Born out of a need to provide more protection for customers of new build homes, the New Homes Quality Code will place greater emphasis on developers to deliver high standards of quality and customer service.
Under the Code, customers will have access to quick redress should snagging issues or other problems arise in their new home. Developers will be responsible for resolving issues and having an effective complaints process in place until the end of the first two years of ownership.
The New Homes Quality Board will oversee the Code and appoint a New Homes Ombudsman Service for customers to access when high standards are not achieved.
The aim of the New Homes Quality Board is to provide customers with more confidence in new build homes and give the government assurance that the housebuilding industry will be delivering quality, service and customer satisfaction.
The draft Code of Practice sets out 10 fundamental principles in providing customer service:
1. Fairness: treat customers fairly throughout the home buying and after-sales process
2. Safety: carry out and complete works in accordance with all requisite Building Regulations and as set out by the Building Safety Regulator
3. Quality: complete all works to a good quality standard and in accordance with the specification for the new home and ensure that legal completion only takes place when a home is complete
4. Service: have in place systems, processes and training of staff to meet the customer service level requirements of the New Homes Quality Code and not use high-pressure selling techniques to influence a customer’s decision to buy a new home
5. Responsiveness: be clear, responsive and timely in responding to customers’ issues by having in place a robust after sales service and effective complaints process as required by the Code
6. Transparency: provide clear and accurate information about the purchase of the new home, including tenure and potential future committed costs such as those relating to leasehold or management services
7. Independence: make sure that customers are aware that they should appoint independent legal advisors when buying a new home and that they have the option of an independent accredited pre-completion inspection before legal completion takes place
8. Inclusivity: take steps to identify and provide appropriate support to vulnerable customers as well as to make the code available to all customers, including in appropriately accessible formats and languages
9. Security: ensure that there are reasonable financial arrangements in place, through insurance or otherwise, to meet all obligations under the Code, including timely repayment of financial deposits when due and any financial awards made by the New Homes Ombudsman service
10. Compliance: be subject to, co-operate and comply with the requirements of the New Homes Quality Board, the New Homes Quality Code and the New Homes Ombudsman service
For more details, view the draft version of the New Homes Quality Code.
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