A new homes ombudsman will be set up to award compensation to people living in new homes built to a sub-par standard, the government has announced.
The ombudsman will also have the power to ban rogue developers from building new homes, and demand fixes be made to poor building work.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick claims the ombudsman will “raise the game of housebuilders across the sector”, and could bring an end to long and costly court cases to solve disputes with developers.
Mr Jenrick said: “It’s completely unacceptable that so many people struggle to get answers when they find issues with their dream new home. That’s why the ombudsman will stop rogue developers getting away with shoddy building work and raise the game of house builders across the sector.”
The government said the legislation, which will require all developers to belong to the ombudsman, will be passed as soon as possible. The ombudsman will be independent from the homebuilding industry and funded through developer fees and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
A Home Builders Federation spokesperson welcomed the announcement, saying: “There’s still a long way to go but the new homes ombudsman is part of how we deliver those improvements.”
How Will This Affect Homebuilding?
Presently, all homeowners who buy new build homes have no independent route to challenge developers over poor-quality work.
All builders will be required to sign up to the ombudsman register, and be expected to take swift action to resolve problems.
Tasks that builders will have to resolve include:
- faulty wiring
- sloppy brickwork
- anything that poses a safety risk to the homeowners.
Those who purchase new homes will be able to file a complaint about the condition of their property within two years of purchase, and could receive up to £50,000 in redress.
This is a step in the right direction for the homebuilding industry, and should lead to better quality construction of new homes.
However, affordable housing remains a problem in the UK, and earlier this month the charity Shelter warned that the government’s First Homes Scheme will not accelerate the delivery of affordable homes.
With so many first-time buyers struggling to afford deposits, and UK house prices close to an all-time high, many aspiring homeowners should consider self build as a way to get on to the property ladder.