NHQB launched

NHQB launched to give greater protections to new build buyers

The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) has been launched to ensure new build home buyers are granted more protections on their purchases.

The NHQB has introduced a new Consumer Code which includes a broad range of requirements for developers to ease consumers fears in the house purchasing process.

The Consumer Code was finalised following a full public consultation in 2021 whereby hundreds of responses were received from a range of stakeholders.

The aim is to provide better protections for those purchasing new build homes and ensure “every aspect of a new home purchase” is covered.

The NHQB will ensure customers have any complaints with developers and builders dealt with, whilst the New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS) provides new build buyers an alternative avenue if they feel their complaint has not been dealt with.

The scheme has initially been launched in England, Scotland, and Wales as of the 4th October, 2022.

The Statement of Principles for the New Homes Quality Code is as follows:

  1. Fairness: treat customers fairly throughout the buying and after-sales process.
  2. Safety: carry out and complete work in line with all regulations and requirements that apply to the new home, as set out by the Government, and have the necessary certificates from an appropriately approved body to show they have done this.
  3. Quality: complete all work to a high standard in line with all building and other standards and regulations that apply, as well as to the specification for the new home, and make sure that completion does not take place until the new home is complete (see section 2 of this code).
  4. Service: have in place systems, processes and staff training to meet the customer service requirements of the code, and not use high-pressure selling techniques to influence a customer’s decision to buy a new home.
  5. Responsiveness: have in place a reliable after-sales service and effective complaints procedure to make sure responses to customer queries are clear, thorough and provided in good time.
  6. Transparency: provide clear and accurate information about buying the new home, including tenure and any costs the customer may have to pay in the future, such as ground rents and service charges.
  7. Independence: make sure that customers know they should appoint independent legal advisers when buying a new home and that they have the right to ask for an independent pre-completion inspection before completion takes place.
  8. Inclusivity: take steps to identify and provide appropriate support to vulnerable customers and make sure the code is available to all customers, including in appropriate formats and languages.
  9. Security: make sure there are reasonable financial arrangements in place, through insurance or otherwise, to meet all their obligations under the code, including repaying deposits when they are due, and any financial awards made by the New Homes Ombudsman Service.
  10. Compliance: meet the requirements of the code and the New Homes Ombudsman Service.

Leon Livermore, chief executive of the New Homes Quality Board, said:

“Buying a new build home is a massive moment in many people’s lives and it ought to be a happy and memorable experience. The vast majority of those buying new build homes are satisfied with their purchase and their builder but in too many instances in the past that has not been the case.

This new framework aims to drive up standards of construction and customer service and puts the buyers’ interest at its centre.

Whilst we recognise that the process of building and selling a new build home is a complex one and things can go wrong, in those instances we want to ensure builders respond quickly and customers have access to independent redress.

Consumers can be assured that where they see our branding that their builder should be working to the new high standards our code demands of them or they can take their case to a strong and independent Ombudsman.”

To read the full report click here.

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