New build watchdog launches to raise standards and protect homebuyers
An independent body to raise standards in the new build sector and strengthen protections for homebuyers has launched today.
Members of the New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) include members of consumer bodies, housebuilders, warranty providers and the finance sector.
The NHQB will be funded by the house building industry, likely through annual fees and a volume-based levy with additional fees for referrals.
The board is chaired by Conservative MP for Dover Natalie Elphicke, and is set to introduce a new industry code of practice and place more responsibility on developers to deliver high quality homes and better outcomes for consumers.
The New Homes Ombudsman Service has been implemented to support buyers when there are disputes, but will only cover homes reserved from the date a developer registers with the board.
The new code of practice will require developers to have an efficient complaints procedure in place to improve the processing of customer redress, otherwise they may be subject to referral to the New Homes Ombudsman Service.
The new arrangements should be operational later this year, with the ambition that they will apply across the UK.
Natalie Elphicke MP said: “The new 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 protections for buyers.
“A new home is the most important purchase most of us make and it is essential that buyers have confidence in both the product and the processes in place to support them.
“I would like to thank the industry for its support as we have developed our plans and I firmly believe that ultimately the new arrangements will lead to significant benefits for both consumers and developers.”
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick added: “I am delighted to support this new body which will champion good quality homes and give much needed peace of mind for homebuyers with a strong regulator to help them if things go wrong.”
Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation (HBF), said: “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.”
Eddie Hughes MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rough Sleeping and Housing, added: “It’s crucial developers show more responsibility for the quality of their work while also acknowledging when things go wrong – this helps give vital confidence to buyers, especially at a time of general uncertainty.
“I welcome today’s launch of the New Homes Quality Board and its work to put a new ombudsman in place and look forward to working closely with them to ensure the house building industry is delivering new homes of the highest possible quality.”