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Understanding the New Homes Quality Code and its impact for buyers

Buying a new build home in the UK is changing. The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) has introduced the New Homes Quality Code.

This set of guidelines is designed to improve the quality of new builds and increase protection for buyers when buying a newbuild property for their home from a registered builder.

It is important for buyers to know how this code impacts their rights and what to expect from developers in the future.

Understanding the New Homes Quality Code

The New Homes Quality Code was created after extensive consultation and feedback. The code covers the entire home-buying process, from initial enquiries up to two years after you move in.

Important features to be aware of

  • Deposit protection – Your deposit with the builder must be safeguarded, securing your money.
  • Protection for vulnerable buyers – The code protects against aggressive sales methods, especially targeting vulnerable customers.
  • Fair reservation agreement – The code outlines a fair reservation process, including a cooling-off period for you to withdraw if you change your mind.
  • Complete information – Builders must give you all the necessary details about the home, including its ownership status and any ongoing costs. This helps you to make an informed decision.
  • Pre-completion inspection – You can have a professional check the home before you finalise the purchase.
  • Standards at completion – Your home must be finished before you move in, so you are not pressured into accepting an unfinished property.

Aftercare and complaint handling

The code strongly focuses on aftercare. Builders must provide an effective service to fix any problems after you move in.

If you are unhappy with how your complaint is handled, you can take it to the independent New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS).

What does this mean for buyers?

The New Homes Quality Code gives you stronger rights as a buyer.

You get protection during the sale and after you move in, ensuring your investment is safe and giving you legal pathways to address any potential issues.

What happens next?

The NHQB will soon launch a portal for builders to register, starting in January 2024.

Once a builder registers, all new home reservations must follow the code’s standards and are overseen by the Ombudsman.

For those buying a new home in the UK, the introduction of this code is a positive step forward.

It offers better protections and demands high standards from builders, in both construction and customer service.

Want to know more about the New Homes Quality Code? Get in touch today for tailored advice.

Elizabeth Jennings

Director - Commercial Property & Charities

I joined Mander Hadley in 2004, qualified as a solicitor in 2006 and have focussed on commercial law throughout. I am also a member of Coventry and Warwickshire First and Warwickshire Law Society.