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24/02/2020

Ombudsman to protect new-build buyers from poor work

Words: Laura Edgar
Faulty wiring / iStock-505851680

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed that a New Homes Ombudsman will soon protect homebuyers from ‘shoddy building work’.

Currently, new-build homebuyers don’t have recourse to challenging poor service or workmanship by developers. The government wants the ombudsman to be established in law “as soon as possible” to address this.

It would assist homebuyers with a number of issues, such as poor brickwork or faulty wiring, and would have statutory powers to award compensation, to ban ‘rogue’ developers from building, and order developers to fix inadequate work.

Where there is a dispute with developers, the government explained that the ombudsman would act “swiftly and independently” to resolve it. The government said it doesn’t want people to face long waits and costly court cases trying to sort out problems with their new homes.

Developers would be subject to the disciplinary authority of the ombudsman by law.

Jenrick said: “It’s completely unacceptable that so many people struggle to get answers when they find issues with their dream new home.

“That’s why the ombudsman will stop rogue developers getting away with shoddy building work and raise the game of housebuilders across the sector.  

“Homebuyers will be able to access help when they need it, so disputes can be resolved faster and people can get the compensation they deserve.”

In June 2019, the government launched a consultation on redress for purchasers of new-build homes, and on the New Homes Ombudsman. The consultation sought views on the detail of the proposed legislation and how it could be delivered. Jenrick's confirmation of a New Homes Ombudsman comes in response to that consultation.

Image credit | iStock

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