‘New Homes Ombudsman’ proposed in anticipation of new homes boost
The number of new build homes in the UK is now at its highest for over a decade. Part of the reason for this has been the success of the government’s schemes, including ‘Help to Buy’.
The appeal of a fresh new home is understandable. New builds can come with peace of mind, in the form of the NHBC (or equivalent), which is a 10 year warranty which covers structural issues, among other things. Newly built homes also benefit from all the latest energy efficiency technology, making household utility bills far cheaper.
Following the spring statement, the government will now guarantee up to £3 billion of borrowing by housing associations in England to support delivery of 30,000 new homes through an affordable homes guarantee scheme. This includes more flexibility to extend properties upwards on existing blocks of flats, shops and offices, making better use of space and increasing housing density.
‘New Homes Ombudsman’ proposed
As there is currently no regulatory complaints framework for buyers of new build homes, the government is seeking views on the appointment of a specialist ‘New Homes Ombudsman’. The consultation poses detailed questions about how the new ombudsman would work, including:
- the standards it should uphold;
- how it would be funded and accessed; and
- what its powers of redress and enforcement would be.
What this will mean for home buyers?
In short, this could result in an easier way to resolve disputes and get redress. The majority of new home purchasers are satisfied with their new homes and, as new housing supply increases, it is crucial that quality does not suffer. The current system is confusing to navigate and purchasers are often unsure who to turn to in order to put things right when they have a legitimate complaint.
Until the ombudsman is in place, the government says it will work with industry and consumer groups to establish a voluntary code of practice and improve consumer redress for purchasers of new build homes.
To find out more about the consultation, click here.