The report outlines a 10-point plan to improve the quality of newbuild housing customers’ experiences. According to a report on the quality of new homes, a new housing ombudsman should be appointed, and buyers should be allowed to inspect newbuilds before completion.
These are just two of the recommendations in the report ‘More Homes, Fewer Complaints’ published by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment, based on its inquiry into the quality and workmanship of new housing in England.
“During this Parliament, the government has committed to constructing 200,000 new homes per year.” This means that by 2020, over one million new homes are expected to be built. While this is a positive step toward addressing the UK’s chronic housing shortage, the government must ensure that these newly built homes are of good quality and of a high standard,” said Oliver Colvile MP, chairman of the APPG.
“The UK housing industry needs to increase supply.” In tandem, it must ensure that the quality of new construction housing is suitable for human habitation. Despite the fact that many homebuyers are pleased with the quality of their new homes, there have been far too many reports of new homes that are simply uninhabitable.”
The report makes ten recommendations to improve the quality of new housing and consumers’ experiences when dealing with newbuild properties. Those representing homeowners have generally praised the report.
“We welcome and strongly support the recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment (APPGEBE) report on the quality of new-build homes.” It shows that people buying new homes need more rights and access to adequate redress when things go wrong,” said Paula Higgins, CEO of the HomeOwners Alliance.
“We are constantly approached by new build homeowners who are in need of assistance because they are unhappy with the quality of their new build home but feel ignored.” There is a significant gap between what buyers want and expect and what the industry provides.
“Giving buyers the mandatory right to inspect and conduct a full survey of the property prior to completion will give the consumer much-needed power back.”
“With clauses limiting liability for defects, sales contracts are unfairly weighted in favour of the housebuilder.” Buyers are compelled to sign these contracts and have no ability to negotiate. Developers, for example, can force the property’s handover if the buyer does not believe it is ready. If the buyers discover problems after they move in, they have no financial clout to force the builder to correct the flaws.
“There is an urgent need to address a serious lack of consumer protection for people buying new build homes.” The government must take the lead in ensuring that house builders provide a high-quality product and service, rather than focusing solely on the number of houses built.
“Rather than waiting for new legislation, the housing industry must act now and implement the recommendations.” There is no reason why individual homebuilders cannot provide pre-completion inspections as soon as possible.”
Gwyn Roberts, Home Quality Mark (HQM) project leader and BRE homes and communities team leader, stated, “We need to ensure the Government takes a leading role in ensuring this proposed quality and workmanship in new homes, and with HQM named in the report as a ‘promising development for driving up standards in housebuilding,’ this is an encouraging start.” We are now urging homebuilders across the country to adopt this standard in order to differentiate and protect future projects.
“In direct response, we are committing to incorporating recommendations from the report into the framework for the Home Quality Mark, including the right for buyers and rental clients to inspect properties prior to completion, as well as investigating how HQM can further reward homes built with defects minimised or rectified in a timely and convenient manner.”
As a consumer-focused company, it is still in its early stages. The HQM is a distinction for new houses based on their quality, cost efficiency, and environmental impact, and it is the ideal way for homeowners to assess the efficacy and technological maturity of their properties.”