scheme, an Adjudicator will decide whether you have a legitimate dispute and have suffered financial loss because your Home Builder has breached the Code.
Full details of the procedure are given in the Code.
Getting more advice
You can get advice on problems with the guarantees and warranties that apply to your new home from:
- Midlothian Council Trading Standards
- Citizens Advice
- a legal professional, for example a lawyer or a solicitor.