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The Consumer Code for Home Builders (the Code), which came into effect in April 2010, applies to all home builders registered with the UK’s main new home warranty bodies including NHBC. It was recently updated and the 4th Edition came into effect on 1 April 2017 (with a transition period as detailed below*).
The Code consists of 19 Requirements and principles that home builders must meet in their marketing and selling of new homes and their after-sales customer service.
*Please note there is a transition period to enable home builders to meet the new requirements of the Code. Therefore, for all reservations taken before 1 July 2017, complaints will be assessed against the previous version (Version 3) of the Code.
The Code was developed by the home-building industry to make the home-buying process fairer and more transparent for purchasers. The Code requires that all home buyers are treated fairly, know what levels of service to expect, are fully informed about their purchase and their consumer rights before and after they move in, and are provided with a speedy, low cost dispute resolution scheme to deal with complaints about breaches of the Code.
The Code covers every stage of the home-buying purchase – pre-contract, exchange of contract and during occupation. The Code’s pre-sale and handover requirements apply to home buyers who are the first purchasers of a home. Second or subsequent home buyers benefit from the Code requirements but only on after-sales matters they report within two years from the date of their home warranty body’s insurance certificate.
A management board is responsible for operating the Consumer Code Scheme and is chaired by Noel Hunter OBE. The Management Board is supported by an Advisory Forum, chaired by Board member, Mike Freshney. It is an industry-wide body that represents, consults and advises on Code content, its practical application and operation, through which changes and improvements are channelled.
Until the Code was introduced, a home buyer who felt that they had a claim against their home builder, as a result of the builder’s action or inaction, would have to have taken a case to court if the matter was not covered by their home warranty scheme.
Under the Code, not only are the home builder’s responsibilities more clearly laid out, there is also a low-cost, speedy, Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme that will determine a home builder’s responsibilities, without the home buyer having to take to legal action.
You can find out all you need to know about the Code right here
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