resource hub | What next for the Consumer Code for Home Builders? Have your say

What next for the Consumer Code for Home Builders? Have your say

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There are several codes of practice operating to protect homebuyers in the UK. One of the longest established, the Consumer Code for Home Builders, is now seeking your views on its future operation.

 

The review is partly driven by the introduction of a New Homes Quality Code, the framework for which is due to go live before the end of 2022.

 

The voluntary Consumer Code, which already applies to more than 95% of all new build homes across the UK, has a significant role to play in consumer protection.

 

Builders, developers and consumers can take the survey here.

 

What next for the Consumer Code for Homebuilders?

 

John Bridgeman CBE is leading an independent review of the Consumer Code which will inform recommendations to the Code’s Management Board in the autumn.

 

Questions are asked about aligning codes, and how that might work in practice, and whether the Consumer Code should be strengthened, including:

 

  • Broadening the definition of a new home to include gardens, boundaries, fencing, communal areas and curtilage
  • Customer facing staff and working with vulnerable customers, including “suitable training” and regular refresh training
  • “Early Bird” reservations and requirements in relation to fees and repayments
  • Clarity on the use of incentives where homes have not been completed to specified standards
  • Declarations of commission received
  • Greater transparency on costs associated with tenure and management over 10 years of occupation
  • Clarification around part-exchange schemes, snags and defects resolution with the developer (before moving to a warranty provider’s dispute resolution service) and pre-inspection visits
  • Extended and more detailed requirements for handling complaints

 

The review also asks if the total financial limit of the Code’s independent dispute resolution scheme should be raised from the current £15,000 and whether home buyers also should be compensated for distress and inconvenience.

 

This link takes you to the Consumer Code’s survey.

 

What is the Consumer Code?

 

As a founding member of the Consumer Code, all Premier Guarantee Registered Developers and builders must adhere to the rules of the code.

 

It was set up to protect the interests of homebuyers during the purchase of newly built homes and covers every stage of the home-buying process – pre-contract, exchange of contract and during occupation.

 

  • It is a set of requirements for dealing with customers
  • It introduces a new independent dispute resolution service
  • It monitors, measures and reports on customer satisfaction and industry compliance
  • It is financed by the industry through the Warranty Bodies 

 

What’s the purpose of the Code?

 

To ensure that Home Buyers:

 

  • are treated fairly;
  • know what service levels to expect;
  • receive reliable information upon which to make their decisions; and
  • know how to access speedy, low-cost dispute resolution arrangements if they are dissatisfied. 

 

Who is covered?

 

Anyone who buys or reserves a newly built home under the insurance protection of Premier Guarantee or by the other warranty providers as stated in the Consumer Code. 

 

How are consumers protected?

 

Every stage of the home-buying process is covered by the Code: pre-purchase, pre-contract, exchange of contract and during occupation. There are clearly defined requirements that builders must adhere to in order to comply with the Code and therefore ensure the home buyer is fairly treated throughout the buying process. Further information about what is covered by the Code can be found at the Consumer Code website.

 


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Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication (September 2022).

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