30 April 2010 by Louise Dawson

Buyers and Builders beware

The Consumer Code for Home Builders (‘the Code’) came into force on 1 April 2010 and was formed by agreement between three new home warranty providers; NHBC, MD Insurance Services Ltd (trading as Premier Guarantee) and LABC New Home Warranty. All builders and developers registered with them must comply with the Code.

The intention is to provide buyers with more protection when buying a new or newly converted property from the moment it is marketed to them to the after sales service provided. It aims to ensure that buyers:-

  • Are treated fairly
  • Know what service levels to expect
  • Are given reliable information upon which to make their decisions
  • Know how to access speedy, low cost dispute resolution arrangements if they are dissatisfied.

The maximum value of an award under the Code is £15,000 as the intention is to keep this as a low cost dispute resolution scheme.

The Code does not apply to all properties so, for example, not second-hand properties (e.g. homes taken by builders in part exchange and re-sold), properties acquired by registered social landlords and properties built by self-builders for their own occupation, among others. It will not apply retrospectively.

While the Code is voluntary, its requirements are mandatory for those that are participating in it. Builders and developers registered with one of the participating new home warranty providers should therefore review their sales literature, reservation agreements and contracts of sale to ensure that they are Code compliant.

Where a registered builder or developer is found to be in breach of the Code, the participating home warranty provider can apply a range of sanctions including removal from their register as well as exclusion from all registers run by other participating home warranty providers.

This has serious consequences for a builder as where a buyer is purchasing with a mortgage, the buyer’s solicitor must comply with the Council of Mortgage Lenders handbook. The handbook states a newly built or converted property must be covered under a new home warranty scheme acceptable to the lender. This leaves the excluded builder having to obtain home warranty insurance cover from another provider to satisfy a buyer’s mortgage company.

Surveys will be carried out to check how well the Code is being applied, or whether it needs to be amended or updated. If the Code is unsuccessful, the main contender is legislation.

19 March 2010 by Yezdan Izzet

Scheming Deposits…

Most residential properties which are let on short term tenancies now qualify as Assured Shorthold Tenancies, yet it is surprising that so many landlords are unaware of the statutory requirements relating to rent deposits.

26 March 2010 by Matthew Miller

And the winner is…

In 2000 Electronic Data Systems Limited (EDS) won a tender to develop and deliver a new customer relationship management (CRM) system for use in BSkyB’s various call centres.

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