The Housing Secretary has announced plans for an independent New Homes Ombudsman as part of plans to protect buyers from ‘rogue’ developers.
Currently, buyers of new homes have no legal protections against poor service from developers and poor workmanship. The New Homes Ombudsman will offer new protection for buyers and have powers to award compensation, ban developers from building and order repairs to be undertaken. The Ombudsman will also be able to resolve disputes without the need to buyers to pursue costly court proceedings.
The new laws creating the Ombudsman will require all developers of new homes to be belong to the scheme. Only properties built by developers belonging to the Ombudsman will be eligible for Help to Buy funding: the scheme has been extended until 2023, with new regional caps on house prices.
Housing Secretary, Robert 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 housebuilders across the sector.
“Homebuyers will be able to access help when they need it, so disputes can be resolved faster and people can get the compensation they deserve.”
The announcement of the New Homes Ombudsman comes alongside other measures that are planned to be introduced by government to protect the rights of homebuyers, including protections capping ground rent on leasehold properties sold through the Help to Buy scheme, and a code of practice governing the construction and the marketing of new build homes.
The creation of a New Homes Ombudsman comes following a three month consultation that took place last year.