Customer protection

Buying a new build home gives purchasers a level of protection that they simply would not get when buying a second-hand home. A 10-year warranty and a Consumer Code that all the major house builders are signed up to provides the purchasers of new homes with peace of mind following what, for most people, is the biggest single purchase they will make in their lives.

Home buyer’s 10-year warranty protection

All new homes in the UK are covered by a 10-year home warranty and insurance guarantee. This provides comprehensive protection against a range of eventualities, including problems with the home’s construction.

The warranty is free to the customer and is taken out and paid for by the house builder with one of the approved providers.

When you buy a new home your warranty means you are protected in a number of ways;

  • If you have reserved a home off-plan your deposit is protected if the builder goes out of business before the work is complete. Either the deposit will be paid back or – depending on the stage of construction – the home completed
  • Then, for the first two years, any problems picked up in a new home that do not meet the warranty provider’s technical requirements must be rectified by the builder at no cost to the homeowner
  • During years three to ten of the cover, the warranty protects against a range of structural defects and for issues with items such as the double-glazing, internal plastering and staircases.

The NHBC is the UK’s main warranty and insurance provider, with its Buildmark guarantee covering 80% of new homes. Other schemes are operated by companies such as Build-Zone, Checkmate, LABC and Premier Guarantee.

Protected by a Consumer Code

If you are not happy with the service you receive from your house builder – then let them know!

Because as well as the 10-year warranty that protects the owners of new homes from structural defects and construction issues, the purchasers of new homes are covered by a Consumer Code that was introduced in April (2010).

The Code was signed up to by all the leading builders and it is designed to give purchasers added protection.

The new Code states that builders must provide:

  • Clear and truthful sales material
  • Enough information to ensure all buyers are well-informed on such matters as layout, position and contents of off-plan homes
  • Clear and fair terms and conditions in the sales contract including termination rights
  • Realistic information on when the home will be finished
  • Accessible after-sales service plus details of the warranty and guarantees for appliances, etc

The Code establishes a new independent resolution service to deal with disputes between a builder and home owner that fall outside of the warranty cover and which have resulted in the consumer being out of pocket. This is designed to be speedy and effective with a maximum award to the consumer of £15,000.

Companies not complying with the new Code face not being provided a warranty by NHBC, Premier Guarantee, LABC New Homes Warranty and any other home warranty organisation that joined the Consumer Code for Home Builders scheme.

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