If you are an agent selling homes on behalf of a home builder who is covered by the Consumer Code for Home Builders, then you and your client will need to comply with the relevant requirements. The Code covers homes built in the UK by home builders who register with the UK’s main new Home Warranty Bodies*:  NHBC;Premier Guarantee; LABC Warranty and Checkmate.  

The purpose of the Code is to make the process of buying a new home fairer and more transparent.  It covers pre-sales and reservations right through to occupancy and after sales for two years post legal completion.  

How you work with home builders will vary from site to site – you might only be responsible for advertising the properties, or you might be providing a full sales service. Whatever your role, it’s worth being aware of the Code’s requirements so that between you and the builder, you can make sure home buyers are getting what they need. 

Here are some of the ways you can help builders comply with the Code: 

  • Include the Consumer Code logo in new build sales brochures and give buyers a copy of the Code or access to an online version. Although this is a requirement in itself, it’s also an opportunity to highlight your commitment to customer service which will give buyers additional confidence. Copies of the logo can be downloaded from our website and you can order free window stickers from the Code’s supporting warranty providers. 
  • Complete the free online training on Code Requirements accessed via our website. This has recently been updated to reflect changes introduced in the Fifth Edition of the Code. The training concludes with an assessment and should be repeated annually. 
  • Provide enough pre-purchase information to enable buyers to make an informed decision. This is not only important for compliance with the Code but can help ensure you don’t fall foul of Consumer Protection Regulations by omitting important information. Pre-purchase information must include a written reservation agreement and information about the home warranty and what it covers. A sample reservation agreement can be downloaded here
  • Ensure the sales contract is clear and compliant with legislation and includes termination rights. 
  • Provide reliable information about completion dates and legal handover. If these have to change, alert the buyer as soon as possible and explain the reasons why. 
  • Ensure that any home buyer queries are acknowledged within five calendar days and responded to within a reasonable time period. 
  • Explain the after sales service, including any applicable guarantees and who to contact in the event of queries or complaints. 
  • Enable your home buyers to carry out an inspection of their home prior to occupation and cooperate with any professional advisor they may engage to complete this on their behalf.   

It’s a good idea to keep a record of conversations and decisions, so that you can refer back if there are any queries later on. This is particularly important when it comes to changes that may be made to plans or timescales. 

The Fifth Edition of the Code* covering homes reserved from 1st January 2024, puts greater emphasis on the need to support customers who may be vulnerable and requires you to take all reasonable steps to identify and support customers who may have additional support needs due to their circumstances.  The Code guidance provides information and support to help you meet this requirement.  

Our Compliance Starter Pack for agents and builders provides handy checklists, sample agreements and other guidance which is free to download. Our website also provides extra information about how to comply with the Code, including the full set of Requirements which can be downloaded here and ‘Right First Time’ factsheets to help builders and agents learn from previous code breaches. 

Although the responsibility for compliance with the Code rests with the builder – and in some cases you may only have limited involvement in selling new-build homes – by helping builders comply, you will also be helping to ensure home buyers receive the information and support they need. Not only that, by meeting the requirements and providing clear and accurate information to buyers, you will reduce your own risk of falling foul of Consumer Protection Regulations for which agents are directly liable. 

For a summary of Code compliance tips, take a look at our video: 

This blog is an updated version of a previous article originally written in October 2020 and includes up to date information since the launch of the Fifth Edition of the Code. 

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