Under the Code, builders and their sales agents are required to have, and keep to, a system for dealing with complaints and they should explain this to their buyers prior to purchase. You must also provide buyers with a copy of the Code and information about the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme.
The Code sets out your responsibilities when handling complaints. Requirements and guidance have been enhanced in the fifth edition of the Code which is effective from 1 January 2024. However, we encourage you to adopt the updated approach as soon as possible. Complaints handling has consistently been one of the most common areas where the Code has been breached. Getting it right first time for customers will improve their experience and save you time, and potentially money in reducing the likelihood of a claim through the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme.
Home buyers with a complaint must follow your process first, and contact the relevant home warranty body if they are not happy with the response. The home warranty body will either deal with their complaint under the terms of the warranty or, if their complaint relates to a potential breach of our Code requirements, they will provide the buyer with an application form and adjudication scheme rules to enable them to make a claim via the Code’s Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme (IDRS).
Some Code requirements and the maximum amount home buyers can claim differ depending on when they reserved their home:
Disputes can be escalated to the IDRS from 56 calendar days after their complaint was first raised with you and no later than 12 months after your final response.
Disputes are resolved using an independent adjudication process. Find out how the IDRS works.
Did you know, until the Code was introduced, a home buyer who felt that they had a claim against their home builder as a result of their builder’s action or inaction, would have to had to take a case to court if the matter was not covered by their Home Warranty scheme?
During 2023, small claims of up to £10,000 pursued through the court system were taking on average 52* weeks to conclude, rising to 80 weeks for complex small claims or those over £25,000. By comparison, 100% of cases raised through our IDRS were resolved within 90 calendar days, over 70% of which were completed within eight weeks**.
*Correct as at Jan-March 2023, Ministry of Justice. **CEDR Annual Report 2022