The government has published its ‘Redress for Purchasers of New Build Homes and the New Homes Ombudsman’ consultation: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/redress-for-purchasers-of-new-build-homes-and-the-new-homes-ombudsman that has been anticipated since proposals for an Ombudsman were first announced some months ago.
The consultation explores the detail of the proposed legislation and the design and delivery of the New Homes Ombudsman, including its powers, funding and remit.
It covers the following areas:
- The role of a New Homes Ombudsman;
- The requirement of developers of new homes to belong to a New Homes Ombudsman;
- The number of Ombudsmen;
- Access to a New Homes Ombudsman;
- Standards of a New Homes Ombudsman;
- Scheme Provider and Approvals Process;
- Funding a New Homes Ombudsman;
- Powers of a New Homes Ombudsman;
- Geographical Scope;
- A Code of Practice for developers of new build homes;
The Code has been working on improving consumer redress in the new homes industry for some time, in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders.
This has included removal of the fee to raise a complaint via our Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme; improvements to the adjudication process, allowing for additional evidence to be submitted following a draft judgement; and a new consumer helpline and email address to handle Code enquiries.
We are in advanced discussions with the Home Builders Federation, Homes for Scotland, other code schemes and wider stakeholders to develop a single, unified Code to apply to all new homes. Work is also underway to establish a single set of standards and protection to improve clarity and quality for consumers.
We are also in the process of implementing a fully independent Board to manage and oversee Code compliance and the effectiveness of the dispute resolution scheme. For more details, read our recent status report: https://consumercode.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Consumer-Code-Status-Report-Spring-2019.pdf
All of this will be reflected in our response to this consultation which we are currently working on. The submission deadline is 22 August 2019.